Eisch Ordered to Cease Advertizing Breathable Glass.

Blake Gray thinks the German courts need better tasters.  I respectfully disagree.  The courts found that Eisch’s claim of “breathable” glass was patently false and misleading.  It doesn’t matter if the taste from their glass is different than others (I concluded they do have a distinct sensory profile).

Eisch makes it impossible to determine if the material they use is indeed contributing to the sensory perception.  They will not provide (or sell)  identical glasses made with “normal” glass for comparison (at least not in the US).  Instead they suggest you use a similar glass.  There are two major problems with this approach:

  1. The similar glass is not the same  as the Eisch.
  2. It is nearly impossible to to do blind tasting with two different glasses since there are visual  and tactile clues.

All of the comparisons I’ve seen are compromised by tasters knowing they we evaluating glassware and not using identical glasses. These are not blind tests.  Michael Franz’s  evaluation at Eisch comes the closest to a blind tasting but even this test is an explicit evaluation of  glassware and under Eisch’s control and with glassware that is not available.

Given that is  extremely far fetched that glass could be made so permeable that there would marked taste difference in 2 to 4 minutes.  Judging from the press release the technical analysis team could not measure an uptake of O2 either (probably the plaintiffs had an independent lab measure dissolved oxygen).

The question that needs to be asked is what could they put in the glass to make a difference?  The logical conclusion is a catalyst, most of which are heavy or rare earth metals.  Not something I like having in my household (I don’t use lead crystal either).  Eisch won’t disclose how it makes glass breathable and I don’t recall a prop 65 warning (California hazard’s materials warning) with the glasses so they may not have anything at all in them.  Perhaps this is one of those  “you can fool all of the people some of the time”.  The human consciousness is a complex and wondrous thing but can be subtlety manipulated.

I’m glad the German courts sided with truthful advertising over perpetuating a wine “urban legend” but don’t let that stop you from enjoying wine in Eisch glasses you like what your  mind says is happening.  Just rest easier that knowing that it isn’t magic.


Disappearing Cork Taint

Ever opened a bottle and thought it was corked on first sniff but not on subsequent sniffs?  Turns out according to Paula Mara of UC Davis that the taint is really there but the nose/ mind will block the smell for up to 7 minutes after the initial recognition.  She’s found research done in the 70’s that corroborates her own experience in the university’s wine cellars.   The mechanism and reason are unknown but given  TCA and TBA* are not harmful to humans there’s no evolutionary disadvantage.

Could this be the reason that cork taint goes under reported at wine tastings (even by professionals)?

Bottom line follow the “Blink” philosophy if you think it’s tainted get the bottle replaced.

*TriCholorolAnisol (TCA) and TriBromolAnisol(TBA) are the primary compounds that create the musty odor.

Back again and on a different tack

I’ve decided to revive this blog after two years absence.  Many things have changed in that brief time, not the least of which a new professional title (winemaker).  Stay tuned for thoughts about being a craftsman in the attention economy world.  Tune in and see what happens next (Urban Legend Cellars opening soon).
We’ll be barrel sampling our 2008 Barbera at UWX next month UWX – Urban Wine Experience come by and say hello!

MSF Experienced Rider Course

Marilee and I spent last Saturday afternoon at the local Experienced Rider Course (ERC). It was good and bad… Practicing rapid stops and tight low speed maneuvers = Good! Having to go backwards to 4 fingers on the brake Bad… Very Bad! The ST4s’ Bremos are marvelous sensitive beasts, hard braking with 1 finger can cause over braking, trying to do a quick stop (versus a panic stop) with 4 fingers on zero practice time is very scary… at least I now know what losing the front end feels like. Fortunately I didn’t dump the bike. Exactly ½ the class dropped their bike at some point though the day. I think everyone learned something valuable and got their $75 worth but it could have been much better.

A couple of observations:

  • The basic course should be required period. The one rider that had fairly serious get off had never taken a MSF course and made a very basic error.
  • ERC courses don’t get enough attention form the MSF or the instructors – the basic course dominates ever since CA started pushing new riders that direction (a very good thing)
  • Riders should be encouraged to take the ERC about 1 year after the basic course and then a follow up in year 2/3.

The US at least needs something more advanced than the ERC. Lane position in moderate speed corners, trail braking into the the corner and much more line planning in linked curves need to be taught along with advanced traffic avoidance skills. There needs to be something in between the ERC and track school.

It happened…

Marilee dropped the new bike!  Thankfully she wasn’t seriously injured.  We had just stopped at the yacht club to see if Art and Nancy were still in town, they’d alaready headed home.  On the way back home Marilee locked the front brakes up on a left turn from a stop light (we guess the acceleration surprised her).  SHe must have let them go a little late and high-sided onto the street and slid into the curbing with the bike on top of her leg.  Her ankle is sprained and she’s brusied from her shoulder down to the chest.  Thankfully is was a low speed accident so no major injuries. 

She’s anxoius to heal,  get the bike back in shape (some new body panels) and find out what happened.  Me? I’m concerned that we need to make sure a bad habit doesn’t get formed.  I’m pushing for some one on one drill time with a experienced MSF instructor.  I think it’s a bit early in her development as a motorcyclist for the Experienced Rider Course but maybe not…

Baby’s leaking Oil… I thought that was a bygone era!

I had a good scare Sunday night. I took the fairings off the St4s to install an airhorn (the horn on the bike is anemic at best) and found oil all over the lower sections and coating the oil cooler. I figured the cooler has sprung a leak. closer inspection revealed the rocker cover (just above the oil cooler) wasn’t tightened very well (probably at the 12K serivce). That seems to explain the hot oil smell from the Fort Bragg run with the Sightseers last month.

Motorcyclist Protective Hen

Those of you on the St2 list know by now Gary Egan (Hobatz), riding god, king of the iron butt and general kindly curmudgeon of all things motorcycling has suffered a nasty crash as a result of a mundane error plus equipment failure… He left his sidestand down on the multistrada and turned left. The interlock on the sidestand was clearly not working at the time.
Marilee’s new (to her) Multistrada (Spiny Norman, see http://www.ducati.info/archives/2003/08/the_marmite_machine.html#more and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063929/quotes) has been lowered 1.5″ and so the sidestand protudes enough to make it a very scary proposition to leave it down. I’ve got protective hen syndrome every morning making sure the sidestand has been retracted.
It’s been a bad year for motorcyclists – I just want us to stay out of the trend.