I've noticed a few of the scientists here at the Lab are starting to look a little soft. Time for a work out, boys and girls.
That's right. It's time for another round of PALATE TRAINING.
It's Autumn in Los Angeles. Not that anyone would notice a change of season here. Except in the produce section where pears are in abundant season. After apples, pears are perhaps the most oft referenced fruit used to describe white wines. Pear flavors turn up all over. In Champagne, the Rhone, of course the Loire (Anjou), Burgundy, the Mosel River valley, the Penedes region in Spain... I could go on like this for a very long time.
We tasted five different varieties: Bartlett, d'Anjou, Starkrimson, Forelle and Bosc.
Here's the notes:
Bartlett: Sweet fruit with a slightly bitter, licorice taste in the skins. Some underlying, and gentle, acidity.
d'Anjou: Not as expressive, especially the peel. Perhaps needs a few more days to fully ripen. More about texture than sugar.
Starkminson: Well integrated and balanced sugar and acid. Peel brought a woodsy flavor. Not as sweet as the Bartlett.
Forelle: This is the runt of the pears. A cute little guy with skin ripening from green to red. Gloriously sweet, almost like candy. No real acid and not much complexity but a very delicious fruit.
Bosc: like a Riesling spatlese from an over-ripe year. The sweet in this pear is luxurious and sophisticated.
On balance, I'd say the most notable conclusion of this exercise was the lack of obvious difference among these fruits. Unlike the apples, which had distinct and recognizable, individual flavors, what struck me about the pears was the subtlety of the differences between them.
It has been noted that in this Lab's first public experiment, when we tasted a single bottle of Nicolas Joly's Loire Chenin Blanc over 5 days, I managed to use a different pear to describe the changes on each day. In retrospect, that might have been a slightly fanciful exaggeration on my part...