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Thread: Lyrebird Cycles

  1. #281
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different

    Very interesting. Good luck with the venture, Mark. FWIW, I think it's the right approach to start with the wine bars.

    Tell me more about natural wine, or the non-existence of it. I understand the notion of low intervention but must confess that I haven't been able to put my head around natural wine completely. The term seems to be a self-contradiction as a start.

    I recently lunched at a one-man resto in Foggia whose proprietor, despite Foggia not being a wine making region, makes his own red wine and liqueur. The wine was slightly cloudy and had particles floating around, so I'm guessing it is 'natural' or at least 'low intervention'.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different

    Quote Originally Posted by Chik View Post

    Tell me more about natural wine, or the non-existence of it. I understand the notion of low intervention but must confess that I haven't been able to put my head around natural wine completely.
    Thanks for the well wishes, Chik.

    Re "natural" wine: a vineyard is a monoculture of an exotic species, the produce of which is manipulated by humans for cultural ends. If that's natural, so is heroin.

    I do use the term minimal intervention. To me, that means only intervening when needed but not doing anything that masks or "corrects" what's there from the vineyard.

    I have two rules for winemaking:

    Rule 1: start with good fruit.

    Rule 2: don't fuck it up.

    FWIW in one of my other jobs I make wine for a more traditionally focused winery and there are a bunch of things I do there that are aimed at making the wine in a more "polished" style because that is what the owner wants*. We consistently get 95+ point scores from critics and the wines are noted as being examplars of their region and varieties so it's not like the extra intervention completely masks what's already there.




    * There's an interesting aside here about social class, which is the elephant in the room when discussing wine. So much of the wankery surrounding wine comes down to the fact that wine was very much a class marker: for centuries England dominated the wine trade and the great merchants targeted the upper class, for logical reasons.

    It even got enshrined in French wine law: the wineries (not the vineyards) of Bordeaux were divided in to the Grands Crus, the crus bourgeois, the crus artisans and the crus paysans. To each according to his means. It's no coincidence that two of the five "Premier Grands Crus Classes" are owned by arms of the Rothschild family: nothing gave social cachet like owning one of these estates.
    Mark Kelly

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    So much of the wankery surrounding wine comes down to the fact that wine was very much a class marker.
    They tend to be tedious bores, that lot. And there's a new breed that goes on about natural wines...
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different

    I published a gastronomic guide to Kyoto this week, and in it, I mention a saké brewer whose 11th generation, in the 1950s, decided to develop a purer form of saké that doesn't cause a hangover. That excludes the use of sugar and brewing alcohol, making the process take a lot longer. I don't think they would imagine characterising their products as being natural.

    Funnily enough, 3 days after launch, my guide is ranked #4 in Dining Travel Reference and #8 in Japanese Travel over at Amazon Australia. Over at Amazon US, it's #1 New Release in Culinary Travel. Not a lot of competition these days, I take it.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: Lyrebird Cycles

    Congratulations, Chik, that's really cool.

    Re the sake and hangovers, has that got something to do with the degree of polish of the rice?

    Hangovers are of some interest to me: I cause them but I don't get them. This has something to do with relative activity of alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Recent research has indicated that the latter is implicated in "red wine headache" (which I do get occasionally). It seems that quercetin, formed in grape skins in sunny conditions, inhibits one of the acetaldehyde dehydrogenases.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-46203-y
    Mark Kelly

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    Default Re: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    Congratulations, Chik, that's really cool.

    Re the sake and hangovers, has that got something to do with the degree of polish of the rice?

    Hangovers are of some interest to me: I cause them but I don't get them. This has something to do with relative activity of alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Recent research has indicated that the latter is implicated in "red wine headache" (which I do get occasionally). It seems that quercetin, formed in grape skins in sunny conditions, inhibits one of the acetaldehyde dehydrogenases.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-46203-y
    Thanks, Mark.

    Interesting question re: saké. You might be right about the polishing of rice. I understand that the degree of the rice polishing dictates the flavour and therefore the quality of the product, and therefore the classification levels for pure saké, but I don't know about the effect on hangovers. They source their rice from Okayama, directly from the farmers, and pride themselves in using some of the highest quality rice used for brewing.

    During WW2, the rice shortage led the government to loosen the regulatory regime for saké production so that the brewers can survive. The regulatory change allowed the use of glucose and brewing alcohol (you prolly know what that contains although I have no idea) in order to produce saké more cheaply, compensating for the increase in the cost of rice. 90% of the saké are still produced this way today, but my understanding is that the 11th generation's working theory was that the return to traditional techniques, without the addition of glucose and brewing alcohol, was the key to making a product that does not cause a hangover.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Chik View Post
    During WW2, the rice shortage led the government to loosen the regulatory regime for saké production so that the brewers can survive. The regulatory change allowed the use of glucose and brewing alcohol (you prolly know what that contains although I have no idea) in order to produce saké more cheaply, compensating for the increase in the cost of rice.
    As I understand it jozo alcohol can be any spirit from any agricultural source but most makers use corn ethanol or Brazilian cachaca (sugar cane ethanol) then re-distil it.
    Mark Kelly

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    I have two rules for winemaking:

    Rule 1: start with good fruit.

    Rule 2: don't fuck it up.
    That's the hardest thing to do. No gimmicks, nothing to hide. Bloody difficult.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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