Ceilings for wine quality in Bordeaux

A nice-looking gravelly terroir

I’ve spent a few days in Bordeaux, during which I’ve had a chance to speak to a few knowledgeable people and also to walk through quite a few vineyards. (And run through some, too.) Harvest is a few weeks off, so it’s interesting to see the marked differences among the various [...]

Is wine expertise illusory?

There’s been a lot of chat, of late, on whether or not wine expertise is illusory.

The media loves the idea that the wine trade is an elaborate fraud, perpetuated by people who are more-or-less making it up when they taste wine. People outside the wine trade find the idea that experts can’t tell the difference [...]

Ingredient labelling in wine

Wine is unusual among foodstuffs in that it doesn’t contain ingredient labelling or lists. All that is required is the statement ‘contains sulfites’ if the total sulfur dioxide level exceeds 10 mg/litre (which is a level that can be achieved even when no sulfites are added; they are made by yeasts, too).

There have been calls [...]

Helix, a new cork-based closure solution

Very interested by this new development, which was launched today at Vinexpo. It’s the Helix closure, which is the result of a partnership between cork company Amorim and glass manufacturer O-I (Owens-Illinois).

The idea is very clever. By using a special bottle, with grooves inside the neck, it makes it possible to remove the cork [...]

Yeasts and volatile sulfur compounds, a graphic

I’ve attempted to produce a simplified graphic showing the role of yeasts in producing volatile sulfur compounds, which are responsible for ‘reduction’ problems in wine. The big oval here is the yeast cell, and – grossly simplified – this is how reduction issues are caused by yeasts.

The main way in which yeasts produce volatile sulfur [...]

Graphic: wine flavour chemistry and the perception of wine

Just working on this graphic, showing the relationship between wine flavour chemistry and the perception of wine.

Flavour chemicals come directly from grape must, from bacteria and yeasts directly, and also from bacteria and yeasts modifying precursors in the must. There’s also the possibility that some elements of flavour could come from the soils, although this [...]

Video: a geeky review of wine glasses

So, here I review some of my tools of the trade: my favourite wine glasses.

 

Video: the rare varieties tasting with Dr Jose Vouillamoz

Here’s the video from the rare grape varieties tasting conducted by Dr Jose Vouillamoz at the London Wine Trade Fair this week, organized by the Circle of Wine Writers. I’d agreed to film it for them (I am on the committee), even though I was a little concerned that filming a tasting would actually be [...]

Distracted by a book revision

Apologies for the slight slowing down on my blog. I haven’t been posting every day, as I normally do, because I have been fiendishly busy, revising my Wine Science book.

The original was really good, and I was happy with it (even though I was plagued by self-doubt as I sent it out into the world). [...]

On soils and wines, part 6 - water relations and wine quality, plus a bit about clays

So, the next instalment in my exploration of the importance of soils for wine. This is really thinking aloud, so I’d love to hear comments and corrections.

One of the most important properties of vineyard soils is how they control water supply to the vine. Vine roots are designed to be particularly effective in taking up [...]