Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Experimenting on Chateau Haut Brion, 1989

I have always wanted to perform a subjective test on a well made wine to determine the effects of serving temperature on the wine. When I received a bottle of Haut Brion 1989, I decided to chill it in the refrigerator to bring the temperature down to 7C and quickly open to be served. My first taste of the wine was taken when temperature rose to 9C. The wine is quite “closed”, with minimum aroma and slightly pronounced tannins that is higher than expected for a 17 year old wine. The wine seems to be sharp and very structured. As temperature rises rather linearly (2C every 3 minutes in an air-conditioned room at 23C), the wine profile changes from a dormant mode to an active one. The wine now has a plum and cherry-like nose underlined by some smoky characters. Its tannins has softened over time, especially so when the wine rose to about 18C. The sweet character is more pronounced, giving body to the wine. In other words, the wine is more volatile as temperature rises. Exceeding 25C, the wine profile begins to fatten, losing the aroma and palate complexity. The body seems to overpower the palate which makes the wine less appealing. The acidity also begins to bite a little at the back of the throat with a little more rough edges than desired. It is therefore best served at 16-18C, keeping the volatile in check while giving an expressive nose to the drinker.

With this experiment, I may conclude that our taste buds perceive taste differently over a temperature range of 9C-25C. We can detect sweetness more readily when temperature warms up. Our tongue has a rather small tasting window as far as temperature is concerned. The 16-18C range seems to be an optimum window and serving beyond this window will do great injustice to a fine wine.

Copyright of Wine Treasures Pte Ltd

By Cher Lim
Wine Treasures Pte Ltd
Email: limce@singnet.com.sg



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Cher,
happento know your blog from my mom who went to the xin-nu-xin-de-hui.

Great to know that such a exciting field of gastronomy is still pursued!

What could be the source of your motivation?


Sun Mar 18, 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cher Lim said...

Dear Toon,

Sorry for the late reply!

I am into the research of wine science and have always wanted to make the pleasure of dining & drinking repeatable.

I guess your mom must be the lady who was seating next to me in the conference. Please say Hello to her on my half!

Best Wishes,

Sat Jun 02, 11:49:00 AM  

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