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• Sheldrake winemaker on the science of the art

28 Dec

From New York University’s Science Line

Dave Breeden pops a ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grape into his mouth. A look of complete absorption fills his face as he chews. “It’s sweet,” he says. “The seeds are crunchy and ripe. There’s nothing green, no bell pepper flavors.” He looks up from the vines, pleased. “These are ready to go.
‘ On this windblown, brightly sunny October day, it’s time to harvest the grapes. Then they’re off to the crusher-destemmer, the fermenter, the barrel, the bottle, and at long last, the glass. Breeden will watch over them through each step of the process, sniffing, swirling, sipping and spitting what starts out as a muddle of sugars, acids, and other chemical compounds and eventually becomes that magical beverage humans have revered for nearly seven thousand years: wine.

Breeden, 46, is the head vintner at Sheldrake Point Winery in the Finger Lakes area of New York State. He is an endearing mix of bohemian and geek: tall and lanky, he sports glasses and a long graying ponytail, a navy button-up and several silver rings. The rings emphasize his exceptionally long fingers, which he uses to punctuate his every passionate sentence. They fly around him in a blur: now stabbing the air as he denigrates the overripe, jammy flavors of California Cabernet Sauvignons, now twisted tightly together as talks with a sort of sheepish pride about Sheldrake’s numerous awards.

(Go here for the rest of the story, and see the video below.)

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=18237892&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in Wine, Winemaker

 

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