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Important personalities in the world of winemaking
Émile Peynaud (1912 - 2004) A marketing genius? Virtuoso technologist? Or just a wizard? Flying winemaker, who is he?
« As long as a person remains curious, he makes progress; when you think you know everything, in fact you are outdated. » Emile Peynaud
Peynaud was born in 1912. Peynaud came from a modest milieu, starting out as a cellar worker with a Bordeaux négociant firm when he was a teenager. He earned a doctorate from what was then called the Institute of Enology at the University of Bordeaux, where he taught enology. His career as an enologist began in the 1930s, was interrupted during World War II, and ended when he retired in 1990, at the age of 78. He consulted not just in Bordeaux but also in California, Chile, Spain, Peru, Mexico and elsewhere. In Italy, he worked for Antinori on its super Tuscan reds, Solaia and Tignanello ; in Chile, for Concha y Toro; and in Bordeaux for classified-growths ranging from Margaux to fifth-growth Lynch- Bages in Pauillac.
Peynaud is widely viewed as the father of modern enology in Bordeaux; with his books and consulting business, the University of Bordeaux professor helped raise the standards of winemaking in Europe and in the New World. Two books, The Taste of Wine and Knowing and Making Wine, became classics read by consumers as well as wine professionals.
Among Peynaud's numerous achievements in the world of wine, he was successful in : convincing many proprietors of the importance of harvesting fully ripe grapes; aging the wine in clean, and often new, oak barrels; accepting low acid levels in the grapes and wines; controlling temperatures in the cellars, especially during fermentation. Peynaud was a leading researcher in methods to stabilize wines, both whites and reds.
His medicine was tough to swallow for many estates, as it required major changes. The châteaus were used to harvesting early to protect their grapes from rot and to obtain high acid levels, which acted as a preservative against spoilage. Protection against spoilage was a concern because the châteaus used old oak vats that developed microbes, which could lead to off odors. Soon, it became evident that the "Peynaud style" produced richer, riper, rounder wines. Lower acid levels made the wines more accessible, and more enjoyable, when they were young. New oak barriques and temperature-controlled equipment reduced the risks of spoilage and produced cleaner wines.
Emile Peynaud was the first to" invent " the work of a wine consultant.
According to Decanter magazine in 1990, Emile Payneau was declared "Person of the year".
Emile Payneau is one of the founders of the classification of wine flavors, he identified ten classes of smells, creating an aromatic school of wines of the XX century. Its basis is the influence of fermentation temperature on wine bouquets. Now sommeliers are trained according to his method. "He has such a huge contribution to the philosophy of French wines, the like of which was not possible to make any resident of France," wrote Hugh Johnson about him.