I recently came across the very interesting Wine Sensations project by young French artist Jason Szakal. The idea is to capture a wine’s essence in a visual form, through the medium of painting. After doing some research about the subject, Jason consults wine professionals and and sommeliers to get a general idea of what the final work might look like. He then tastes the wine with other amateurs and combines what the pros say with what what he and his friends “feel” to create an abstract representation of how a Château Pibarnon jumps out of the glass/canvas or a Chablis stretches itself like a beam across the palate (or at least those are my interpretations of the following paintings).
Château Pibarnon- artyouneedblog.wordpress.com
Chablis Grand Régnard – artyouneedblog.wordpress.com
He says that half of the final work will be his own inspiration, while the other half is drawn from the audience, with whom he discusses the wine by going from table to table before the show. I find that his abstract style lends itself beautifully to such exercises and hope that I am able to attend one of his tastings in the future!
As one of the more prestigious producers of Germany’s Pfalz region, the Müller-Catoir name alone had set expectations quite high for me. After a quick stop at their stand during the VDP tasting in Mainz last month, I was left slightly disappointed and decided to give the estate another chance, since a full day of tasting Rieslings doesn’t necessarily do the wines justice. So I dropped by the beautiful manor in the village of Haardt, just outside of Neustadt to taste through a dozen Rieslings, most from the very promising, but very young 2009 vintage.
What stood out for me overall was a sort of cotton candy, powdery texture on my palate, especially on the classic range -Haardt, Gimmeldigen & Mussbach- but also the terroir range’s single vineyard Herrenletten. The Mandelberg or the 2008 “Breumel in den Mauern” Grosses Gewächs felt much clearer and more elegant to me at this point however, and were the definite highlights of the tasting.
I’m wondering if this impression was due to an awkward sweetness which the wines hadn’t yet integrated, or if it was more of a texture which I associate with cotton candy. It would be interesting to re-try the ’09s in several months, after they’ve had plenty of time to settle in the bottle and gain some definition…