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Fruit or root? Decanter decides

Decanter’s tastings director Christelle Guibert is setting up a series of comprehensive tastings to investigate claims that wine’s taste is altered by fruit and root days.

According to When Wine Tastes Best by Maria Thun and her son Matthias, you should open your best bottles on fruit and flower days, not on leaf and root days.

It is one of the most controversial areas of biodynamics – but nonetheless some of the most influential people in the UK wine business take very seriously.

In the latest issue of Decanter magazine, Guibert explains how fruit and root, flower and leaf days are calculated according to complex considerations of lunar and solar cycles, constellations and the movement of the planets.

Such hard-headed organisastions as Marks & Spencer and Tesco consult the Thuns’ biodynamic calendar before scheduling their press tastings.

Jo Ahearne MW, M&S’s resident winemaker, told Decanter, ‘on fruit days, the aromatics in the whites are more present and the tannins in the reds are suppler; on a root day, the fruit flavour is muted and the tannins are harsher.’

For others, such as wine scientist and blogger Jamie Goode, the jury is out. There are so many other variables, he says, such as weather, atmospheric pressure, and ‘the general context of the tasting’ to take into account.

He won’t dismiss it, he says, but ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and I think the onus is on these believers to show some convincing evidence of its efficacy before the rest of us accept it as a useful tool’.

Guibert is going to set up a series of comprehensive tastings over the next few months.

She told decanter.com the plan is to taste 25 to 30 wines of all styles including biodynamic over six days, three of them fruit days and three of them root days.

‘For each root or fruit day tasting, we will do one in a room with no natural light; one on a grey or rainy day and one on a beautiful day. The tastings will take place in June, July and August.’

The same tasters will attend all sessions.

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Written by Adam Lechmere

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