In Vino Veritas
October 24, 2019
"In wine lies the truth," although not in exactly in the way that the ancient Romans meant it. If birds and insects are "sentinel" species for climate change*, than a grape vine is the canary in the coal mine of the plant world. The telling details are documented by the wine critic of the New York Times in a recent article that every wine-lover should read.
Because of warming temperatures and changing weather patterns, winemakers are now cultivating grapes in places once considered inhospitable to the production of fine wine, such as "champagne" in England and Riesling in Norway. Similarly, vintners in Portugal and Australia are relocating vineyards to higher altitudes and more northerly facing slopes in order to cut down on the excessive heat that makes wine dull and flabby, with little character.
But what about the fate of the grande cuvées and eminent châteaux of France? Ironically, climate change can have a beneficial effect on winemaking, at least in the short term. Despite devastating hailstorms and late frosts in Burgundy, vignerons in France are generally enjoying an unprecedented run of excellent vintages because they are no longer faced with the threat of cool weather that prevents grapes from fully ripening.
Nonetheless, in hidebound Bordeaux, winemakers are experimenting with grapes not currently permitted by law in the appellation, in anticipation of a time when cabernet sauvignon and merlot may not be the best grapes to produce the structured and cellar-worthy wines that made the region famous. But even if they succeed, will these nouveaux vins have the same bouquet and body or age as long?
So if you can't find enough bandwidth to worry about Atlantis-like inundations or Cuisinart tornadoes or any of the other weird-weather disasters coming our way, at least think of a dreary world of fine dining without fine wine**. Climate change preppers might want to stash a few bottle of their favorite vin extraordinaire in their cellar. And do it before the twenty-five percent tariff on imported European wines imposed by the connoisseur of cheeseburgers and First Teetotaler in the White House is felt at the retail level, probably by the start of the New Year!
*See last week's post **More than likely sans meat, as well!