jamie goode's wine blog: Educational reading

Friday, April 27, 2007

Educational reading

Just thought I'd point out some articles I've dug up recently in my web travels.

Wines and Vines has a nice comparative tasting of wines made with oak chips and those without, looking at the influence of oak alternatives on the final wines. First time I've seen this. There's also an earlier article in the same mag on this subject.

Sticking with Wines and Vines, there's a nice article on minerality in wine, a topic I'm really interested in. The author makes a reference to a chapter in my Wine Science book. Glad someone has read it.

The World of Fine Wine has placed a couple of my articles online as pdfs, free of charge. Here's one on the premature oxidation of white Burgundy crisis and another on grafted versus ungrafted vines.

On the same site there's a lengthy but gripping (and surprisingly high level) discussion on biodynamics. Phew!

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At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Jeremy Wilkinson said...


Thanks for pointing out the BD link. I thought in particular that Morton Leslie's posting at the end was terrific.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

I thought there were some good points all round. Good high level discussion.

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous D said...

Did you? I thought most of the contributions lacked intellectual rigour albeit they were couched in the contrarian language of pseudo-academia. There was an extraordinary amount of hobbyhorse-riding, quoting out of context and second guessing. And some snide comments to boot. It reminded me of those conferences where carefuly researched papers are given, opinions are ventilated and no-one is any the wiser. Steiner was set up as some kind of straw man; the fact that he had some way-out views has little to do with modern biodynamic viticulture which is not some quasi-religious cult (but nor do its proponents claim that it is an exact science). It made me wonder whether any of these people had actually worked in a vineyard or whether perhaps they gleaned all their information from reading scientific journals. Truly the life of the Petri dish is an admirable substitute for the natural world. By the way I thought Morton Leslie's contribution was interesting but wholly irrelevant, a character assassination of Steiner lumped together with a peroration about intelligent design which has very little to do with the argument in question.

Of course, noone actually defined their terms. This reminded me of Rabelais' phrase about a chimera bombinating in a vacuum. Ask most growers and they will say that biodynamics is simply about enabling the vines to be healthy and to do that you need to understand the natural relationship between every active element in the vineyard. A healthy vine is one in balance with its environment. The fringe stuff about cow horns and crystals is evidently what exercises the scientists (why?); the reality is wholesome common sense. Rather than subjecting vines to the chemical will of man, rather than destroying the biodiversity of a region, biodynamics posits an integrated view of viticulture. It is no coincidence that so many leading growers are now working sustainably and exploring further how biodyanmics can assist the process of making wines of typicity. Ultimately, you can look at every single treatment in the vineyard and ask if it is effective, and if so, why. You can examine a holistic philosophy and question whether it is based on absolute logic. But then what sort of logic are we talking about? The logic of the chemical laboratory or the "natural logic" of the vineyard?


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