|Our Own Wine Column|
Issue #45 (May 1985)
We all know that the enjoyment of fine wines may be enhanced by such factors as temperature and "breathing." Now tests by the British Government have revealed that the nose, bouquet, and finish of classic white wines may be further enhanced by the addition of diethylene glycol, a poisonous petrochemical normally used as an aircraft antifreeze.
Shucks, the Austrians have known this for years. A dab of glycol here, a dab there -- it's the secret of those glorious alpine wines we love so much. Here, for example, is an excerpt from the venerable Austrian Annalen der Weintrinkern, describing a recent tasting of a Ruster Beerenauslese 1981:
"Full, robust nose it had, mit deep und complex body; the fruity bouquet was in the finish fully evident, and a delightful aftertaste of diethylene glycol was by all enjoyed. After the bottle finished was, the tasters on the floor twitched."
For those American connoisseurs unacquainted with this interesting vintner's technique, we append here a list of Austrian and German wines that laboratory tests have revealed contain substantial amounts of diethylene glycol:
Austrian: St Margarethener Trocken Beerenauslese Neiderthaler Hof 1979; St Mgt Auslese 1983; St Mgt Beerenauslese 1983; St Mgt Auslese 1984; St Georgener Spätlese Burgenland Kloster Neuberg 1977; St G Spätlese 1982; St G Spätlese 1983; St G Spätlese 1984; Monchoser Beerenauslese 1984; Ruster Beerenauslese 1981; Neudsiedlersee Spätlese 1983; Vagabund Muller-Thurgau Kloster Neuberg 1982; Gewurtztraminer Kloster Neuberg 1982; Rommerbruch Gewurtztraminer Beerenauslese 1979; Gloriette Welschriesling 1983.
German: Framersheimer Kreuzweg Huxelrebe Auslese 1983; Albiger Petersberg Optima Beerenauslese 1983.
Your editor, GEORGE TOWNER, admits to tweaking his wine-tasting friends with "Our Own Wine Column" in this issue. The facts in the column, however, are true. Upon learning about the glycol scandal, George promptly drank up all the Austrian wine in his cellar so that it could not constitute a hazard to others. You can read about George's latest book here! Post-publication additions: The original article unfortunately, due to space considerations, neglected to include further German varieties of Niederpinkelbacher Gelblese, Kurfürstendammer Spätspätlese (also known as Morgenfrühlese), Potsdamer Schlosslese, Berliner Bärenlese, and Oktoberfester Bierenauslese. -Tod, 2008
George Towner was born in Reno and grew up near Berkeley. As a teenager he began making gangster movies using an old 8mm camera, one of which featured a car being pushed over a cliff off State Highway 1. He has started and sold two successful technology firms, and currently works for Apple Computer, where he is the most senior in age. He lives with his wife in Sunnyvale. They have two daughters and a son.