Text Size:-+

Book Review: When Wine Tastes Best

Review by Tim Pattersonwwtb_cover.jpg

I am here to tell you about the only wine book you or I will ever need--at least until next year, when we'll all need the 2012 edition. Throw away all those critic's ratings and all those books about food and wine pairing; you won't even need to visit Vinography any more, except for the cool images.

When Wine Tastes Best: A Biodynamic Calendar for Wine Drinkers 2011 is what happens when the most far-fetched aspects of biodynamic agriculture get transplanted from vineyard to glass. It turns out, the introduction explains, that the same astral forces that affect the growth of plants--forces that favor, in turn, the roots, the leaves, the flowers and the fruit--still exercise their dominion over the finished wine you just opened. And how they operate depends on the relative positions of the sun and moon and constellations, where some combinations will bring out the root character, some the fruit, and so on. It doesn't matter what you drink; some days, it will all suck, some days, it will all suck down nicely.

Because the celestial Orrery is in constant motion, good and bad times come and go in a hurry. This small book, easy to carry around wherever you go, not only breaks things down by the day, but by the hour (all expressed, naturally, as Greenwich Mean Time). As I write this on September 30, it's all flowers all the time, a banner day, which makes me want to start drinking right now. The 29th was apparently all root power (no wonder that wine seemed kind of stemmy). The first 14 hours of the 28th were marked only with a series of dots, which the legend by the calendar ominously translates simply as "avoid." Fortunately I did just that, starting to imbibe only around hour 17.

Looking ahead, Thanksgiving this year is promisingly flowery, but only if you refrain from drinking until after noon. Christmas shapes up as a nonstop fruit bomb. And New Year's Eve? Sorry, folks; it's a 24-hour leaf day, and since I don't yet have the 2012 guide, I can't promise anything about the early hours of January 1st.

The introduction claims that various prestigious British wine shops schedule their tastings only for certain days. Aren't the Brits the same people who drink beer warm?

buy-from-tan.gif Maria and Matthias Thun, When Wine Tastes Best, A Biodynamic Calendar for Wine Drinkers 2011, Floris Books 2010, $8.00 paperback.

Tim Patterson writes for several wine magazines, blogs at Blind Muscat's Cellarbook, co-edits the Vinography book review section, and is the author of Home Winemaking for Dummies.

Comments (4)

10.04.11 at 8:36 PM

I'm intrigued to buy this book; this appears to be to a most elaborate hoax and hilarious parody of wine dogma. It -is- a parody, right?

11.13.11 at 4:50 PM

@Douglas - in some way this book is really funny:) I bought it too, just to get know this "religion" better. It's an example of radical approach, extended from winemaking to wine drinking...
@Tim - you forgot to add that there is also an iPhone app which updates everyday interested victim is it good or bad time for wine drinking. Sometimes I warn my readers whether should they drink or not wine on particular day.

Damien wrote:
11.26.11 at 11:05 AM

Missing one critical point here; the Thun's calendar is based on astrology (that used for star signs etc) and the stars impact pointing towards earth. Polar opposite to Steiner's biodynamic approach and why this calendar won't help you with wine tasting. I mean, you're enjoying a sip of wine at 20.00 on a flower day, then 21.00 comes and it's a root day and it tastes dreadful? Come on!

11.07.14 at 4:02 PM

It's very effortless to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found
this paragraph at this site.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

The Dark Queen of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Domaine du Pégau Does California Have Too Many AVAs? Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 26, 2014 Vinography Images: Shades of Autumn 16th Annual Pinot Fest: November 22, 2014 Hang out with the World's Top Wine Writers. For Free. Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 19, 2014 Vinography Images: Divine Droplets Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets US 2014 Vintage - Early, Fast, Eventful

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.