Drinker's Digest, Wine Words
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Drinker’s Digest II. Weekly flux: space-wine, mimicry and ships

You can’t step into the same river twice they say. Most experience is like that. You can’t taste the same wine twice. Circumstances change: wines get older, palates soften.

Here we stick WineQuant’s wine-word taster into some promising parts of the world-wide-web of wine and take two snapshots in time.

So what can happen in a week?

In the first picture, which is from last week, a set of Decanter articles on China features prominently as a cluster of points at the top right hand corner:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir vines were launched as cargo on the Tiangong-2 Rocket in September 2016. Space-wine enthusiasts hope that the stressful conditions will trigger mutations that will make the vines hardier, better able to cope with the weather in places like Ningxia.

Farthest away in space from the articles on China and at the top left of last week’s map, we pick out a cluster centered on the changing fortunes of winery investor Charles Banks.

A bit of history: Banks became known to the wine world when he bought a stake in Napa Valley’s famous Screaming Eagle in 2006. He sold his stake in 2009 and founded Terroir Capital, a winery-focused investment company. He invested in two more California wineries: Sonoma’s Wind Gap and Santa Barbara’s Qupé. According to Decanter, he also has a personal stake in the historic Mayacamas vineyards.

The most recent news concerns his sentencing: four years in prison for defrauding former NBA star Tim Duncan. But the cluster has also picked up articles from 2013, detailing Banks’ purchases of Wind Gap and Mayacamas.

Browsing my way into the article chart I was intrigued by a node titled “3 Cocktails you just may mistake for wine” next to an article explaining what tasting notes are all about and a primer on wine.

The “This is not a Pinot Noir” cocktail uses Rhum agricole to mimic the “funkiness” and Pu’er tea to mimic the “forest floor” aromas of the real thing. I would not have found this splendid article without the overview.

Wine websites don’t necessarily replace their articles week on week. It’s just that the focus changes as new content moves in: the balance of flavours shifts.

In the second picture, which is yesterday’s, the rim is made up entirely of Decanter wine reviews. China and Charles Bank have been integrated back into the core.

On the far left: “Pio Cesare, Barbaresco, 2013” and “Giovanni Rosso, Barolo, La Serra, 2010” and on the right: “Kracher Welschriesling tba no. 8, 2001: full gold-bronze and very long.”

On the very top, a rarity: “Bouchard Père & Fils, Corton, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Burgundy, 1955: astonishingly, and thrillingly, still alive… straw, herbs and ceps… lanolin texture.” Then we move down to “Kurtatsch Cortaccia, Hofstatt Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige 2014,” “quite fresh” and “very spicy and mineral, saline even” through to “Deviation Road, Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills 2012” (hints of fruit cordial, but really classy and refined) while at the bottom we have “Beronia Verdejo, Rueda 2016” and Domaine Georges Descombes, Morgon, 2015,” a “pastoral wine, fleshy” with “textured black cherry and aromatic turned earth flow.”

There’s no good reason behind the relative placements. Imagining a pattern here is fun but fruitless.

Two more articles caught my eye as I tasted my way into the core of the round-up. Researchers at Lockheed Martin have found the perfect bottle of sparkling wine to smash ships with: Barefoot Moscato.

For whatever reason, the Barefoot bottle breaks in all climates from 10° below to 100° F and always produces a consistent splash for photography/videography.”

Apart from braking most consistently, bottles of sparkling Barefoot are currently on offer at Tesco for £5.75. It’s hard to find good stories at such good value.

I was also delighted to spot the follow-on article offering more detail on how to put together wine-mimicking cocktails.


  • 1½ ounces Plymouth Gin
  • ½ ounce Aylesbury Duck Vodka
  • ¼ ounce Yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 teaspoon G.E. Massenez Pear Williams Eau-de-Vie
  • 1 teaspoon Giffard Pêche de Vigne
  • 1 ounce verjus blanc (available from online retailers)

Directions: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into a wine glass. (To make a larger batch, add 1 ounce filtered water per serving, and refrigerate without stirring.)

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