When it comes to tasting wine in a critical context (critical as in “for the purpose of reviewing potential and quality” and not critical as in “life-threateningly-important” – though way, way, way too many people treat it that way), I’m often reminded of the phrase made (in)famous decades ago in wine TV commercials by an aging (and rapidly expanding) Orson Welles.
No, I don’t mean “Mmmmyyyyaaaaaargh…The French!…”
I mean “wine before its time.”
The deeper I go into this Going Pro rabbit hole, the more often I find myself tasting a fine wine (several) years before “its time” – what I would consider its optimal drinking age. It’s something that came to mind while I was reading (and subsequently commenting on) a recent blog post by Wine Enthusiast’s Steve Heimoff, when he mused that it’s a treat for wine reviewers when they actually get an appreciable amount of time to enjoy a wine at leisure (a point with which I agree, and one I can appreciate given that I’ve found myself in similar circumstances recently – though as a general rule I eschew tasting large volumes of wine quickly and, as mentioned before on these virtual pages, I’m not interested in going that route for 1WineDude.com).
So, what is a wine’s optimal drinking age, then?…
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In the latest podcast installment here on 1WineDude.com, I interview Alan York, an international consultant on Biodynamic viticulture and farming, who I met last year when visiting Benziger (one of Alan’s clients).
Alan is probably best known as the consultant who is overseeing the Biodynamics conversion of mega rock star Sting’s vineyard area in Tuscany.
Despite being fully immersed into the world of Biodynamics, Alan has a pretty laid-back, live-and-let-live approach to BioD farming in general. Except when it comes to talking about all-out attacks on BioD, particularly winemaker Stu Smith’s blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax.
Alan talks to me about his work with Sting, his views on the differences between Organically- and Biodynamically-farmed wines, how to explain Biodynamics to the layperson, and explains why he’s flummoxed that Biodynamics would come under attack in the first place (though he certainly acknowledges its inherent strangeness).
It should be another fun opportunity to discuss an always hot-button, powder-keg topic on the virtual pages of 1WD.
Next week… I interview Stu Smith himself to get the opposing viewpoint. Stay tuned…
1WineDude Radio: International Consultant Alan York Talks Biodynamics
Like most of you wine lovers out there, I’ve got an odd relationship with Biodynamic viticulture. What I mean is, I know what I think about Biodynamics – and that is, I’ve got no idea what to think about it.
On the one hand, I’ve tasted vibrant, stellar wines from grapes that were farmed Biodynamically. On the other, I personally have trouble believing anything from a guy who once said that the race of people from the lost city of Atlantis could fly using the power of burned seeds. That guy, of course, is Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher who invented the concept of Biodynamic farming. And, yes, he actually did say the thing about the Atlantean seed-powered hovercrafts.
So, I’ve decided to devote the next two Tuesday articles on 1WineDude.com to the topic – specifically, interviewing (as part of my 1WineDude Radio podcast series) two of the leading U.S. figures when it comes to BioD, both of whom are widely respected but sit on complete opposite sides of the BioD fence:
I’ll follow up with a wrap-up of impressions from YOU, the 1WD readers (with a few of my own sprinkled in). Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on BioD, BiodynamicsIsAHoax.com, Rudolph Steiner (or the Pittsburgh Steelers, or whatever)!
Hang onto your farming hats, it’s gonna be an interesting (and probably rather bumpy) ride…!