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Wine like Lambic

You're welcome.

It is really unfortunate that word the lambic can be used for both spontaneously fermented barley / wheat beers with high acidity and dryness and for beers where this process is halted (or omitted) to make sickly-sweet beers - sometimes by adding syrup or sugar. This often makes exchanges about lambic going off in all directions. Also, lambic can be consumed without carbonation (Cantillon makes a great bottle of straight lambic) and with carbonation - gueuze. That sets it apart from most beers.

I am so glad that there is a major lambic renaissance going on - and all these American brewers experimenting with ambient yeast. It can hurt your wallet though - but so can wine!

Dec 01, 2011
megapolisomancy in Wine

Wine like Lambic

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your detailed response. It was not my intention with my post to trigger any kind of "discussion". My purpose was to wrap my mind around the wines and beers that I have been drinking. I prefer wine to beer but I prefer lambic to many wines. I have been drinking both for quite some time and these posts are shaped by my experience with that. Many people liked that post and helped them to seek out certain wines and others have suggested other wines.

As for your assessment about some natural wines, I am glad you feel this way but I am afraid that we are not seeing eye to eye here and I suspect that you would reject certain wines that I would enjoy for more than subjective reasons.

As for my general approach, if it is legitimate to describe wines by invoking the aromas and smells of food and other beverages than it is not strange to seek for certain properties associated with a beer style (aroma, taste, process) in wine. Wine and beer writers are doing this all the time, and perhaps a lot better. Sure.

As a matter of fact, some people are forced to think about these similarities because they discover that they are gluten intolerant and want another alcoholic beverage that reminds them of what they drank before.

When I wrote that post it did not occur to me sufficiently that the grape lambics are essentially co-fermented beverages where both the grains and the grapes participate in fermentation. This should have been an obvious point that I should have made. How grapes and grain behave together during fermentation is something that interests me, too.

Yes, you are quite right about brett but my point is not that wine writers are ignorant of brett (I have studied quite some popular and academic stuff on wine and brett) but that the use of brett for primary fermentation in beer gives brewers a different perspective on the behavior of this yeast than if it is solely studied as a contaminant or minor player. That is why I suspect that there is more to brett than the quantity in effecting a wine.

Chinon00, yes, some zéro dosage champagnes evoke similarities to gueuze - I had not thought of that either but I was reminded of it when I read a recent book on natural wine making.

The first time that a wine evoked memories of a lambic to me was when I had a rather earthy and tart cabernet franc from the Loire. Presumably, a "flawed" wine ;-)

Dec 01, 2011
megapolisomancy in Wine

Wine like Lambic

A dry hopped cider? I did not know about this! Interesting.

I assume you are aware of Isastegi Sagardo Naturala cider? As far as I have been able to determine, it is fermented by indigenous yeast and has some distinct gueuze-like brettanomyces notes.

Dec 01, 2011
megapolisomancy in Wine

Wine like Lambic

As the writer of that piece I should make clear that the aim was not to determine which wines are most similar from a technical perspective but what kinds of wines may appeal to lambic drinkers. Admittedly, this has a subjective component. And I only covered the whites to date.

But there are some similarities that make some wines better candidates than others, for example: high acidity, dryness, fermentation by indigenous yeast, oxidation or brett notes etc. For example, I had some naturally fermented reds from the Jura and Loire that come quite close in approaching the character of some traditional lambics.

Of course, some lambic makers blend their lambics with grapes, and these grapes participate in fermentation. Recently, Belgian lambic brewery Cantillon blended a lambic with a natural wine from the Loire.

I do not necessarily agree that we can talk in unambiguous terms about when a natural wine "goes south." Similarly, I think there is a lot more to say about brettanomyces in wine than many wine writers have done. I briefly raise this point here:

As someone who brews almost exclusively with brettanomyces, I can say that this yeast has such complex fermentation characteristics that it is hard to make any sweeping generalizations about the effect of this yeast (or any wild yeast) in alcoholic beverages, including wine.

Dec 01, 2011
megapolisomancy in Wine

Red wine without malolactic

I never had given much thought to the production process of the wines that I like but I recently discovered that almost all the white wines that I enjoy have not gone through malolactic or new oak.

I am aware that what is an advantage in whites does not need to be an advantage in reds and my understanding is that malolactic is the rule for reds. Still, I am wondering if there are any wine producers that forgo or limit malolactic in reds and produce interesting results.

For example, do the Trimbach Pinot Noirs go through malolactic?

See also this article on Portugese Vinho Verde Tinto

Sep 06, 2009
megapolisomancy in Wine

Wine for beer (lambic) lovers

Over the last years there have been a number of articles about beers that might appeal to wine drinkers such as:

Reportedly, a good chunk of the people who visit the traditional lambic brewer Cantillon are wine drinkers.

Are there any styles or specific wineries that should appeal to beer (lambic) drinkers?

For example, I can imagine that 'Vin Jaune' or the dry rieslings from Alsace might appeal to some lambic drinkers.

Feb 28, 2009
megapolisomancy in Wine