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The Essence of Wine: Bread


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

Science suggests that the smell of freshly baked bread calms us and stimulates the brain the same ways as music and art. But did we really need science to know this? Bread has always meant comfort, home, and basic sustenance for human beings, and few culinary pleasures rival the aromas, taste, and texture of a loaf right out of the oven (growing ranks of celiac notwithstanding). Oxygen, time, oak, and grape variety all contribute to the fact that some wines smell and taste of breadstuffs. Champagne in particular, especially with age, acquires notes of saltine crackers, toasted sourdough, fresh biscuits, or the perfect yeastiness of a crusty french loaf. Such flavors and aromas aren't restricted to Champagne, though its extended dalliance with yeasts in the bottle makes it one of the most prominent examples. Several white grapes can deliver the pleasure of a morning's bakery stop, or if mistreated, the unpleasant brewers yeast stink of autolysis gone wrong. But when a wine gets it right, it can be glorious as well as positively gulpable.

Kalin Cellars Semillon, Livermore Valley, California, USA
Shaw and Smith "M3" Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills South Australia
Michaud Chardonnay, Chalone, Monterey, California, USA
Domaine Roulot "Les Luchets" Blanc Meursault, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy
Man O' War "Valhalla" Chardonnay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Hyde de Villaine "Hyde Vineyard" Chardonnay. Carneros, Napa, California, USA
Taittinger Récolte Millesime, Champagne, France
Glen Carlou Chardonnay, Paarl, South Africa
Bellavista Franciacorta Extra Brut Vittorio Moretti, Lombardia, Italy
Pommery Grand Cru Champagne Blend Reims, Champagne, France
Petaluma Croser Brut Sparkling Wine, Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Mumm Napa "DVX" Sparkling Wine, Napa, California, USA
Krug Grande Cuvée, Champagne, France

This is part of an ongoing series of original images and prose called The Essence of Wine

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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.