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Michael Palin: Amazon Festival

While filming one of his travel shows, Michael Palin found himself celebrating a festival day in a village in the Amazon. As a special guest, he was offered a large glass of some potent wine. Where, he wondered, had the sugar come from? He hadn't noticed any sugar cane growing in the vicinity...

When sugar was scarce, he later learned, the grapes were fermented with saliva... generously donated by the old women residing in the village!

[" 'Gamey, bacon fat and leather on the well-worn back seat of an old Jag.' 'Dried apricots, Band-Aid and geranium.' Which is the bad wine review? Someone has to explain to the wine beginner why the scent of horse manure isn't prized but the tang of 'cat pee' (yes, that's what professionals call it) is... Good Burgundy often smells like leaves rotting on the forest floor. Do you like your Riesling regular or unleaded? This grape is famous for developing diesel aromas as it ages. Some people describe it more as honeycomb, also a waxy, petrol product. Cat pee is a common smell in sauvignon blanc, especially the tangy, New Zealand variety. These are good things. What's bad is TCA, a cork-born contaminant, commonly described as musty, dank basement, wet cardboard and dirty gym socks."]

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