Saturday, October 19, 2019

Biodynamics in Wine Drinking

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Posted by Burke Morton On April - 22 - 2010

I just had a weird internal exchange with my bizarro-self about biodynamics. For those of you familiar with biodynamics, this is not, in and of itself, all that weird, because biodynamics is already so full of silly sounding mysticism and hocus pocus that an internal debate on it is barely worth mentioning in comparison. Besides, it's Earth Day...maybe I'm in a particularly close union with the biorhythms that surround me! So the weird thing is that I find my opinions shifting. Or, more accurately, my bizarro-self is gaining influence.

Yikes. Now I can never run for President.

What's Your Sign?
I have been a skeptic of the minutiae of biodynamics for many years, but it is certainly possible to taste the evidence of its worth in the great wines that are the offspring of this method of cultivation. If you don't know much or have never heard about biodynamics, it is a farming approach developed by Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher, educator (he's the mind behind Waldorf education), and now that I've just looked him up on the well-intentioned but highly flawed Wikipedia, an esotericist, which would be about right. Biodynamics goes FAR beyond mere organic farming, as it puts a farmer not only into communion with his earth (and the Earth), but also with astrological events. I wish I could say that it was just astronomic influences, especially lunar, but NOOOOOOOOO, it had to include the influences of planets (some of which must always be in retrograde). I can buy into some elements of biodynamics, like the effects of the Moon's gravitational exertions on Earth, especially upon liquids (witness the Spring and Neap Tides), but I'm still having a hard time with it's effects on planting. You should plant your flowers on a Flower day, your potatoes on a Root day, tomatoes on a Fruit day, and trees on a Leaf day.

And how are these days determined, you ask? They are determined by the constellation of the Zodiac through which the Moon is passing at that particular time. Each of the 12 constellations is associated with one of the earth elements (earth, air, fire, water) for some reason (astrology buffs will probably know why, so please help me out). So...when the moon is in the seventh's a Flower day, because Aquarius is associated with air which carries the flower's scent. There are also some days on which you don't want to be doing anything farming wise, or even, apparently, drinking wine, which brings me back to the original direction.

Drinking Biorhythms?
Within biodynamics, there are also days on which wine tastes better than others. Given the opportunity to think about it, you might guess that Fruit and Flower days are the best. Many tasters have noted the day-to-day differences--bottle variation--in some more tensile wines like Pinot Noir and Riesling, and some have used the biodynamic calendar to explain it. I'm not so sure.

Or wasn't.

A few years ago, I started keeping a record of days when I just didn't think wine tasted very good to see if I could discern a pattern. Some of the days were obvious (when I had a cold or some other malady), but others were as random as they could have been. So last week I got hold of the past four years biodynamic calendars, and found that, except for one (1), all of the days (32 total over the past four years) on which I didn't like wine were root or leaf days, or worse (yes, there actually is a "worse"--this is where the other planets come in).

Now What?
I don't give this too much credence, but I'll file it away as non-conclusive evidence. For now, my biodynamic interaction will be limited to drinking some of the great wines. AND, I'll just drink them whenever, and not only on Fruit or Flower days. However, from 8pm tonight until 5pm tomorrow afternoon it's a fruit day, so if you don't want to take your chances, you only have to wait three hours until you can drink some wine! And you'll want to get on that, too, because it's not safe to drink wine again until 8am Sunday morning!!!!

Meanwhile, I'll be drinking a 1993 Bordeaux on Saturday night.

Unless it doesn't taste good, then I'll have to go with a nice bottle of sparkling water.

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