Time to leave the biodynamic calendar behind? Wine tastes the same on fruit and root days

There’s been a lot of talk about the biodynamic calendar in the wine trade. At wine tastings, it’s not unusual for tasters to start muttering that the wines aren’t showing very well. Then someone whips out their smartphone. ‘I thought so!’ they proclaim. ‘It’s a root day.’

For those unfamiliar with the concept, I’m referring to [...]

Pedogenic lime in arid vineyard soils - how does it affect the flavour of wine?

When it comes to vineyard soils, limestone is all the rage. But there’s one source of limestone in vineyard soils that isn’t much talked about. It’s the slow formation of limestone in arid vineyard soils, known as pedogenic lime (and alternatively caliche and calcrete). I first encountered it in Central Otago, and then bumped into [...]

Domaine Leflaive's switch to DIAM

Celebrated Burgundy producer Domaine Leflaive have switched away from natural cork to DIAM for all their wines, beginning with the soon-to-be released 2014 vintage.

I was alterted to this news by a tweet from Neal Martin, and I spoke on the phone this morning with Adam Brett-Smith of exclusive UK agents Corney & Barrow, who confirmed [...]

Terroir: the rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated

There’s a very interesting article on Jancis Robinson.com today, in which she reports on a recent Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) seminar on mineralogy. It deals with some very interesting issues. In her piece, she reports on Maltman’s talk, but I think she jumps to too-hasty a conclusion about its implications.

As geologist Alex Maltman [...]

Does organic wine taste better? A study whose findings have been widely misinterpreted

Are organic wines better than conventional ones? An interesting study from researchers at the University of California Los Angeles suggests that they might well be. However, the difference in point scores between eco-certified wines and conventional wines is actually much smaller than press reports on this study have stated, because they haven’t read the paper [...]

Stability of olfactory ability over time

This is a question that I think is really interesting, and it would be quite easy to answer. How stable is our olfactory ability over time?

We each differ in the set of olfactory receptors that we express in our nasal cavity. These receptors detect smell molecules. But there are far more smell molecules that we [...]

Riesling Rendezvous: why analytical data don't tell us much about the taste of Riesling

I’m at the Riesling Rendezvous conference in Seattle, Washington State. Held every three years, it’s an in-depth dive into this most distinctive of white wine grapes. It began on Sunday evening with a grand tasting outdoors at Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, and yesterday and today we’re in Seattle for tastings and seminars.

One topic that [...]

ICCWS: Gary Pickering on managing green flavours in wine

Gary Pickering, of Brock University presented a talk at the ICCWS (International Cool Climate Wine Symposium) on managing green flavours in wine. These are largely (but not exclusively) caused by methoxypyrazines. The two main ones in wine are isopropyl methoxypyrazine (IPMP) and isobutyl methoxypyrazine (IBMP).

There’s a level at which these green flavours can be typical [...]

ICCWS 2016: Alistair Nesbitt's model for identifying suitable vineyard sites in the UK

Alistair Nesbitt, from the University of East Anglia, has created a model that maps spatial climate variability in the UK, showing the suitability of various areas for viticulture in England and Wales. Over the period 1954-2015 there has been a non-linear warming trend for the growing season, and the amount of variability from season to [...]

Framing and wine tasting: how words can get in the way of experience

Framing is a social science term which refers to a set of concepts and perspectives that then form the background that influences how we think on certain issues. In this sense, framing is part of the narrative structure with which we see the world. American academic and author George Lakoff has popularized the term in [...]