Muscat: Not Sweet!

Muscat(s)! A two thousand year old name (Persian muchk, Greek moskos) for the fragrance derived from the gland of the male musk deer, and so synonymous with perfume: ‘muscat’ can be one of over 200 distinct white, pinkish, or black-berried varieties grown all over the world.   They were selected because you could smell them justContinue reading “Muscat: Not Sweet!”

Biodynamic, Permaculture, Fukuoka!

Our ability to make natural wine depends on the soils we farm. If we’re talking about minimal intervention, it starts with the interventions we make as farmers first. This can start with what we aren’t doing in the vineyard: spraying synthetic pesticides, applying herbicide or chemical fertilizer — the minimum for organic viticulture. But it’sContinue reading “Biodynamic, Permaculture, Fukuoka!”

Chile’s Dark Side of the Moon

The people writing the histories of Chilean wine usually start the clock in the 19th century, in the Central Valley south of Santiago, where titled families who got rich through crown concessions for silver and copper mining went into politics and then retired as gentlemen farmers, on big irrigated haciendas where they planted Bordeaux varietiesContinue reading “Chile’s Dark Side of the Moon”

Languages of Taste

How do we talk about wine, and to what end? Is it to remember what we’ve tasted, or to describe our experiences to others? To give, or receive, recommendations for something that the person asking might like? To to communicate luxury or prestige, to sell a product? To evaluate quality? Here are some (genuine) examplesContinue reading “Languages of Taste”

Greek Islands

The islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas are both home to ancient histories of winegrowing and experiencing a revival that’s extraordinarily recent. This is one of those classes I give not out of any particular expertise but because I’ve stumbled over a bunch of interesting wines that I can’t place, and I want toContinue reading “Greek Islands”

What Is Natural Wine?

A grapevine doesn’t want to give fruit every vintage. It’s a vine: it wants to find the nearest post or tree and wind its way up to look at the sun. When farmers prune in the winter, we’re messing with the plant’s psychology. We gaslight it into thinking its life is in danger; it putsContinue reading “What Is Natural Wine?”