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Archive for the ‘Organic’ Category

Denis Malbec’s Thoughts on an Organic Wine Experience ~ An Educated and Trusted Palate

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Denis Malbec of Notre Vin:

I would like to share with you one of the highlights of our Christmas dinner [2011]. From Bernhard Ott, the best Grüner Veltliner I ever had in my life… An organic wine! — with May-Britt Malbec.

A bit about Denis Malbec

For Denis, being born at Latour allowed him to daily walk in between the barrels and bike through the vineyards. This was his neighborhood. As a result, he inherently learned vineyard and winery management with his father, Jean-Noel Malbec. Jean-Noel was also born at Latour, and worked there for 47 years. His tenure was from 1947 to 1994. Jean-Noel was cellar master from 1969 to 1994.

Winemaker Denis Malbec of Malbec & Malbec

Winemaker Denis Malbec of Malbec & Malbec

Denis’s grand father, Camille Malbec, worked in the vineyard from the 1920s until the end of the 1970s. Denis spent his childhood in the gardens of Latour with his grandfather. It is his grandfather  whom Denis credits as being the influential person that connected him to the earth’s bounty. He also developed a profound joi de vivre for nature at Latour, where he daily enjoyed the gardens, vineyards, and explored the majesty of the Gironde River, which is only 328 yards from vineyards to the riverbank. As a child, Denis was closely connected to nature: birds, fish, animals, dogs, and the air.

Leaving home to find his destiny, Denis first studied viticulture and enology in Bordeaux and later in Reims, Champagne. He completed his studies with a “Tour de France” of the vineyards through internships:

  • Château Haut-Brion – 1988
  • Château Lagrange – 1988
  • Pugnac Cooperative – 1989
  • Côte de Bourg, Léon Viollant – 1990
  • Owner and wine merchant in Côte de Beaune, Duval Leroy – 1990 & 1991
  • Côte des Blancs in Champagne
  • Calvet – 1992, negoçiant in Bordeaux
  • Started at Château Latour as one of the cellar workers in 1993
  • Took the position as Enologist and Cellar Master at Château Latour in 1994, making the vintages from 1994 to 1999

Roulé Rouge is delighted to be making an organic wine. We know how delicious organic foods are, including wine. Voulez vous  Roulé Rouge?

Do Organic Fruits, Vegetables, and Wines Taste Better?

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

It May Depend on The Palate.
If you grow organic fruits and vegetables, your palate probably tells you, “Yes.”

Critics, however, do challenge the ability of fruits and vegetables to have better flavors. Some will even suggest that it’s “grown locally” that has better flavors, versus the vegetables and fruits having better flavors than those grown with less care.

Some of us have very sensitive palates. They’re actually referred to in the wine business as “supertasters.” There is a physical difference for these palates, in that the supertasters actually have a greater amount of taste buds. This might begin to explain why some among us will argue in favor of organic, at every turn. What we pick up that others don’t, will help all of mankind. Super palates have this ability, and are here to serve those who don’t have this palate with so many taste buds. We taste what others cannot, including chemicals.

Organic Fruits

To help you better understand Roulé Rouge’s commitment to organic practices, you have to imagine the following:

Imagine a teaspoon of water; now add trace elements of a chemical pesticide, an herbicide, fungicide, and a chemical fertilizer. Is that water going to taste the same as fresh spring water?

Now imagine a vine, getting all sorts of chemical treatments. The flavors of these “cides*” are what also goes into that living plant, which will bear wine grapes, never mind what it’s also going to be doing to the environment.  Can these grapes possibly taste as good as ones that are all natural? [*cide ~ a learned borrowing from Latin meaning “killer,” “act of killing,” used in the formation of compound words: pesticide, homicide, according to dictionary.com.]

Do you love the flavors that come from your tap these days, or are you filtering your water? And if you’re filtering it, why are you doing that? Perhaps for the same reason that supertasters will tell you that organic wine tastes better?

SUPERTASTER: A Matter of Taste: The Super Palate, By Rebecca A. Cooper on the The Harvard Crimson Website:

“Supertasters” are those who experience heightened sensations from food and beverages. They are extra sensitive to bitter tastes, textures, carbonation, and spice; tend to avoid foods such as spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strong coffee; and often abstain from bitter beers and bold wines. They often refrain from eating rich and fatty foods because they dislike the sensation that slick, creamy foods leave in the mouth. They find the bubbles in carbonated drinks especially irritating.

