Saturday, June 28, 2014
Biodynamic Tasting Calendar
Biodynamic Tasting Calendar:
A few weeks back one of my favorite importers was in town and we were tasting through a line-up of his Burgundies, he prefaced the tasting by telling me that according to the Biodynamic Calender we were tasting on a "Root day", and therefore not a great day to taste wine. I had heard of the Byodinamic Calender but quite frankly had not put much stock in it and for what it's worth I thought the wines we tasted that day were showing quite well, though having no prior experience with them I could not compare to how they tasted on a non-root day. I went on with my day and as usual tasted a number of wines that day, in fact its been a couple of weeks and I haven't given the calender much thought until today. This morning a sales rep came by with a line-up of wines from Silver Oak, and while I did not expect to love every bottle she was showing I did expect some very classic Silver Oak flavors i.e. big fruit and lots of American oak. I was quite surprised that all of the wines seemed subdued and weren't showing much fruit at all. In tasting today, that conversation about Root Days and Fruit Days came creeping back to me and I broke down and downloaded the Biodynamic Calender App for my phone and sure enough today is a root day. I don't consider this proof but it did get me thinking. For the next couple of weeks as I taste the wines brought in by my sales reps as well as at home/dinner I am going to write down my initial impressions before checking the calender and see if what I taste lines up with the type of day. Check back for updates as we explore the ins and outs of the Lunar/Byodynamic Calender
Here is a quick breakdown of the types of days:
The Luna/Byodinamic Tasting Calendar that has four types of day that relate to a lunar cycle, namely; Root, Fruit, Leaf and Flower.
Fruit tasting: The fruit notes are regarded as being more vibrant and even overpowering in some cases, with the wines appearing full-bodied and rich in character.
Leaf tasting: Wines are experienced to be less sweet, with a dominant, earthy minerality.
Root tasting: Wines tasted in the Root cycle appear more subdued than when consumed within the other cycles.
Flower tasting: The Flower cycle is generally regarded as the best tasting day overall for wine.
First tasting of the day is a repeat of Monday, classic California Cabernet from a couple of different vintages. This time the wines are from Sonoma so I expect them to be a bit softer than the Silver Oak wines but no less compelling or typical of the vintages we were tasting (2001,2004,2007 and 2010). Now I have to admit I was fresh off late softball games the night before which included a lot of dust, dirt and beer (not to mention the coffee in the morning) so I was not at my best in terms of nuanced tasting but after tasting the wines Paul and I discussed what type of day we thought we were on. I leaned toward a root day (see the note about softball above) Paul on the other hand mentioned he thought the older wines were showing a lot more fruit than he thought they might, so he guessed either flower or fruit day. As the day progressed and we tasted a few more wines, including one opened Day 1 (a root day), I started to lean in Paul's direction the wines today are far more expressive on the nose and more lively on the palate and the verdict Flower Day. Maybe there is something to this whole biodynamic thing. Can't wait to see what day 3 holds.
Again I am going to wait until I've sampled a few wines before making my guess at which type of day we are having (editors note yes I do spit otherwise every day would be a “long day”). First impressions are that this is going to be a great day for tasting. All of the wines so far are bright and fresh with great aromatics and lift to the fruit. Either I'm just in a good mood or this must be a flower or fruit day. Checked my app around 2pm and sure enough a flower day, guess I should chill down one of those 2012 Leitz Rieslings that just came in and take it for a test drive at the end of the day, do not plan on spitting the 2012 Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spatlese, that one is coming home with me. So far I must say I'm starting to be convinced that there really is something to the whole Biodynamic Calender idea.
Saturday - June 21
We had some great wines out to sample and I had a special bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape picked out to try, we need to try the good stuff as well. Having tasted the wines we were sampling previously, though admittedly without know which type of day according to the Biodynamic Calender, I thought they would offer a clue as to the type of day we had in store. All of the wines seemed to taste as they should, I couldn't pick out either a pronounced excess or lack of fruit, so my guess was a flower day. Turns out I was half right. We were in a leaf morning and afternoon heading into a fruit evening, I didn't know they days could be split up like that. So armed with the knowledge of a leaf day we opened the 2012 Pierre Usseglio Cuvee Mon Aieul, and it seems that some wines are immune to the effects of a leaf day because this wine was amazing and I'm glad we decided to try it because we sold out later that day. Into the evening we had some friends over for dinner and among other wines I brought out a bottle we had opened the Tuesday prior and stuck in the fridge. I didn't have high hopes but it appears the power of the fruit day took over and the wine was drinking beautifully.
Conclusions from a week of tasting according to the biodynamic calender:
So after a week of tasting and checking the calender I'm convinced that there is some validity to the idea that wine can taste better on certain days, that there are forces in nature that can effect the way we taste or at least perceive the taste of wine. Whether this effects all wines equally I'm not sure, but hey that's the fun of tasting.
Earlier this week I noticed a thread on the eRobertparker.com bulletin board and I'm not sure that 2 weeks ago I would have even read the thread but now I'm excited to hear others opinions, and the opinions seem to be best summed up by a large national retailer: “we taste about 5000 wines a year here at the warehouse, never checking the calendar until about halfway through the day. I'd say, from our research the calendar bats about .700, with wines clearly showing better on fruit and flower days. To confirm, we've actually tasted the same wines at each different cycle of the calendar, all without knowing what kind of day it actually was, and mentally charting the results afterward.”
Come taste some Biodynamic wines this weekend and see what type of day we have for drinking. Enjoy!
Aaron, Forsyth Wine Manager