Friday, May 16, 2008

The Heart and Soul of Wine.

Berry Bros & Rudd recently released a report on the future of wine.
They are of course Britain's oldest wine establishment, celebrating their 310th anniversary this year. I have a great respect for this vintage company but do not agree with everything covered in this report. (For those of you interested in reading the entire report, email me at and I will send you a pdf copy)
Their claims on China as a future rival to Bordeaux are refuted by people in the know as evidenced by comments left on
There is an intense interest in wine around the globe and a thirst for knowledge about the subject. Bloggers and writers everywhere giving us daily doses and we can't seem to get enough of it. We all know how wine drinkers progress from the sweet barely drinkable wines but eventually will settle for the many outstanding wines available today. I think of my own journey along the road of wine which started while in college. Mateus was where it was at. So I find Jasper Morris' MW
prediction somewhat unbelievable.
"In 50 years, consumers will ask for wine by the brand name or flavour and won't know, or care, where it has come from. Grapes will be genetically modified to change a wine's taste and producers will add artificial flavourings to create a style wanted by consumers." I cannot visualize the wine consuming public dumbing down and ordering a "Waitrose White" or a "Rosemount Red"
The quality of wines will continue to improve. It has to, if wineries expect to sell their wines in this highly competitive market. An example of this happening is the creation of a "crus" appellation in the Minervois region of the Languedoc. The
AOC Minervois La Livinière
was established in 1999. This past week I had the pleasure of meeting Isabelle Coustal, the proprietor and wine maker at Chateau Saint Eulalie.
Her Chateau Sante Eulalie La Cantilene is an outstanding wine and an example of what the future holds for us wine drinkers not content to drink the commercial plonk. We tasted Isabelle's Plaisir d'Eulalie. and it truly is a pleasure. Candle light and wine shared with friends enjoying a good meal came to my mind. Now I won't be around 50 years from now to say I told you the BBR report was not accurate, but future wine drinkers will be enjoying some amazing wines like the ones coming from the Minervois La Liviniere today. And with wine makers like Isabelle leading the way the Heart and Soul of good wines will be passed on to wine drinkers 50 years from now.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Nose Knows Fine Wine!

Birds do it! Bees (wasps) do it! And of course dogs do as well. Do what? Use their sense of smell. They do it so well that they are being trained to do some pretty amazing tasks. Wasps
could be trained and very cost effectively at that, to detect toxic chemicals and explosives. That would make for an interesting scenario at our international airports. Instead of sniffer dogs you would see inspectors walking around with jars of wasps. Birds also have a strong sense of smell. It turns out they use their sense of smell to detect possible predators. Our dear dogs are being trained to detect the nasty vine mealy bugs which have become a challenging problem in California vineyards. It is quite obvious that in every case this is part of their genetic make up. It comes naturally so to speak. I am sure momma and papa wasp aren't taking time out to teach the little ones. By the way that is my little dog Maddie in the picture. Click on the pic. to get a closer look at what she is doing. I am teaching her to detect TCA in my wines. So what is all the buzz and surprise about our sense of smell and taste being part of our genetic makeup? An interesting article by Dan Berger over at Appellation America discusses how recent research has come up with the idea that our genes may be a factor in how we smell and taste our wines. Really now? So perhaps who you are will determine whether or not you should pay attention to Parker points or any other subjective point system. Speaking of Robert, has he been blessed with an abundance of smelling and tasting genes? They say that as you get older your sense of smell and taste are likely to be less intense. So does that mean he will be retiring soon? After all he will be turning 61 this July. And how about that $1 million insurance policy he has on his nose and palate? Will his insurer be taking a second look at his coverage? If your genetic makeup plays a large role in what you can taste and smell how do you insure your genes? Just some points to ponder. In the meantime drink what you like and like the wines you drink.