So now I am in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I with a group of wine scientists at a retreat focusing on post-bottling wine chemistry, and we are staying at a rather grand but slightly bizarre hotel in Asheville. Don’t get me wrong: it’s lovely and luxurious, but the decor is very hunting-inspired, with lots of dead animals on the wall, and antler-based light fixings like the one below, in my bedroom.
We drove here from Raleigh yesterday, stopping in Durham for lunch. Durham looks like an attractive town. It has Duke University, and universities always seem to raise the character of towns here in the USA. Downtown has many relics of the tobacco industry, now thankfully much less successful than it used to be. The old red-brick buildings that previously housed tobacco companies have largely been converted to alternative uses.
Last night we went out for a drink. Andy Waterhouse, whose son knows a lot about beer, recommended Stones Pale Ale from San Diego. It’s one of the best beers I’ve tried EVER, with amazing aromatics, and a pronounced hoppiness. Just brilliant.
Today’s sessions have been on microoxygenation and OTR effects, and then on transition metal ions and their importance in wine. In between we went off to nearby Biltmore house for a visit. It is the USA’s largest private residence, built by the Vanderbilts in 1895. It is bizarrely wonderful, with an amazing fusion of architectural styles and a really grand, if a bit faux, interior.
For lunch, I had a pulled pork sandwich again. It is pictured below, and it was quite delicious.