Biodynamic or bonkers? – is the question for today. Or, to put it another way. Does wine taste better on some days than others?
Matthias Thun, the man behind a book and app called, ‘When Wine Tastes Best: A Biodynamic Calendar for Wine Drinkers’, certainly thinks so and he’s got some credible company. High street heavyweights, Tesco and Marks and Spencer, only present their wines to critics on days deemed favourable by Thun’s biodynamic calendar and many seemingly sensible wine lovers are extremely wary of opening prized bottles on ‘bad’ days.
Thun’s biodynamic calendar is based on 55 years of research by his late mother, Maria, at their family farm in central Germany. There, she put the beliefs of the biodynamic movement’s founder and guru, Rudolf Steiner, into practice and conceived her first sowing and planting calendar in 1962. The first ‘When Wine Tastes Best’ book was published in collaboration with her son in 2010, two years before her death.
Essentially, biodynamics is all to do with the moon. Believers feel that the movement of the moon influences all living things on earth, including the way things grow. And as wine in a bottle is a living organism which matures over time, it makes sense, they would argue, to state that wine responds to the rhythms of the moon in the same way as plants or trees.
Every month, the moon passes through 12 star constellations and, in the biodynamic calendar, these constellations are split into four different groups known as Root, Flower, Leaf and Fruit as follows:-
Virgo, Capricorn, Taurus – Root
Libra, Aquarius, Gemini – Flower
Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer – Leaf
Sagittarius, Aries, Leo – Fruit
Root and leaf are deemed to be bad for wine drinking and fruit and flower are considered to be good.
Now, having taken quite a while to explain the basics of biodynamics, it really is time to suggest a bit of fun in practical ‘research’ form. Why don’t you use the 7 day biodynamic drinking forecast that you’ll find at the bottom of this article, to drink the same wine at various different times during the next week to see for yourself if there’s any truth in the whole root, fruit, leaf and flower thing?
If you think your chosen wine tastes exactly the same each time you try it, you can justifiably write off biodynamics as totally bonkers. On the other hand, if you think your wine really leaps out of the glass on a fruit or flower day, it’s probably worth spending a couple of quid on the ‘When Wines Tastes Best’ app or book.
Incidentally, you can use any wine for the experiment but if you’re going to do it, you may as do it properly by trying a wine that’s been produced by a biodynamic producer. Weingut Sepp Moser is a biodynamic producer that’s located in the central Austrian region of Neusiedlersee and their entry level red wine, Sepp Zweigelt, was the first biodynamic wine I ever tried. The 2014 vintage of the wine has fruity and perfumed aromas with blackberries, white pepper and spice to the fore. On the palate, the wine has crunchy redcurrant and raspberry fruit with layers of spice, liquorice and herbs.
The Biodynamic Drinking Forecast for the next 7 days
Saturday June 18th – Bad (leaf)
Sunday June 19th – Bad (leaf)
Monday June 20th – Good (fruit) from 11am
Tuesday June 21st – Good (fruit)
Wednesday June 22nd – Good (fruit) until 7pm and then Bad (root)
Thursday June 23rd – Bad (root)
Friday June 24th – Bad (root) until 10pm and then Good (flower)