The term “supertaster” was coined in the early 1990s by Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, a Yale University professor who specializes in genetic variation in taste perception. The supertasters, she believed, had an anatomical and biological basis for their elevated taste response. Scientists have long known that different areas on the tongue map to different taste sensations. Bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and savory (umami) all have their place on the tongue, and some researchers are now arguing that calcium-sensitive sites merit their place, as well. It makes sense, then, that having more tastebuds corresponds to a greater gustatory response in supertasters.

From the Organic Center:

The more intense flavors in organic fruits and vegetables probably stem from two factors: somewhat higher average levels of antioxidants, and somewhat lower average crop yields…

Organic produce tends to store better and has longer shelf life, probably because of lower levels of nitrates and higher average levels of antioxidants. The former can accelerate food spoilage, while antioxidants help preserve

the integrity of cells and some are natural antibiotics.

Super taster test:

Supertasters experience taste with far greater intensity than the average person. About 25 percent of Americans are supertasters, a group with an unusually high number of taste buds. If you love food more than most, you may have inherited supertaster genes.

Do You Hate Vegetables?

Evidence suggests that supertasters are more sensitive to bitter tastes and fattiness in food, and often show lower acceptance of foods that are high in these taste qualities. Supertasters tend to dislike strong, bitter foods like raw broccoli, grapefruit juice, coffee and dark chocolate.

Love salt? You might be a ‘supertaster’

(Health.com) — If you love salty snacks and reach for the saltshaker like clockwork at every meal, you might think you have dull or underpowered taste buds that need a boost to get excited.

In fact, just the opposite may be true: A new study suggests that you may love salt because you’re a “supertaster” — a person who experiences tastes such as saltiness and bitterness more intensely than other people do.

“We’ve known for a long time that people don’t all live in the same taste world,” says the study’s lead author, John Hayes, Ph.D., an assistant professor of food science at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, in University Park.

“There are supertasters and non-tasters,” Hayes adds. “Supertasters live in a neon taste world — everything is bright and vibrant. For non-tasters, everything is pastel. Nothing is ever really intense.

So, what do you think? Could we actually find organic foods ~ and wine is a liquid food, don’t forget ~ to be more delicious?

Related articles

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A Primer: Understanding the Differences Between Organic, Biodynamic, and Sustainable Wine Grapes and Wines

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The governing body for establishing “organic” is the USDA and in California by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

Here are the differences.

  1. Farming
    • Organic: This is the most basic form of being healthy in a vineyard. This method eludes the synthetic use of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Organic viticulturist are dedicated to preserving our delicate ecosystem. They consider themselves stewards of the land. Instead of chemical fertilizers, they use cover crops and composted animal manure or algae; instead of chemical insecticides, they use lady bugs, spiders, hawks, and owls. (You’ll note those larger bird boxes in the vineyards.) Bats are also not discouraged from having homes nearby. Organic farmers also plant plants that attract beneficial bugs, that act as predators (ladybugs, for instance). While the organic farmer would rather not use a fungicide, they’re permitted to – these days – under the certification program currently in place. Organic farmers will only use them as a last resort, though.
    • Biodynamic: This is farming with a good dose of spirituality thrown in for good measure. For those who do farm biodynamically but need to fight fungus, they have to get fungicides from the Josephine Porter Institute of Virginia.
    • Sustainable: These wine grape growers are like the organic and biodynamic farmers, with the only difference being that they don’t have any agencies looking over their shoulders. They farm with a “stewards of the land” attitude, but will use whatever they may need, if nature brings some unforeseen emergency. They prefer animals for maintaining balance, for instance, that eat cover crops. The benefits are the following:
      • No machines are used in the vineyards, with exhaust peppering the grapes; and no dust is created, also peppering the grapes.
      • They leave behind nitrogenous waste as they go along.
      • It’s visually a gas…
  2. Winemaking
    • Wines made from organically grown grapes can be advertised as such.
    • Cellar methods, as regards sulfites:
      • 100 percent Organic = no added sulfites… period
      • Organic ~ 95 percent organic ingredients ~ No added sulfites, but naturally occurring sulfites can be measured up to 100 parts/million.
      • Organic ingredients ~ 70 percent organic ~ Sulfites have to measure below 100parts/million.
      • Some Organic ingredients ~ Below 70 percent organic ingredients, with no info on the label about any certifying agencies.

Roulé Rouge

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Roule RougeMarko so loved the fruit of his vine.  But rolled from bed foggy all the time. So in his vineyards he paced.  His Reds would no longer be laced with sulfites or other grime. So he went to work to fix it and in a barrel did he mix it.  A table red refined! Organically inclined! A taste sublime and quietly changing over time. Roule Rouge! A perfect table red, smooth on the palate and easy on the noggin! Organic with no sulfites added!