July 14, 2008

Lab Report: THE INDEX

We were doing some paperwork at the Lab over the weekend when, like a bolt from the blue, it struck me that an INDEX of the Lab's experimental efforts -- delineated by category -- might be useful. Might have been helpful if we'd laid this out at the beginning, but you're dreaming if you think we're capable of that level of organization.

Better late than never, here's a list:

1. DIRT SEARCH
: Our continuing quest for that elusive, magical thing called terroir wherever it may lurk.
2. WINE CHEMISTRY: General experiments about the composition of wine. As well as a rigorous application of the scientific method to evaluate common beliefs about booze.
3. PALATE TRAINING: Fun and stupid things to do that may (or may not) expand your tasting skills.
4. FINDING FAULT: Experiments focused on a better understanding of the flaws that sometime occur in wine. After to really have an appreciation of good wine, you need to have some experience with bad wine.
5. EVOLUTION: A roughly semi-annual tasting of a a bottle from the same case (one red, one white, and perhaps one with bubbles), in an attempt to chart a wine's progress over time, to learn something about how age impacts the juice.
6. OLD/NEW: Experiments in what we like to call, "wide-gap vertical tasting." Note: Old/New often overlaps with Dirt Searching, is also often good for Palate Training and sometimes covers similar territory to experiments conducted under the Evolution heading.*
7. ROOTS: An historically-minded thought-experiment investigating ungrafted vines, pre-phylloxera wines and the limits of empathy.*
8. BFC in the BUBBLEDOME: BFC isn't really scientific. Just an obsessive quest for a great sparkling wine at a (maybe) reasonable price.
* Lab note: Results of these (continuing) studies have not yet been formally released to the public
For truly geeked-out devotees of the Lab's research, we tag each experiment with its category. Thus creating a fully searchable database of lab reports. Want to read everything we've done on wine flaws? Search "Finding Fault," then read bottom up to get the chronology right.

By the way, the Rational Denial Lab is open and Open-Source. So feel free to suggest experiments you'd like to see us do. Or tell us about experiments you've done yourself (nothing with cats and/or kerosene, please). And so long as you attribute the materials with © Rational Denial Lab, 200-, you're welcome to use, pilfer, reprint or otherwise abuse our research any way you see fit (though keep in mind, some of our images are not Lab property and, therefore, have rights all their own; when in doubt, just ask.)


(image: © Yvanovich | Dreamstime.com)

4 comments:

Edward said...

Excellent ideas which resonate strongly with my sensibilities.

How about closures. But the same wine under screwcap and cork (a choice offered together by some premium Aussie wines) and compare in a blind tasting (with other wines added) and see if you can pick the identical wines.

Or cellar two wines in different conditions and compare in the same fashion.

Good luck with your 'experiements', I look forward to reading about them.

J David Harden said...

Edward,
You should probably be working up a resume to submit to the Lab.

In the meantime, you'll like this post from Peter Liem's super-terrific champagne blog:
Peter Liem

And you'll also be... what's the word? oh, yes... titillated to learn that we have several longue durée studies underway at the Lab. A few fit into your cellaring variations category.

Cheers

Richard Smith said...

Great blog David; right up my alley. So glad that Tom Wark at Fermentation reviewed it. Have added to Blogroll and am looking forward to assessing more of your excellent laboratory work.

J David Harden said...

Thanks Richard. Always glad to have knowledgeable visitors at the Lab.