Dioniso, Apollo, le Onde, il caldo eccetera


Geometrie iperboliche, evidentemente dionisiache, o buchi neri enoici?

Le onde gravitazionali sono state rivelate il ​​14 settembre 2015, alle 10:50:45 ora italiana (09:50:45 UTC, 05:50:45 am EDT), da entrambi gli strumenti gemelli Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), negli Stati Uniti, a Livingston, in Louisiana, e a Hanford, nello stato di Washington. Gli osservatori LIGO, finanziati dalla National Science Foundation (NSF) e operati da Caltech e MIT, hanno registrato l’arrivo delle onde gravitazionali entro una finestra temporale di coincidenza di 10 millisecondi.”

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L’alterazione del vino. Zucchero, mosto concentrato rettificato, e altri.

Reverse Osmosis unit

Reverse Osmosis unit

Oggi ho letto l’articolo di Repubblica e l’articolo di Roberto Gatti intitolati “Zucchero Nel Vino? Nel Nord Europa Si Può Fare, Ma L’etichetta Non Lo Dice”, nel quale quota un articolo di Repubblica, concludendo che lo zucchero non va bene, ma in certe condizioni il mosto concentrato rettificato si può usare in quanto di origine “da uva”.

Purtroppo in Italia è molto diffusa l’idea, perfettamente falsa, che un vino da mosto arricchito di mosto concentrato rettificato (MCR) sia in qualche modo accettabile, perfino normale, mentre è sofisticazione solo l’arricchimento con zucchero, tipicamente praticato “dai francesi” sistematicamente e ovunque. Esiste quindi l’idea che il MCR, poiché prodotto da uva, sia naturale e che magari preservi la tipicità. O l’idea che lo zucchero da canna sia in qualche modo diverso dallo zucchero d’uva, “estraneo” al vino. Continue reading

Terracotta? Dipende.

Barrique in terracotta della tenuta Rubbia al Colle

Il vino affinato in terracotta ha un senso? Era da un po’ di tempo che volevo parlare di questo argomento.  Ci ho pensato a lungo, così tanto che non solo mi sono convinto di sì, ma sono anche andato molto più in là costruendoci attorno un vero e proprio progetto. Riguardo a questo però concedetemi ancora un po’ di tempo (non molto davvero) prima di svelare bene ogni dettaglio.

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Around Tokyo

On a clear day you can see Mt Fuji

But not, as it turned out, during our four days in Tokyo. This mega-city, Japan’s capital, was our first stop prior to a nine-day cruise around Hokkaido, the country’s northern island.

As we had a couple of hours to spare before we could check in to our Shinjuku hotel, we headed off for a quick look at the views from the 45th floor of the TMG Building – a popular city viewing site. Unfortunately, a haze of pollution obscured the horizon and Mt Fuji was nowhere to be seen.

Language problems

As we soon discovered, there are not a lot of English or other language translations visible – in restaurants, on ATMs or on train maps. A bit like Australia’s mono-linguistic signage really.

Outside most restaurants though are photos and plastic models of the foods on offer, but it is difficult for non-Japanese speakers to know what the dishes contain. In our experience with restaurant staff there was little English spoken so it was a matter of point, shoot, and hope for the best. Trick or treat was the general rule, especially for us vegetarians. Continue reading

Online auction wines

Lest anyone should think that wine writers drink only top shelf samples, it should be pointed out that we also buy liquor to review and to drink. And not all of us are wine snobs. A few wine scribes have even been known to drink beer (gasp!) and dare I say it, vin ordinaire. However, I once met a well-known columnist who drew the line at cask wine.

Which brings me to everyday drinking. My good friend Prof Kim from Melbourne told me a while back that he had bought some very good wine from Grays Online Auctions, at bargain prices.

I love a bargain, so it was straight on to the site and the live bidding began. I won some and lost some but ended up buying a few dozen bottles: Hunter Valley reds, Canberra rieslings, Margaret River viogniers, to name but a few.

All the wine was delivered in good condition. On tasting, the reds were good quality quaffers. An aged riesling was in tip-top condition, a young viognier excellent drinking. I checked a couple of the prices on winery websites and found one of the wines retailed at $18 per bottle and another for $22.

Why are they sold at auction? I suspect a number of reasons. A glut of stock. Cash flow problems, taxation bills – but who knows?

Now here’s the good part. Using the trusty calculator, I averaged out the cost of all the auction wine I had bought and it came to approximately $4.75 per bottle. This price included the buyers’ premium of fifteen percent and the courier delivery cost of $12 per dozen. A bargain deal if ever I had one. Highly recommended.

Cheatin’ in the kitchen

Winey Tawny Cheese

Over the years, I’ve tasted a number of boozy cheeses: port-soaked Stilton, Red Windsor, Italian wine-washed cheese and the like. They are not commonly available and when they are, they tend to be very expensive, so I thought, how hard would it be to make my own?

For the first experiment, I cut a one-kilogram block of cheddar into 2.5mm slices. These I pierced with a stainless steel skewer, put into a glass container and just covered with a decent shiraz. On went the lid and the container went into the fridge. After 10 days, I drained the cheese, patted it dry and tried a slice. Not bad, not great. The cheese taste came through with an edge of shiraz fruit but the dry wine made the aftertaste somewhat hard.

I tried the same technique with a tawny port and also with an oloroso sherry. The oloroso was good – a distinct smooth, nutty sherry component complementing the cheddar flavour, but with alcohol too dominant.

