Thursday, 23 April 2009

...Moon before wine, it'll taste fine

My dad drinks £1.50 plastic bottles of wine. He swears by it (you should hear the language). I think it tastes a little like watery Ribena and a little like hydrochloric acid - weak but potent. But the more I criticise, the more dad swears.

Recently, Dad stumbled upon a news article. "Wine," he told me, "tastes better under certain phases of the moon." I didn't believe him - suspicious as I was that he wasn't just trying to defend his cheap plonk. Tonight, I read the same article. It comes from Germany, from a great-grandmother called Maria Thun.

Frau Thun has, I assume, only sampled wine at certain times of the month. She's built a theory on this. The problem with the articles reporting this story is that they don't tell us which phase of the moon is best for wine consumption. So I asked Dad.

"All tastes the same to me, boy," he said.

"But a ten pound bottle tastes the same as this filth to you, Dad," I said, a little harshly.

On Frau Thun's "fruit" and "flower" days, when the moon is *doing something*, wine tastes nice. On "leaf" and "root" days, it doesn't taste so nice. I hope I haven't bamboozled you with the science. There's also a day called "unfavourable" in the lunar-Thun wine-tasting calendar. I'll let you guess how wine tastes that day.

I've seen the fact box for last week's good and bad wine days and there's something I can't work out.

Why would wine taste different on, say, a 10% full moon (waning) to an 8% full moon (waning)? The moon has barely moved in the big old scheme of things between these days, but wine is tasting much better, or so they say. I understand how the smallest alterations in nature can sometimes lead to the biggest changes, but how does that work with wine and moon?

In March, I had a few beers on the full moon before strolling around Battle in the freeze of an early-spring night. Those beers tasted delicious and I remember remarking to my friend that "these beers taste delicious". So I wonder whether the moon affects beer like it affects wine.

Actually, I don't. I think perhaps the beer tasted so nice because I'd spent the previous two hours driving. Similarly, I think wine tasters for Tesco and M&S who salute the piquance of a three-pound merlot on a fruit day do so because an old German lady has said it will taste sehr gut.

I once went wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley in California. I was horribly amateur and when asked to describe a, oh I don't know, a red one, I swished and swallowed and replied: "Mm, definitely oaky and a bit of a sweet taste of chocolate". The professionals, and my good Swiss friend Tom, looked at me like I'd murdered the Pope and smirked.

"Funny, to me it's the complete opposite. Coffee."

"I wouldn't know," I replied. "I don't like coffee."

I should've blamed the moon.

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