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Oenologists in France, because there are of course oenologists in France, think they have found a simple way to make fine wines and aged whiskeys even better.
There has always been an art and a science in the craft of winemakers and stills, even if primitive science was more good luck and unintentional trial and error than tedious study.
Scientists, however, stick their noses into wines and spirits, literally and figuratively, trying for decades to understand the complicated chemistry behind why some wines are sought-after classics while others are plonk, and how whiskey Scottish did exactly the same way in different places can taste radically different.
These are the mysteries of a liberal life which, for many drinkers, it is better to leave behind when a bottle is emptied. For wine and spirits scientists, however, these answers are essential.
Professor Axel Marchal, from the University of Bordeaux, located in the heart of the French wine region, has the diplomas and publications of a scientist, but retains an ability to appreciate magic.