Talking Wine – November 2017

Scientists have developed a grape-free wine made by cloning hundreds of chemical compounds. Their current project is recreating a Pinot Noir which is made from a combination of ethanol, water, sugar, amino acids and a host of chemical compounds that give taste, body and aroma. This all sounds a bit far-fetched and not hugely romantic, but if I could drink a bottle of La Tâche from Romanée Conti and tell them to reproduce the taste at a fraction of the price then I could get quite excited.

Craft beer is currently very trendy, but many customers do not realize that what might look like a small craft beer is in fact owned by one of the large brewers. In many cases smaller genuine craft brewers are being snapped up by the big boys yet leaving the impression that they are small, boutique, and independently owned. I can give you some examples. Carlsberg owns London Fields, ABInBev owns Camden Town Brewery, Asahi owns the Meantime Brewery and Sapporo owns Anchor Brewing. The labels will almost certainly have no reference to the big company, thus persuading the consumer that they are drinking a genuine craft ale made with love and exotic hops to a special recipe. In fact, they could be drinking Carlsberg so do your homework if you want to support all those wonderful real passionate brewers who are doing so much to enhance the market place.

It is very sad to hear that about 12 wineries in the Napa and Sonoma valley in California have been destroyed by fire. A number of well known wineries including Stag’s Leap were affected, but in many cases the grapes had at least been picked. The resultant fermenting wine may well have been affected by smoke taint however, depending where the wineries were situated. Vineyards have certainly been destroyed as well as some wineries but the information is very sparse at the time of writing. This only adds to what has been a difficult year in the wine business following the disastrous late frosts in Northern Europe that will force up prices in the New Year.