Wednesday, March 26, 2014


In simple terms, biodynamics in the vineyard refers to soil treatment and reflecting certain cosmic influences in viticultural practices. I certainly noticed increased freshness and vibrancy in wines where more organic practices were applied, such as Cullen or Clonakilla, but I have been a sceptic in relation to the impact of moon cycles etc. The argument of the impact of the moon on tides does not really wash with me (pun intended), as this happens every day. And are the hight differences between days really that significant.

But then I came across something amazing in the highlands of Peru a couple of weeks ago. I walked along some fields, and a farmer told me about the planting of some crop, which would be planted at a certain time during the moon calendar. If he would plant at the wrong time, the plant would grow 50% higher, but put all energy into growth and leaves. There would be a lot less seeds. WOW! Makes you think, doesn't it? Unfortunately, I did not ask which plant it was, or in which cycle this would occur. It came so unexpected.

Any thoughts or comments?

Monday, March 24, 2014


I am sorry for the long break. I am travelling in South- and Central America and just did not feel like blogging. I spent time in Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina, and must say that the top wines, most of them Malbec, are very impressive.

The most exciting company is Achaval-Ferrer. The company is only 13 years old, but the vines in their vineyards average about 100 years. Achaval-Ferrer was formed by three friends, but sold to Russian interests four years ago. So far their involvement has been minimal, but it looks like this could change now.

Achaval-Ferrer picks its grapes quite early and fashions three very distinctive single vineyard Malbecs.

The 2011 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec comes from a vineyard at 700m altitude (this is low over there), and the soil is predominantly clay. This Malbec is full- bodied, with meaty and smoky overtones. The climate of this vineyard is hot, and the flavours are quite ripe, with firm tannins. This is a wine that would appeal to drinkers of California Cabernets and South Australian Shiraz (94 points).

The 2011 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Bella Vista Malbec is grown on limestone soil at 1000m altitude. This is a very different wine: sensuous, soft and velvety. What a contrast! This is simply a delicious world-class wine (95 points).

The 2011 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Altamira Malbec is the most exciting to me. It comes from the Altamira region of the Uco Valley. The vines grow at 1300 metres. The grapes defend themselves against the UV intensity with thick skins, thereby increasing the pulp-to-juice ratio. This gives the wine extra intensity. However, as the grapes are picked relatively early, this does not come at the expense of freshness and vitality. I tasted figs and chocolate apart from the cherry dominated fruit flavours. This is a complex wine, which will further improve with ageing (95 points).

Check out these wines or the Quimera, which is an excellent blend.