Drink Now? Check Your Calendar.

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  • By Vanessa Moore
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Drink Now?  Check Your Calendar.

Bad news wine lovers, today is a leaf day. The good news? That likely means nothing to you. On a 2012 Importer trip, I was tasting with a retail buyer from New York when she said "Do you check the Biodynamic calendar?"

Bad news wine lovers, today is a leaf day. The good news? That likely means nothing to you.

On a 2012 Importer trip, I was tasting with a retail buyer from New York when she said "Do you check the Biodynamic calendar?" I looked puzzled and she pulled out her phone to show me an app called Wine Tonight? Wine Tonight? is one of many industry tools created from the Biodynamic Planting Calendar, a farming forecast developed in the 1950’s by Maria Thun, a German specialist in the field of biodynamic agriculture. Today it is used widely throughout the viticultural community - from farmers and winemakers to suppliers and retailers - a reference reported to influence decision making in the vineyard and event planning for buyers all over the world. According to the calendar, which is based on the the constellations of the Zodiac and the orbit of the moon, there are specific rotations to consider when sowing and planting. Modern theory suggests that the taste of wine is also affected by this lunar rhythm and will express itself differently in the glass during four cycles: Fruit, Root, Flower and Leaf.

Here's my take:

Fruit Day: Fruit may be more exuberant, with the wines showing more body and richness. Opt for old world wines with lower alcohol to avoid overpowering your palate or pairing.
 
Root Day: Wines tasted can be more restrained, even lacking fruit, as compared with consuming during other cycles. Choose fruit forward, youthful wines from classic growing seasons.
 
Flower Day: Considered a day of balanced flavors. The best day for drinking special bottles and off vintages. Splurge on a selection from your cellar.
 
Leaf Day: Wine tasted on these days may show more green, earthy flavors with possibly muted fruit. Avoid bottles from cold cliimates where acheiving ripeness is a regular challenge.
 
Think it sounds like a bunch of nonsense? Perhaps, yet certainly interesting and worth considering. After all, the enjoyment of wine is subjective and based on individual preference. So ask yourself a couple of questions:
 
1) Assuming you can take mood out of the equation, have you enjoyed a favorite wine many times, then later opened the same bottle and unexpectedly found it less expressive or less satisfying in some way? 
 
2) When participating in a wine tasting do you sometimes wonder if your typically keen palate is having an off day?
 
A few weeks ago, I eagerly tasted a line up of Alsatian wines we've previously carried at both locations, but haven't stocked for a while. One thing we know about the wines of Alsace: They never lack perfume. At any price point, regardless of producer, these are wines that command attention with aromas of flowers, honey, spice, stone fruits and minerality. On this day, every one of them was understated including the Gewurztraminer, which can always be counted on to clear up any ailments your senses may be suffering. To be clear none of them were flawed, just more subtle and less interesting than expected.
 
I hadn't thought much about Wine Tonight? or what I learned from my NY friend, but this tasting (which followed another underwhelming supplier tasting) refreshed my memory of our conversation. So I picked up my phone and downloaded two free apps: When Wine and Bio Garden. Both confirmed it was a root day.  While our supplier and sales rep may have been a little disappointed in this revelation, I felt satisfied in our assessment of the wines in the moment, while hopeful that we might taste them again. I planned not to dismiss them altogether but instead to consider them for future purchase.

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