August 6, 2008

Science/Wine is Sexy

In 1995, Swiss scientist, Dr Claus Wedekind, conducted a study that's a favorite here at the Lab. Known colloquially as the "Sweaty T-shirt Experiment", Wedekind had men abstain from soap and deodorant and wear the same t-shirt to bed for 2 nights. The shirts were then boxed and put before a group of women. Each was asked to rate the shirts' odor for "sexiness," "pleasantness," and "intensity of smell." Wedekind found that women expressed clear olfactory preference for men with divergent major histocompatibility complexes (MHC). In other words, women found a man sexy if his immune systems was unlike her own. Apparrently, this is DNA's none too subtle way of providing for offspring with expanded capacity for survival.

Interestingly, woman on "the Pill", a form of contraception that fools the body into thinking it's already pregnant, expressed a preference for MHC that was most like to their own. The speculative theory being that if you are already pregnant, you retreat to the safety of your own tribe. But if half of all marriages fail, perhaps the ubiquity of this form of birth control is an underlying cause? Do your own flow charts.

For what it's worth, this preference for divergent MHC has also been observed in mice and fish.

Clearly, this is an easy, try-at-home experiment. And to help with that, we'd recommend a newcomer. Phifer-Pavitt's Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. The launch vintage.

Our first hypothesis was that Date Night would be low-grade plonk with a gimmicky marketing plan. Boy oh boy, were we wrong. Of course, when we were formulating our notion, we didn't know the wine is only available via mailing list and costs $75!

Date Night is a delicious, subtle and focused California Cab destined for cult celebrity. The nose is ganache and cherry with a swirling, nutty earthiness; with a little air, a rich, floral perfume drifted in. There's some oak (65% new French), but it steps elegantly. The wine has a beautiful, unexpectedly linear palate. Red fruits, with black cherry dominating, highlight the attack. An earthy, sensual mid-palate builds into chewy tannins with a slightly herbal expression of anise and black tea. And a chalky chocolate finish arrives and lingers long enough to revive long dormant memories of your first birthday cake.

Grapes were sourced from a single block, organically farmed and hand-picked. Vinification is low-intervention using only wild yeasts. No fining, lightly filtered.

If your date is good enough to stand up to this Red, it probably should end at a little chapel in Reno.

(t-credit: © Stocksnapper |

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