Many years ago I had a close friend who was deeply into astrology, a pursuit that I considered akin to reading tealeaves or fiddling with a Ouija board. Amusing perhaps, but not to be taken seriously. For years she had worked with an astrologer who would give her semi-regular updates — transits and progressions, I believe they were called — on what she might expect over the course of the next several months.
One day she offered to have the same astrologer compose my birth chart, using only my name and place, time, and date of birth. When the cassette arrived — yes, this was a few years ago — and I listened to his hour-long explanation of the actual chart that accompanied it, I was nearly speechless from the exciting but slightly weird sensation that this guy whom I'd never met had been looking over my shoulder my entire life.
Now, I do not follow astrology on a daily basis, but, given how this astrologer, with such eerie accuracy, was able to define the fabric if not the details of my life, I went from thinking astrology is bunk to thinking: If the moon can affect the tides as well as other earthly things, why not me?
This story is a way of introducing you to an app called When Wine Tastes Best.
Now, wine and how it tastes is something I do follow on a daily basis. It's my passion, and my job.
Without getting into a lengthy explanation, the idea is based on research developed over 55 years ago by a German named Maria Thun, who published an annual calendar for biodynamic sowing and planting, used by people involved with not only grape growing but also every type of agriculture, as well as by beekeepers and producers of cheese and butter.
Quoting the apps developer, "The details of the calendar are worked out by considering all aspects of lunar cycles, solar cycles, star constellations, and the movement of other planets."
So-called Fruit and Flower days are considered optimal for enjoying wine, while those labeled Leaf and Root are less so. The app lays out the year's calendar, with red bars indicating Fruit and Flower days accompanied by stoplight-like uppercase YESes and NOes for emphasis.
Some wine purveyors believe so strongly in this that they'll only taste wines on the "best" days. My regularly scheduled weekend tastings don't permit such luxuries, unless, say, you tell me you'd like to attend a tasting from midnight to 3am tomorrow.
Of course many factors — our moods, the weather, a wine's age, temperature, and its own "mood" — will affect its aroma and flavor. And there are days, I'll admit, when a wine is absolutely singing and I'll think, this must be a flower day, and, nope, it's a leaf day, or vice versa.
Over the years, the biological calendar and this app have earned my respect, if not blind devotion — plus, it's a fun parlor game. But I will admit this: If I've been waiting to uncork a serious bottle I will consult the calendar and wait until an optimal day presents itself. After all, given the many variables involved why not give the wine it's best shot at providing us the maximum amount of pleasure?