Anyone saving those extra-special bottles for Christmas and the New Year might want to consult a new biodynamic tasting calendar – and hold off on the corkscrew.
According to a new book, When Wine Tastes Best, by biodynamic gurus Maria and Matthias Thun, optimum times for enjoying wines over the festive season are after 27 December, either before 3pm on New Year’s Eve, or after midnight.
More importantly for some, Valentine’s Day on 14 February is a Flower Day from 5am onwards.
Using more than 55 years’ research, Maria Thun has based her calendar on every aspect of the lunar cycle, solar cycles, star constellations and the movement of the planets.
The calendar pinpoints Root Days, Flower Days, Leaf Days and Fruit Days: the days which, according to lunar cycles, are most auspicious for development of those parts of the plant.
Conscientious biodynamic gardeners and farmers sow and plant according to this calendar – and it is accepted that Flower Days and Fruit Days are the best days for tasting wine – a theory endorsed by wine professionals.
Hilary Wright points out in the book’s foreword that UK supermarkets Tesco and Marks & Spencer use the calendar to help decide the timings of their wine tastings.
Jo Ahearne of M&S has said she was ‘completely blown away’ by the results of tastings carried out on root and flower days.
She told decanter.com that over a period of several years the tasting team found noticeable and consistent differences between the same wines tasted on different days.
‘We would taste 140 wines on one day and find no faults, then 40% of the same wines, tasted the next day, would be slightly duller.’
Consulting the biodynamic calendar, the team ascertained the ‘off’ days were root days. ‘I was cynical about it,’ Ahearne said. ‘But now I’m convinced.’
Marks & Spencer’s trade tasting of its wine portfolio takes place on 1 October, a flower day.
When Wine Tastes Best, by Maria and Matthias Thun, is published at £3.99 by Floris Books on 24 September. www.florisbooks.co.uk.
New video: How to store wine, with Steven Spurrier
Written by Richard Woodard