Old vines, bank robbers and tasty tap water

A Friday Linkfest!

So what does “Old Vines” mean anyway? I guess it depends on your definition of “old”. Tom Wark, over at his always engaging blog Fermentation, posted today about Yalumba’s Old Vine Charter, which is an attempt (and a pretty good one if you ask me) to try and define this category.

From Yalumba’s Old Vine Charter:

OLD VINE = a vine that is 35 years of age or older
ANTIQUE VINE = a vine that is 70 years of age or older
CENTENARIAN VINE = a vine that is 100 years of age or older
TRI CENTENARIAN VINE = A vine whose life has spanned 3 centuries

(Read the original post at Fermentation)

Part-time wine country tour guide, part-time serial bank robber. Wow. This amazing–and sad–story ran on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle today. There’s not much to say about this other than that the realities of life are plenty strange in themselves. And I’ve always thought that the wine industry was home to an unlikely bunch of people, many with an unconventional and colorful past, and many who are in the process of reinventing themselves.

Dump that bottled-water. Or better yet, don’t even bother buying it. The British wine magazine Decanter organized a blind tasting of bottled waters recently. The results? Filtered tap water pumped from the Thames beat out a slew of expensive luxury waters from around the world.

(Read the full article at Decanter)

Lastly, today’s Dinosaur Comics was pretty good.

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3 thoughts on “Old vines, bank robbers and tasty tap water

  1. The water tasting is in itself interesting, reminding one that a.) water is much more variable than most people think, and b.) most of the tap water in the developed world is actually pretty good. The problem is that water is a highly individualized taste, even more so than wine or other beverages, and this Decanter report failed to mention how the waters might have differed in character, which is the most important point. Vittel, for example, took second place in their tastings, but I personally can’t drink the stuff — it actually makes me physically ill. It’s something to do with the pH; it makes it slippery and soapy for me. My favorite water, Volvic, is what I consider to be the paragon of balance — it scored very low in their tastings, perhaps precisely because it’s so well-balanced as to appear deceptively neutral. But anyway, people react to different waters in very different ways, even if nobody really ever thinks about it.

    And the whole tri-centenarian thing is BS. It’s not like the vines are three hundred years old. Just call them mega-gnarly-hoary-ancient-my great-great-grandfather planted them-vines or whatever you want, but tri-centenarian is deliberately misleading.

  2. Hey Peter,

    You’re right… the whole tricentenarian thing is pretty much bs; that said, I do like seeing new world producers showing an interest in preserving old vineyards that are consistently making good wine when it could be so much easier to rip the vines out and plant something else there.

    One winemaker here told me recently that the most important thing about older vineyards in places like Sonoma County is to remember that these plots have always been yielding good wine. In other words, there was never any need to tear them out, and the fact that they’re still here 50, 70 or 100+ years later is that they’ve always given good grapes.

    For my part, I’d like to see more mention of the fact that older vineyards are special (an especially so in the irrigation happy lands of the new world) because the vines have had the necessary time–decades worth–to develop complex and extensive root systems, thereby pulling in a lot of micronutrients from the soil. Ah, the gout.

    Thanks for the water comments, too! I’m still shocked over the mention of 20 GBP priced bottled water at restaurants. Gadzooks!

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