Ever wonder what makes fine wines smelling the way they are? Actually, how about a fine 1988 vintage from Château d'Yquem? Kaiser has a report on that. Now Francophiles might be slightly miffed that Kaiser did not analyze the cult 1961 Sauternes featured in a pivotal sequence of Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud (1995), considered many as one of director Claude Sautet’s masterpieces (and one of the finest performances by French cinematic icon Emmanuelle Béart), but having a glimpse of the famous wine is good enough for a non-drinker like me.
Somewhere in between those sections Kaiser visits the famous nymphs—Egyptian blue lotus, for instance. Now the sacred blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) is incredibly fascinating, actually a water lily yet not only having a gorgeous hyacinth-like scent (minus the earthy undertone associated with the Dutch hyacinth hybrids) but actually was also used as the ancient Egyptian party drug or a shamanistic aid. Considering the fact that the wines in various Egyptian religious ceremonies were often macerated in the sacred blue lotus first one can only imagine how far the ancient Egyptians went in order to contact the divine! Then there’s the Amazonian water lily Victoria amazonica, initially named after Queen Victoria as Victoria regia and now linked to the iconic Waterlily House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew , England . Kaiser analyzed the Victorian marvel along with its sibling Victoria cruziana—though curiously enough the samples were taken from Munich’s Nymphenburg Palace—and concluded that two water lilies have, curiously enough, a plum-like scent in order to attract a specific species of beetles for pollination. Kaiser also notes that both species have similar scents, though amazonica is more refined than that of cruziana.
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