As wine connoisseurship evolves, I look toward developing ways to express the aspects of wine I love the most. I recognize that wine is a product of nature and science; my goal is as natural as can be: to help make the connection between joy of taste and the bountiful pleasures of life.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

It’s been a while right ….whew!... needless to say even for me it feels like an eternity since I’ve made a post and for that im very sorry and a bit embarrassed. So,…here we go ….

Over the course of the past year or so, I’ve been looking to discover all that I could about the biodynamic principles and how might those ideas and overall concept be intermingled with wine as a finished product. We know that biodynamics propose a direct correlation between the earth, sun and moon and how exactly the natural elements on our earth responds to gravitational forces, atmospheric and barometric pressures. Biodynamics as its relevant to agriculture and viticulture suggests that the vines and the bloodlines or fluids in the vines, the ground waters and subterranean water table are predisposed and effected by these forces. So, in very simple terms a farmer following these and other cyclic processes dictated by the biodynamic calendar looks to each day to determine whether that day is one of four options. A “root” day, a “leaf” day, a “fruit” day or a “flower” day. Which each assignment correlative to the lunar and solar cycles ive begun to understand more clearly some of the what’s and why’s about how this calendar applies to the farming aspect but at the same time I’ve begun to wonder about how this calendar then might impact liquids,…say ,…finished liquids like wine. Right? So here you have a wine, made up of phenolic compounds, esters and volatile aromatics that are essentially held in by the liquid itself. We swirl our glasses to aerate and artificially fill the wine with oxygen. That O2 does what it can to become part of the air again and in this instance, dragging some of the aromas out with it. Right? Say you tasted a wine one day,….its a favorite and you know its profile. You pop the cork, you sniff the wine and you proclaim its lackluster bouquet. You’re surprised and can’t figure out why just two days before that same bottle was so expressive. You call it a bad bottle or worse yet ,,,,label it as bottle variation and eventually let it go… Right? So,…say that the first bottle was opened on a “flower” day and the second on a “root” day. The “flower” and “fruit” days representing days that support the rapid effortless escape of the aromatic and flavor compounds of the wine and the “root” or “leaf” day that hosted your second bottle represents atmospheric chaos and actually dampens the wines natural ability to release its aromatic flair. So, while deliberating this somewhat indefinable topic, I ran into a colleague that had much to say about this and reaffirmed that a few folks around the globe were really beginning to take this biodynamic calendar into the bedroom- so to speak, and consider how it might be applied to organaleptic evaluation of wine.

This is just an emerging idea. Here is a response from a California winemaker that’s been exploring biodynamic viticulture and has over the years developed a position on how this ideology may in fact be an intrinsic part of our wine enjoyment as consumers. Check what he had to say…..chew it up and then let me know what cha think

“Barometric pressure is connected to weather systems, as it changes from Low pressure to High pressure, the volatility of various components change (becoming more volatile at low pressure, less so at higher pressure). One effect that we have to compensate for because of this is testing alcohol levels, at lower pressure water (and alcohol) boil at a lower temperature, so it can significantly skew results if not compensated for. From a wine appreciation perspective, analogous, but less well understood processes occur with the aromatics, volatile acids and other components of a wine, as well as the receptors (nose and taste buds) in a human body; causing many wines to taste different depending upon the weather, with low pressure systems being associated with the wines tasting “dumb”. Why this happened isn’t well understood, but may have to do with our body taking more time to adjust to barometric changes than a wine does so our senses end up not being as sensitive to the aromatics.

Lunar cycles are a very complex system of interaction between, moon, sun and earth. As simple as I can put it, a vector of force (in this case what we call gravity) is being pulled by each of two bodies (with the moon’s force being significantly greater than the sun’s). On any given day the vector of force being pulled by an individual body changes, due to the rotation of the earth, so that it essentially negates any individual work (force over time) done on the earth. Due to the change in position between the sun and the moon; in relation to the earth though, there is predictable variability in the nature of those forces, as depending upon the time of the month, the sun and moon will pull from the same vector or from opposite vectors. During a New moon the sun and moon are pulling from the same vector, and so you have the greatest amount of force pulling away from the earth (or depending on the time of day and your location towards the earth). During a Full moon the sun and moon are pulling along opposite vectors, causing less pull in a given direction, but more work (again force over time) over a given day. When the moon is in transition between those points, there is less work over all being done on the earth. The best way to understand this is to look at a tidal chart for a given area, the flood tide minus the ebb tide shows the relative amount of work being done, with the greatest tidal differences occurring during new moons and full moons. What does this mean to wine and vines? Well during the times of more “work” i.e. full moon and new moon, there’s more disruption occurring within an otherwise isolated system (a sealed barrel of wine), therefore the best racking for clarity will occur during the intermediate points, for racking with solids you’d look to do so when you had the greatest flood tide (usually a new moon). For vines the new moon and full moon both have a stronger vector force (pull) than intermediate phases, so more sap will flow in a given direction at a particular point in time… For a glass a wine the theory would hold then that during a full moon or new moon, with the greater force being exerted, you’d have greater disruption of volatiles (aromatics and alcohol) and therefore a wine that’s not in harmony with its own constituent parts.”

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