© Platter’s South African Wine Guide Monday 14th May 2012
Luna Taste Test, the experiment we’re conducting with family-owned Paarl estate Avondale Bio-LOGIC & Organic Wines over the next two weeks to test the validity of the biodynamic lunar calendar, kicked off yesterday at Dear Me in Cape Town.

The lunar calendar, developed in the 1950s by biodynamics proponent Maria Thun, identifies days as “fruit”, “flower”, “leaf” or “root” days according to the position of the moon and stars. The theory is that fruit and flower days would be more beneficial to wine-tasting, while leaf, and especially root days would be less auspicious.

Yesterday the taste-test panel – Avondale proprietor Johnathan Grieve, winewriter and educator Cathy Marston, sommelier Higgo Jacobs, bloggers Hennie Coetzee and Maggie Mostert, winewriter and blogger Jonathan Snashall, Wine Extra editor Maryna Strachan and Platter’s editor Philip van Zyl – sampled six biodynamically grown Avondale wines – méthode cap classique sparkling, wooded chenin blanc, wooded white blend, blanc de noir, shiraz and Bordeaux-style red blend – and rated them on a 20-point scale.

The intention is to repeat the assessment on Wednesday, and next Tuesday and Thursday, allowing the panel to experience the wines on the four “lunar days” and record any differences among them.

At the first tasting yesterday, panel members were unaware of the “day” but the obvious fruitiness of the wines caused them to guess it was a fruit day. Some wanted to see more restraint and minerality, i.e. more “Old World” character and less overt fruitiness, across the line-up, and one or two felt the alcohol was evident on some of the wines.

Grieve and Avondale winemaker Corné Marais suggested that the tasters withhold final judgement till day four, hinting that the elements the panellists were looking for were in fact present in the wine but simply not expressing themselves on the day. Whether (with a bit of celestial intervention?) they will assert themselves during tomorrow’s session is the big question.

Keep watching this space.