Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, November 17, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 17, 2018 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


I meant no disrespect with last week’s column, 
excluding chardonnay from my Thanksgiving 
selections for top picks. So, here is my make-good 
with three go-to chardonnays

 First, a brief history of chardonnay. Most good 
coastal chardonnay comes from a few areas that 
you might be familiar with: Anderson Valley, 
Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Rita Hills, and 
the coolest section of the Russian River Valley. 
Carneros is also ocean-influenced, though it’s 
warmer there, since it’s a bit inland. Chardonnays 
from vineyards on the mountain ridges at the 
edge of the Sonoma Coast AVA are some of the 
best in the state. Here are three chardonnays that 
I found “reliable” and all under $20:

 Francis Ford Coppola’s Diamond Collection 
Chardonnay - awarded Best in Class in 2015, it is 
bright and balanced. If you like your wine with a 
bit of fruity apple/pear flavor, this would be a good 
choice. This chardonnay hails from the Monterey 

Dills Score 89

Retail $16; you can find it if you shop around for 
$12 Vons /Albertson’s

 Wild Horse Chardonnay - wine maker Chrissy Whittmann’s chardonnay from the Central Coast, 
Paso Robles region. I found this to be crisp and delightful, and it goes well with the other white meat, 

Dills Score 89

Retail $17; easily available in So Cal for $14 Vons

 Our friends in France enjoy a 2013 Jadot Pouilly Fuisse made with 100% chardonnay grapes. While 
we tend to label California wines as “buttery”, I’d go with “crisp”. Interesting wine maker notes, one 
part of the wine is fermented in stainless steel vats and in oak barrels, this combination delivers a silky 
smooth finish. Pouilly Fuisse is a great representation of old world wine making. $21.99 average price 

 Serve a reliable cheese such as gouda, and you will be the hit of your next wine party with any of the 
above selections. Listen Live every Sunday at 12 Noon on AM 830 KLAA


An international group of astronomers, involving 
the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) 
in Heidelberg, has succeeded in detecting a planet 
around Barnard’s star, which is only six light-years 
away. The planet has just over three times the mass 
of Earth and is slightly colder than Saturn. The 
discovery was made by measuring the periodic 
change in the radial velocity of the parent star. The 
spectrograph CARMENES, developed to a large 
part by the MPIA, played an important role in this 

 Barnard’s star (GJ 699) is the single star closest to 
Earth, located at a distance of about 6 light-years. 
When viewed from Earth, it appears to move across 
the sky faster than any other star except Alpha 
Centauri. For a long time, the search for planets 
orbiting Barnard’s star has been unsuccessful. But 
now astronomers have extracted a signal from 771 
individual measurements they have collected over 
the recent 20 years, which points to a planet that 
travels around its host star once within 233 days. 
The planet has been named Barnard’s star b.

 “For the analysis we used observations from 
seven different instruments, spanning 20 years, 
making this one of the largest and most extensive 
datasets ever used for precise radial velocity studies,” 
explains Ignasi Ribas of the Institut de Ciènces de 
l’Espai (ICE, CSIC), Spain, the first author of the 
underlying research published in Nature.

 Since Barnard’s star, a red dwarf star, only emits 
0.4% of the Sun’s radiant power, the planet Barnard’s 
star b only receives about 2% of the intensity 
the Earth collects from the Sun. From this, the 
scientists conclude that the planet with an average 
temperature of about -170°C is probably a hostile, 
icy desert, in which there is no liquid water. With 
a mass of at least 3.3 Earth masses, it belongs to the 
class of super-Earths, i.e., exoplanets that fill the 
mass scale between Earth and Neptune.

 The discovery is based on the radial velocity 
method. Here a sensitive spectrograph registers 
small periodic shifts of the spectral lines in the 
spectrum of a star due to its movement along the 
line of sight caused by the planet. From this the 
mass of the planet can be calculated.

 The data collected up to 2015 already contained 
indications of a planet. MPIA astronomer Martin 
Kürster alone contributed 76 data sets from the 
UVES spectrograph. However, certainty was only 
obtained with additional measurements. Therefore, 
an international collaboration called “Red Dots” 
was formed to examine red dwarf stars such as 
Barnard’s star in more detail employing state-of-
the-art spectrographs.

 Martin Kürster comments: “Until the 1980s, 
almost all professional and popular astronomy 
books stated that two Jupiter-like planets had been 
found near Barnard’s star. This was found to be 
incorrect due to recent measurements in which I 
was partly involved. That is why it is all the more 
fascinating that we are now able to detect this planet 
with a much smaller mass.”

 In 2016, a planet was detected orbiting the star 
that is closest to the Sun, Proxima Centauri. With 
Barnard’s star b, we now know four planetary 
systems at a distance of up to 10 light-years from the 
solar system. Within a radius of 15 light-years we 
know of 14. Thus, the current discovery contributes 
to the perception that the formation of planets is 
apparently a very frequent cosmic phenomenon.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at:

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