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Aged Red Wine--->Beef Tea

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On the SF Bay Area board, Husky asked,

what do you mean by "the beef tea stage" and is that a good or bad thing? i've never heard of that phrase in the describing of wine...i'm assuming it refers to "browning"...

http://chowhound.com/topics/show/306855

in response to my comment,

"We washed these down with 2001 Martinelli Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, which was as fresh as can be, 1997 Castello di Verduno Langhe di Nebbiolo that had descended into the beef tea stage, and a variety of microbrews."

Beef tea or beef bouillon is a wine descriptor that I picked up from a Scottish friend of mine. I suspect it's more common among the Brits.

I use it to not only describe the browning and loss of color in an over-the-hill red wine, but also the meaty/muddy flavor, salty minerality, and grassy/savory notes that dominate when the fruit has faded away. In this particular wine, the fruit, any desireable tertiary character (e.g., tar, roses, violets, sandalwood) that might have been present earlier in its life, as well as the acidity were gone, leaving just the flat "beef tea" character behind.

As a side note, in the last year, we've been making beef tea for aged parents to cure their anemia with good result (homemade Chinese EPO!). Their refrigerator always has a couple of clear plastic containers at various stages of the process: the thin red-hued water steeping with fresh meat to the clear brownish liquid after steaming. This wine had a tawny color like the latter.

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