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Kevin Day: It is always nice to start off these debates by clearing up terminology. So let’s begin with each of your definitions for “balance” in a wine. Julia: would you like to start us off?
Julia Harding MW: Balance is the relationship between the components of a wine – fruit flavour and fruit intensity, acidity, sweetness or lack of it, alcohol/weight, texture/tannins – and is not about absolute levels. It also involves the integration of those components to create a whole, though perhaps that is creeping into harmony. It’s a complex equation and not necessarily predictable from the technical analysis of a wine.
I think it is important to add that while much can be tweaked in the winery, the most balanced wines, and those most likely to stay that way over time in bottle, are made from grapes that are intrinsically balanced.
KD: Andrew, do you have anything to add to Julia’s definition of balance as “the relationship between the components of a wine?”
Andrew Jefford: Julia’s definition is excellent and I would endorse her comment about the vineyard origins of balance ‘at its best.’ Julia has outlined the main elements of balance as far as we are able to trace or isolate them in the wines we are tasting, but I would stress that wine is an extraordinarily complex sensual object and almost everything in that object (including, for example, its aromatic dimensions and qualities derived from the fermentative process such as vinosity) can contribute to balance.
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In the full transcript, you can read Andrew and Julia's opinions on
- The Definition of Balance in Wine
- Discerning Balance in Tasting Wine
- Levels of Body, Acidity, Tannin and Alcohol in Balance
- Subjectivity in Matters of Taste
- Balance in the Role of Aging Wine
- Does “Freshness” Exist
- Is Balance Trendy or Universally Timeless?
- The Significance of Alcohol Levels
- Can “Ripeness” Mean Different Things to Different People?
- Climate Change and the Future of Balanced Wines