The tawny cheese was a great success. Porty aromatics interwove with and offset sharpish cheddar flavours. Somehow, the result was both sweet and savoury at the same time, with just a hint of alcohol hovering in the background. A friend who tried it asked where he could buy some.

Good drinking

Mud House Pinot Gris 2012 – $22 – 89/100. South Island, New Zealand. The bouquet displays generous ripe fruit characters and notes of lime zest. On the palate it tends to the medium-dry, softer end of the spectrum showing dried pears supported by mild and balanced citric acidity.

Lowe Tinja Chardonnay Verdelho 2013 – $22 – 90/100. Mudgee, New South Wales; no added preservatives. This one is nicely aromatic with hints of lemon and new season apricots. The palate is light and fresh and crisply acidic in a Granny Smith apple kind of way. A lovely style for a picnic lunch.

Fox Gordon Sassy Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – $17 – 89/100. Adelaide Hills, South Australia. The nose displays aspects of kiwi fruit with a sherbert-like edge. In the mouth it shows some grassiness along with suggestion of fruit salad. The finish is medium-dry with mild acidity.

Ferryman Chardonnay 2011 – $26 – 90/100. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. This starts with a pleasing nose of apricot conserve, along with almost caramelised toasted oak. Ripe stone fruits dominate the palate and blend well with undertones of French oak maturation. A fine match for savoury entrées.

Forester Estate Shiraz 2010 – $24 – 89/100. Margaret River, Western Australia. The wine leads off with a juicy summer berry nose. Blackberry fruit continues in a palate that is smooth, medium-weighted, and just on the soft side in texture. The fruit is ably supported by restrained tannins.

The Barry Brothers Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – $20 – 90/100. Clare Valley, South Australia. A solid offering of the classic Australian blend of shiraz (70%) and cabernet sauvignon (30%). The blend offers generous and ripe blackberry fruit throughout with an oaky vanillin edge and a finish of lip-smacking tannic astringency.

Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2011 – $70 – 93/100. McLaren Vale, South Australia. The nose of this wine opens with complex dark berries, mocha notes and elements of smoky oak. Ripe and rich in the mouth, its sweet berry fruit is balanced by drying tannins and attractive but restrained oak integration.

Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – $106 to $150 – 96/100. Coonawarra, South Australia. Deep crimson with purple/violet hues in the glass. The bouquet presents notes of blueberries and blackcurrants and a dusty hint of French oak. On the palate it is assertive with loads of concentrated blackcurrants, chewy tannins and upfront oak treatment. Its finish is long, firm and intense. A shame to drink this wine so young as it will come together beautifully over the next 5 to 10 years. As I savoured a glass I hummed to myself the last phrases of The Divinyls’ Boys in Town: “Too much too young”.

Too much, too young.


95-100 – Gold

90-94 – Silver

85-89 – Bronze

80–84 – Good drinking

Farewell Keith Dunstan

Keith Dunstan, well-known Australian author, journalist, columnist and sometime vigneron has died in Melbourne at the age of 88.

I was privileged to meet and enjoy a glass or two of wine with him over the years at wine functions. One of his great tales was about the early days of home bottling of wine.

As well as I can remember it, back in the 1960s he and a good friend would rail or truck big red wines in bulk from Brown Brothers of Milawa to Melbourne. However, they always had a shortage of used bottles.

Keith recalled that his sister lived at the time in swanky St Georges Road Toorak. So, whenever he visited her he would scavenge bottles that neighbours had put out with the garbage.

His prize finds were empty bottles bearing the labels of top Bordeaux brands such as Chateau Mouton Rothschild, and premier cru Burgundy such as Clos de Vougeot.

His friend on the other hand, took a different and down market approach. He bottled his wine in brand new, unused methylated spirits bottles. (Those distinctive triangular-shaped brown glass bottles sometimes seen in brown paper bags being consumed by drunks down on their luck.)

So one evening Keith and his friend went to Florentino Restaurant – where BYO was unheard of.

They sat down and presented their two bottles – one apparently “metho”  and the other French – to the Maitre d’.

He, without raising an eyebrow, opened them, gave the diners a taste to see if the wines were sound and proceeded to arrange their dinner.

A bottle of memories

This piece was submitted by an old friend with whom I shared many of the experiences of a long gone Melbourne that he relates below. MF.  

By Bryan Walters

A late night visit to the father-in-law OBE (Over Bloody Eighty in his own words) recently was reason enough for him to demonstrate his renowned generosity. One attribute in short supply is his ability to differentiate a good wine from a bad one. None-the-less, he always has a couple of bottles in his portmanteau on any visit.

My arrival at his house was quickly followed by ‘Can I get you something?’ Being midwinter in Melbourne, I suggested a whiskey. ‘I might have something,’ he rejoined. ‘Would a port do?’

There quickly appeared a Chateau Yaldara 1969 Rich Old Port. [Barossa Valley, shiraz and mataro blend. Back then Australian law permitted the term port on Australian fortified wine].

Bottle full of memories

‘Where did you get this’, I asked. Continue reading

Aldi Sells Grange

Aldi Liquor is now selling Australia’s most famous and iconic wine, Penfolds Grange on line.

A bottle of the 2008 vintage, rated by Parker at 100/100, will set you back a lazy $649, or $7788 the dozen.

The Aldi tasting notes read:

“An immediate and powerful lift of cola/soy/hoisin/red licorice, propelled by tea-smoke and ferric influences. A muscular push of dark licorice and malt, with a self-saucing chocolate pudding richness and blackberry.”

With those characters it sounds like a bottle might go well with dinner at a Chinese restaurant.