Muskrat Portage wrote:I remember quite a number of years ago there was an outcry over some foreign wines being "beefed up" with antifreeze so I tend to keep away from that countries' wines on principle.
Times change, MP. The antifreeze scandal primarily centered around certain 'bulk' German wines (and possibly also a few Austrian ones as well, I unfortunately can't recall clearly this 1980s scenario in full certitude) that were 'doctored' so as to meet higher grape must (i.e. residual sugar) levels.
Remember, the Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (quality wine with distinction) designation denotes, in German wine regulations, wines that have absolutely no additional sugar employed prior to fermentation. Some less than scrupulous merchants abused this stipulation in order to 'elevate' specific wines from lower categories (such as Kabinett, or 'normal harvest' wines) to higher categories (such as Spatlese or Auslese, respectively 'late harvest' and 'select bunch harvest' wines), which generally fetch higher prices.
The rigorous, somewhat OCD wine regulatory bodies quickly tracked down the offenders and administered quite stiff penalties.
Far worse was the 'methanol' scandal that affected the Italians. After all, glyecol compounds can make a few people ill. But methanol can, and in this instance did, actually kill some individuals. Drink any Italian wines lately?
Trust in the marketplace is a very valuable commodity. And having it tarnished can lead to significant long-term consequences.
As a wine consumer, one should look to those producers with estbalished track records for offering quality wines. That's the bottom line.
But to shy away from any nation's product solely on the basis of the actions of some less than savory individuals and/or firms can only keep one from sampling, especially in the case of German wines, some of the greatest vinous products available.
Sorry for this rather lengthy response. I just happen to be someone who HAS experienced the best that German vintners have to offer, and who continues to be amazed at how competitive many of their wines continue to be pricewise when compared to counterparts from other countries.