Tasting biodynamically10th March, 2014 by Ben Kennedy
We all know how biodynamics has become a global topic of interest in terms of making wine, but how important is the lunar calendar when tasting and enjoying the finished product?
Admittedly I’m not always the quickest off the starting blocks, and the link is a fairly straight-forward one, but last week a friend introduced me to a mobile phone app called “When Wine Tastes Best”, and it has really got me thinking. The app is produced in conjunction with a book of the same name which is published annually, and the creators claim that some UK supermarkets only organise their press tastings after having consulted this guide. I stand to be ridiculed over this for being way behind the curve, but just how important is biodynamics to us as wine professionals, when we taste wines analytically, and how likely are we to be effected in our commercial decisions? Certainly here in Bordeaux it’s not widely discussed.
I’ve previously been aware of several unpredictable outside influences that can effect the results of my own wine tastings, both objective (weather, atmospheric pressure) and subjective (mood, work pressure), and many colleagues appear to have shared similar experiences, but the concept of following a calendar to get the most out of a wine would suggest that planning to taste wine on a root or leaf day is a professional blunder.
So I’m going to ask for some feedback on this one, and I’ll invite you to give me your thoughts as wine professionals on whether wines do in fact taste better on flower and fruit days. Many of you may already have a biodynamic calendar that you use, like one buyer I visited in London last week, or you may like to get the book or the app (no, I’m not taking a commission!), but please do post comments on your findings. And for those of you who will be coming to Bordeaux to taste the 2013 en primeur at the end of this month, many châteaux take part in several events so why not compare the same wines on different days during the week and report back?
After a cursory look at the first four months of this year, it appears that roughly half of the days could be useful to us professionally, by which I mean that at least part of the working day (9am to 6pm) is either flower or fruit, but this is not excluding weekends. Unfortunately for the bordelais, only two out of the five days of primeur week are looking good, so let’s hope that doesn’t hinder this ‘difficult’ vintage even further…