Archive for February, 2010

Intrusive aromas

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010


BOD man body spray.

I recently wrote about how environmental variables can impact the way a wine expresses its character. That concept may seem esoteric to many, but it is based on the principles of physics and chemistry. Perhaps more easily observed (and understood) is the way aromas in the tasting environment (or originating from the taster themselves) can confound wine evaluation.

I’m very stringent about the environment in which I evaluate wines for review. I make sure that the room where I taste is regularly aired out. I do not taste when Irene is cooking or has cooked recently. Air fresheners and potpourri are not allowed in the house. (more…)

Don’t know what black currant is?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010


Black Currant.

Black Currant.

People new to wine find some aromas or flavors in tasting notes exotic or foreign. They may have trouble identifying those aromas. They may simply not be familiar with the fruit being referenced. Its understandable, then, that they would find wine intimidating.

To the question: “How can a wine, made from grapes, have all these aromas and flavors?”, I offer the following: Biological diversity on this planet appears broad if it is judged on form and appearance, but there is tremendous similarity in the biochemistry and physiology of all organisms. Subsequently, compounds commonly associated with the aromas and flavors of one plant (or its fruit) are rather ubiquitous throughout nature. (more…)

Not in the wine trade but want to post my URL!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010


Spam. From:


How open is the OpenWine Consortium? So open that it is becoming a popular community to post your profile and URLs – regardless how unrelated your business and web site are to wine. I take no pleasure in making this criticism. As one of the first admins of the community, I worked very hard to promote it because I believed in its potential. I believe in the OWC’s potential, but the community needs some TLC to realize that potential.

At the top of the list of what needs to be done, is active elimination of  the “spammy” profiles that increasingly pop up on the OWC. On the morning of February 9th, I reviewed the 63 most recently created OWC profiles (pages: one through three). Eleven are clearly bogus profiles and one is in the grey zone. Numerous others lack a bio, an “about” section or a link to a web site and their creators seem to be inactive.


Tasting in the rain

Monday, February 8th, 2010




The recent El Niño-spawned rainstorms hitting the Los Angeles area have caused me to suspend my wine evaluation. I do not review wines during rainy weather. I’m very particular about my wine tasting environment. The environmental factors of interest to me are: temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and ambient aromas.

While much emphasis is placed on the serving temperature of the wine itself, the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of the tasting environment impact the way a particular wine shows by affecting the way its aromatic compounds volatilize (emerge out of the wine). (more…)