Author: deborahparkerwong

The Multitasking Tongue

Although we understand the physiology of the olfactory epithelium, the organ where volatile aroma compounds are converted in to the electrochemical signals that we perceive as aromas, smell or olfaction is still largely a mystery. For example, we have 400 types of olfactory receptors but we don’t know which volatile aroma compounds activate the majority of them.

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Orchestrating the microbiome of a whiskey

Ask Jack Daniel’s enthusiasts what they like most about their preferred whiskey and the term “consistency” comes up time and time again. According to Kevin Smith, a microbiologist who serves as the Distillery Manager of Reliability & Technical Services for the brand, “The character and consistency of our spirits are the result of several different factors, and that is what defines our terroir.” The concept of terroir expression in distilled spirits didn’t gain prominence until fairly recently, a shift driven both by research and best practices that determine desired flavors and character. While grain sourcing is proving to be a factor of this expression for single malts, the use of multiple grains – as seen in the Jack Daniel’s grain bill of 80% corn, 12% barley , and 8% rye – makes the influence of any one component more difficult to detect. “At Jack Daniel’s, we find that sourcing the highest-quality grains is far more important than the location in which the grains are grown,” Smith says. A grain bill is destined for conversion and …

Kindred Spirits

When winegrowers in Burgundy found kindred spirits among the winegrowers of Central Otago the resulting collaboration now in its twelfth year has everyone who loves Pinot Noir cheering.

Central Otago 4.0 Insights from the 14th annual Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration

The three-day 2019 Pinot Noir Celebration held in Queenstown, Central Otago delivered on Chairman Paul Pujol’s welcome promise of examining the region, its producers and their wines with a perspective as fresh as a stiff breeze off Queenstown Bay.

Rare Back-to-Back Vintage Declaration for Port

The flight of 16 vintage ports produced by the Symington Family Estates, The Fladgate Partnership and Quinta do Noval were presented to the trade during the tasting hosted on May 9th at the Nikko Hotel.

Alto Adige’s mountains of earthly delight

Vineyards and apple orchards lie under the soaring peaks that surround Bolzano, the bustling center of Alto Adige, a pristine and autonomous region in northeastern Italy. Less than a two-hour drive from Innsbruck over the dizzying Brenner Pass, Bolzano is a study in contrasts; a place where Austrian and Italian cultures merge and Old and New World lifestyles converge.

Spring vegetables present unique wine-pairing challenges

It seems a Ph.D. in organic chemistry is necessary to fully understand the
issue, but wine science educator Deborah Parker Wong can provide some insight into what happens when certain vegetables meet the palate.

The Simple Pleasures of Italy’s Native Grapes

San Francisco restaurateur Francesco Corvucci, a Calabrian native whose gift for the cuisines of Southern Italy has brought life to several once-iconic North Beach locations, is a proponent of both wines. “My lists are devoted solely to Italian wines and my cuisine to Italian ingredients and dishes. In practice, the success of this wine style is undeniable; it more than satisfies a traditionalist like me and is very accessible for consumers.”

The Not-So-Great Divide

A recent study conducted at jointly at Penn State University and the University of California Davis illustrates significant differences in what consumers and self-described wine experts find likeable in wine.

The wines in question were six pairs of unoaked Chardonnay that had been doctored with increasing amounts of the compound – methyl anthralinate (MA) – that gives some native American vitis labruscana grape varieties their “grapey-ness.”  

Beyond the Bar: Wine country visits that take you beyond the tasting room

Gone are the days when wine tasting was synonymous with standing at a bar. Wineries are now offering tasting experiences that include such activities as hiking with your dog, appreciating a world-class sculpture garden and breathing through a yoga class. If you think a standard wine tasting at a bar sounds more like drudgery than a dream day, these four non-traditional wine tasting experiences are for you.