Oh, She has some legs! Fortunately, I’m not talking about a ZZ Top song. Legs in reference to wine describe the streaks remaining on the glass after a couple solid swirls. The French use a term to liken the leftover particles to ‘tears’ although legs are nothing to cry about. Legs are simply a visual representation of a wine’s alcohol content. Scientifically speaking legs are the perfect example of the Gibbs-Marangoni Effect which, is the evaporation of alcohol creating surface tension on the glass. When you swirl a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine particles (phenolics), sugar and water all meet oxygen. Evaporation occurs quickly, water takes the alcohol particles along and the drinker is left with phenolic compounds and sugar. If you try to shake a sealed bottle of wine the process wont occur. No oxygen should be present in an unopened bottle!
There is a myth that states wine with longer, thicker legs is superior wine. This is just a matter of opinion. Drinkers who enjoy a bigger body wine like Malbecs, oaky Chardonnays, and Ports will revel at utter thickness. Whereas, Pinot Noirs or Pinot Grigios tend to be delicate with a lower ABV percent. Legs really make no reference to the quality of the drink.
This Week’s Wine Feature:
Straight from the Napa Valley region in California, this week’s feature is Prisoner Cabernet Sauvignon from their namesake The Prisoner Wine Company. This female run company selects grape varietals from surrounding Napa vineyards to blend beautiful signature wines.
The Prisoner Cab is blended with Merlot, Syrah, Melbec, and Charbono varietals to bring forward dark fruits and a full tannic mouthfeel. It was aged in both American and French oak so be prepared for a timeless spiciness layered with a rich vanilla!
I recommend splurging on The Prisoner with a Dodici’s Classico or Meat Supreme. This Cab is quite bold and should be paired with a dish that can stand up to The Prisoner’s full mouthfeel. Think savory meat, another fantastic pair would be Grandma’s Meatballs.
Here is a challenge! Next time you reserve a table at Dodici order a bottle of The Prisoner Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5% ABV) – check out the legs on this wine! Compare this with a bottle of Blood Root Pinot Noir with an ABV of 13%. Despite both being red varietals you will notice a substantial difference.