Fruit and Root,When Wine Tastes Best
By Kay Pfaltz
Flower, fruit, leaf and root…these are the designated symbols or phases in the bio-dynamic calendar. Without wristwatches, our ancient ancestors kept track of time by the sun, moon and stars, planting and harvesting in rhythm with nature. More recently, bio-dynamic farmers have been planting with the phases of the moon. Sowing seeds after a new moon and harvesting on ‘root’ days, and whether you buy into the theory, planting your own seeds with the new moon, or believe it’s all a bunch of hierarchical hooey, the holistic approach that looks beyond the vine and its profit to the land, even the cosmos, is a concept of interconnectedness and respect, encouraging biodiversity and working with nature not against it, that agribusiness could well heed and follow. How the world would change.
But what about tasting wine to the phases of the lunar calendar? That’s what two major supermarkets in the UK, Tesco and Marks & Spencer have been doing for some years. The biodynamic calendar is similar to the synodic cycle, the waxing and waning of the moon, and if we understand that the moon controls not only the oceans’ tides but human biology and the way plants grow, it makes sense that wine, a living organism, is affected too.
In their book/calendar, When Wine Tastes Best Maria and Matthias Thun explain that each constellation is associated with one of the four elements: earth, air, fire or water. Each of these elements affects a different part of the plant: the earth element affects the plant’s roots; water, its leaves; air, its flowers, and fire, its fruit. When it comes to tasting wine, the idea is that wine tastes best on flower and fruit days. It’s not that you shouldn’t drink wine on leaf and root days, but that it will taste better on the flower and fruit. Therefore save your great bottles for then…and whether you believe the theory behind this matters little; once we all believed the sun revolved around the earth. Try it and see. In June, flower and fruit days: Sat 2, Sun 10, Fri 15, Wed 20, Thurs 21 until 6pm, Sun 24, Mon 25.
In the end, what is perhaps most magical about wine is that it’s alive. Grown from grapes upon vine, it continues to evolve in the bottle. Even once opened, wine changes and evolves in the glass. Compare with a can of soda, which begins to die the moment its tab is popped. Then too, other factors affect how much you will enjoy a wine: the weather, your mood and emotions, your surroundings and perhaps most of all, the person with whom you’re drinking the wine.
We at Basics believe the following taste good no matter what fruity day it is.
Medici, Pinot Noir, 2003, Estate Reserve, East Block I, II – The 2004 sold out and this is the last of the 2003. It’s still a bit of heaven in a glass. Soft and sweet, with earth tones and complexity. Get it while it lasts. $27
Domaine Grand Veneur, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieilles Vignes, 2010 – “Blackberry and blueberry fruit intertwined with camphor, lavender, licorice and truffle notes. Sensational richness and intensity make this one of the most concentrated, long-lived wines of the appellation. 95-99 pts. Wine Advocate. $99
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