Vol. 1 No. 17…potpourri de vino

“Isn’t it funny, how time slips away?” …anyone else recall that song?

It has been a month since the last post which means ole TB is two weeks late. Kind of lazy as have been taking meds for a throat condition…and get this: looking forward (not) to a throatectomy on the 22nd – at 70! Okay, a tonsillectomy, but the result is the same: pain! (Horrible syntax in that elongated sentence, but so what?

Anyway have been reading a lot but not tasting much wine other than a Basque Txocolina (pronounced Chock-o-li) on the 4th.

So here are some of the items you might have missed:

*Temperatures in the Willamette Valley have been as high as 99 degrees! Columbia River area of Washington too. This is especially bad news, not for this year but future years if they don’t get a big El Nino next year (one is predicted but this years was a weak one thus not helping the drought. Also some unseasonal rains and even snow in Northern California. This could be more problematic than helpful. Repeat after me: there is NO climate change!

*Some years ago TB heard of a recovery of a cargo of champagne from a sunken ship in the Baltic Sea off Finland (2010). Then nothing more. One had to wonder if it was still good after being at the bottom of the ocean. An article in the Los Angeles Times did a follow up. There were 168 bottles of champagne, and it was originally assumed it was headed for Russia aboard, and the wine (which had lost its labels of course) was probably over 100 years old. Oddly enough they tasted it and it was still good. A caveat here: they liked it sweeter then – much sweeteer. This is where it gets interesting: they were able to do extensive chemical analysis on the wine which had been resting at about 38 degrees Fahrenheit. It showed high sugar levels of 150 grams per liter v. about 6-8 grams today (told you they liked it sweet…likewise, German white wines were made very sweet and then somewhere in the 20th century made bone dry and often served with a bowl of sugar to sweeten to taste.

They had also noted that the corks were intact and the engraving still showed: Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin, Heidseck, and Juglar, which the article stated later became Jacquesson. Russia was ruled out as the destination since it turned out they like it even sweeter (Veuve made a Champagne a la Russe that had sugar levels of 300 grams per liter!). The author pointed out that a 12-ounce can of Coke contains ‘just’ 38 grams of sugar.Note that is in Europe and Mexico. Americans are deemed not to be able to discern the difference between sugar and corn syrup so we get the inferior brew.

Philippe Jeandet, a prof at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, was part of the team of scientists who published the results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, was given a miniscule sample on his hand, and declared it very similar to champagne made today. He stated the the taste lingered with him for hours afterwards. Hmmm.

Champagne is a wine region very dear to TB, having stayed in Fare-en-Tardenois (Hostellerie du Chateau – excellent and a Relais and Chateaux, where he was given a letter of introduction to Mumm’s and provided a private tasting room – at the time we bought Dom Perignon at the chateau for $30 a bottle! Time does slip away…

*Ever considered becoming a Master of Wine? TB did, then dismissed it…expensive and a lot of work, but IF you are thinking about it you can go to http://www.jancisrobinson.com and get the questions from this years exam. If that doesn’t derail your interest…go for it! Me? I prefer to drink it.

A votre sante

Trader Bill

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