The French oenologist Émile Peynaud (1912-2004) was one of the most important wine critics, scientists and teachers in this field. He worked closely with the "father of wine science" Jean Ribérau-Gayon and after the Second World War he joined the Institut d'Oenologie of the University of Bordeaux. From the end of the 1940s, he acted as an advisor to many châteaux in Bordeaux on winemaking issues. The selection of only healthy and, above all, ripe grapes was a major concern for him and in this respect he made a special effort to give Bordeaux wine more balance and longevity. The list reads like a "Who is who" of the most famous Bordeaux Châteaux:
ChâteauBeychevelle, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, Château Margaux, Château Cheval Blanc, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Haut-Brion, Château Pape-Clément and Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse. This later led him to many wineries around the world, including being involved as an advisor in the founding of the famous wineries Carras (Meliton-Greece, 1960s) and Ca' del Bosco (Lombardy-Italy, 1970s). He has always strived to leave nothing to chance in the vinification process, and in the early 1950s he shaped practices that are taken for granted today. These include the mastery of malolactic fermentation and maceration of red wines, both of which were achieved through scientific research.
Peynaud wrote numerous wine books as well as around 300 treatises on all aspects of winemaking. He had a great talent for passing on his knowledge in an understandable and captivating way. Equally important, he found the ability to taste properly and became an absolute specialist. Subjectivity and objectivity in a wine evaluation are always the subject of heated debate, with the latter often being doubted. In his book "The High School for Wine Connoisseurs", first published in 1985, he remarked: "The paradox of tasting is the fact that it wants to be an objective procedure, but works with subjective means in the sense that they are related to the object under study.
The wine is the object, the taster the subject. The human senses are used as measuring instruments. It is possible to establish rules for their proper functioning, increase their precision, eliminate sources of error, but the taster is not only the executor, but also the interpreter and judge. The taster must be cool and precise in his taste analysis, strict in his conclusions, but committed in his judgement" Peynaud considered the right tasting skills to be as essential for optimal winemaking as a thorough knowledge of oenology. By the way, Peynaud was a strict opponent of decanting for the purpose of oxygen contact, which he even found negative. See also under wine address.