Skip to main content

Is there anything in biodynamics or am I a bit gullible?

A couple of years ago I was introduced to an app called 'When Wine Tastes Best', essentially the biodynamic calendar. Good days for wine are called Fruit or Flower days; bad ones are Leaf and Root days. There's a bit of explanation for all this but, it comes down to the theory that the same wine tastes better on some days (fruit or flower) than others (leaf or root) because the movement of the moon affects all living things on earth and wine is, in some respects, a living thing which responds to the 'rhythms of the moon' as it ages.

What is doesn't suggest is that, if all living things respond to the movements of the moon, then that includes us so, perhaps, rather than the wine tasting different, it is our perception of the wine that changes.

Either way, this gives rise to the only question that matters: do wines taste (or is our perception of them) any different according to the movements of the moon?

Supermarkets and many leading wine merchants seem to think so, holding tastings only on fruit or flower days. Also, some of the world's leading wineries, including the greatest of them all (DRC - not the Democratic Republic of Congo but Domaine de la Romanee-Conti - for anyone who doesn't know) are guided by biodynamic principles through all stages of viticulture and vinification. So there must be something in it, surely.

Well, there is only one way to find out. Taste, taste and taste more. In the last couple of years, we have done just that, tasting all sorts of wines over and again and yet again just in case of bottle variation. I can report that, scientific understanding notwithstanding, there really does seem to be something in this. Some golden rules:

1. NEVER open a bottle of mature wine on a leaf or root day. It will taste like Marmite gravy which is not something you will enjoy even a glass of and, frankly, what a waste of those long-loved bottles.

2. Avoid fragile wines such as most Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo except on fruit or flower days.

3. Most important, what we have found is that, by following these two rules, we are able to experience a wider range of wines than we would otherwise. Like many people, after years of experimenting, we have found particular styles we enjoy and for a period of time we will want to drink one style of wine almost exclusively. This rule ensures that, whilst Burgundy is a perennial favourite, we still get stuck into some old favourites such as Domaine Brusset's Chabriles Cairanne from time to time. And every time we do, we remember how much we enjoy it!

Anyway, as luck would have it, the app informs me that, as of about 1pm today (until 3am tomorrow), it is a flower day so I will now sign off and see if I can find a 2013 Givry 1er Cru (Cellier aux Moines or Servoisine - either will do!) from Domaine Joblot.

Happy drinking and stay safe!


Popular posts from this blog

Decanter’s top Rhône wines under £20

The moratorium is over. Decanter’s December issue has been published and I can announce our successes in the recent tasting undertaken by their Rhône expert, Matt Walls who has recently returned from a year and a half in the region. If you look on today (November 2020), you will see a link to ‘Top Côtes du Rhône wines under £20’. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the brief of its writer was to taste and rate wines from across the valley in that price range and that the top scoring white wine was actually a Ventoux. No prizes for guessing that it was  Château Juvenal’s 2019 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Blanc , awarded 91 points, which, at £12.60 is also the best value of any of the white wines on the list: 'From 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on granite south-facing slopes; half of the wine is matured for six months in demi-muid leaving no overt oakiness to the aromatics. Full-bodied, rich and opulent style, very ripe and fulsome. Some mango and pineapple juice. Unmist

Estate Profile: the truly excellent Domaine Ste-Anne

Simple labels adorn the bottles of these highly effective and enjoyable wines which have a distinct nod to the northern Rhône and even Burgundy and Bandol despite their southern Rhône setting. Described by Robert Parker as ‘one of the best estates in the entire Rhône Valley’, Domaine Ste-Anne has been in the Steinmaier family since 1965 when it was bought as a holiday home for this Burgundian family. Guy Steinmaier quickly recognised the potential of the 12 hectares of vines and set about replanting them.   Now under the stewardship of his son Jean, who studied winemaking in Beaune before taking over in 1977, they have remained consistent throughout making remarkably un-Parkerised wines (that is to say, these are elegant and refined rather than the blockbusters generally regarded by the former uber-critic). A quarter of a century since Parker wrote those words, Domaine Ste-Anne remains synonymous with the Côtes du Rhône Village of St-Gervais. Today the range is much the same as it was

Joblot in the glass

Always one of my favourite tastings: the new vintage – in this case the 2019s – of Domaine Joblot’s wines from the bottle and, better still, in the comfort of my own home. 2019 has been much lauded but, thanks to Covid, only a very few people have tasted widely around the vintage. Jancis Robinson said of the wines she tasted, ‘ the wines were delightfully easy to like ’ although she rarely looks at the Chalonnaise which can be viewed as unfortunate for the top estates there but, perhaps, lucky for us since it keeps prices down and wines available. Anyone wanting to delve into Joblot’s wines could either choose any available vintagesand try wines from across the range or follow particular cuvées across a range of vintages (horizontal or vertical comparisons).   Juliette was clearly pleased with the way the wines turned out and rightly so. They tend towards sweetness in their youth but that is necessary for the wines to show at their best after 5-10m years (they will last much, much long