Posts Tagged ‘Influence’

 

Chances are that at least once in your life you’ve found yourself at a restaurant, sitting next to someone who claims to know everything about wine.

They usually hold their glass up toward the light to see the color of the wine, talk about tannins, grape variety, soil quality… Of course, the most expensive wine always seems to be the best one.

But recently, several studies have shown that the price itself of a wine can actually influence its taste.

In 2001, Frederic Brochet carried out two experiments at the University of Bordeaux. In one of them, he got 54 oenology students together and had them taste a glass of red wine, and a glass of white wine. They described each wine with as many details as they could. What Brochet did not tell them was that both glasses were actually the same wine. He had simply dyed the white wine red – which did not affect its taste. In the second experiment, he asked experts to assess the quality of two bottles of red wine. One was very expensive, the other one was cheap. Once again, he had tricked them, filling both bottles with the cheap wine. So, what were the results?
Read on …

 Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich

 

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, portrayed in a 2000 film about her fight over the pollution of a California town, has been arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.
Brockovich, 52, was arrested at Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, on Friday night after breath tests showed her blood-alcohol level was just over twice the legal limit.

She was seen struggling to moor her motorboat at the Las Vegas Boat Harbour, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife said.

“She was not sure how to manoeuvre the boat into the dock,” Mr Lyngar said. “It’s a simple thing if you can think clearly. But if you add alcohol and unfamiliarity of the area, it can all cause serious problems.”
Read on …

The magical world of a barrel cellar.

The magical world of a barrel cellar.

 

I have often wondered why winemakers put their wines, white or red, in oak barrels and age them for sometimes months at a time.

The University of California Davis recently conducted a seminar on oak management and wine sensory issues. It looked at the use of oak barrels and oak adjuvants such as oak staves and oak powder with regard to how the oak may affect the wine’s chemical composition, aroma and flavors.

To me, the aroma of a wine is the “smell” of the specific grape varietal. But this very sensitive element can be easily influenced by the winemaking techniques and the use of oak barrels.

One obvious question is: why were oak barrels chosen to store wine in the beginning? The barrel is a perfect container to age wine in and is easily moved around manually. The answer seems to be related to the fact that oak barrels do not leak if properly coopered.

One of the most intriguing questions that was discussed at this seminar was what would have been the impact on wine tastes and wine’s appeal if a different tree had been chosen for barrel production. Has the effects of the oak barrel basically defined our tastes for different styles of wine?

Most European oak barrels are made from the Quercus petrea or Quercus robur while Quercus alba or the white oak is the main species used in American oak barrels. Today a good French oak barrel sells for around $1,000 a barrel and many of these barrels can only be used for several years before they lose their ability to enhance the flavors of the wine.

Read on …