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 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 113, December 2012   
The Importance of TastingThe Importance of Tasting Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 112, November 2012 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 114, January 2013

The Importance of Tasting

Tasting a wine, or any other beverage or food, in a critical and analytic sense, is an act of awareness and respect, an essential practice for understanding

 The art of senses. This is how critical and analytic tasting of a wine can be defined, likewise, the tasting of a food or beverage. We are fascinated in front of a painting or a sculpture, ravished by the beauty of a poem and its verses, magnificently amazed by a symphony. Likewise, we can be fascinated by a food, by the way it has been aesthetically assembled, by the organoleptic sensations it can give to sight, smell and taste. A wine - as well as any other beverage - can give senses the same sensations, the same emotions. If it is true the expression of painting, sculpture, literature and any other form of expression of human genius can be raised to the nobility of art, the same - with no exception - is true for senses in general terms, including smell and taste. Every wine, every food, every beverage, is capable of giving emotions through senses, either negative or positive, just like a painting or a poem.


 

 Contemplating a painting, admiring a sculpture, feeling a poem or listening to a symphony, are all act of “tasting” an artistic expression, that is the critical and analytic understanding of what is being perceived through the senses and emotions. As every sense has equal nobility and dignity, also taste and smell - primary senses for the perception of flavors and aromas - are no exception, although, taste in particular, are considered as simple and gross stimuli. German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach rightly pointed out that “man is what he eats”, consecrating the act of feeding not only to the need of survival, but also to the awareness of the union of body and psyche: in order to think better it is fundamental to eat better. The awareness of what you eat or drink, undeniably passes through stimuli, negative or positive, of taste and smell, a critical act which cannot be taken lightly or superficially. Not only for the quality of what is being accepted as food or beverage and which will become part of ourselves and of what we will be, but also for the respect food and beverage deserve, either good or bad.

 The act of tasting does not represent hedonistic and ephemeral aspects only, it expresses - in a deep and high way - an act of culture and respect both for the means and materials making the object of tasting, as well as the persons, places, ideas and tradition which allowed its creation. Moreover, it is an act of respect for ourselves, high and noble, as it increases our awareness of what is providing nourishment for the body and spirit. This aspect, which certainly is not frivolous, also gives the chance to develop our culture and our knowledge on what it is being tasted and appreciated, while diminishing, at the same time, our ignorance. Conscious and attentive consumers, force producers to the culture and to the production of a higher quality, as what it is considered of low quality, will not be appreciated. This concept, applied to wine, forces producers to “make” better wines, of higher quality and healthier, respectful both for the environment and consumers.

 You understand a good wine because you are aware of what a good wine is, in particular for the ruthless factor of the comparison with bad wines. Comparison requires a critical analysis, which effectiveness is directly proportional to the attention and scruple used during this operation. Bad wines exist because consumers are not so attentive or exacting, with little or no critical will, paying little or no attention to what they “drink”, an ignorance on which many speculate on. Quality wine costs more than mediocre or bad wine - of course, with some exceptions - a condition requiring, equally important, the capacity and possibility of consumers to buy a quality wine. In case there is not this possibility, consumers end up to be “happy” for that they can get or to not accept the compromise at all. The great wine maker Émile Peynaud summarized the importance of consumers awareness towards wine: «It is you (consumers) that in a certain way make quality. If there are bad wines it is because there are bad consumers. The taste follows the roughness of intellect: everyone drinks the wine he or she deserves».


A glass and bottles of fine wine:
everything is ready for sensorial tasting
A glass and bottles of fine wine: everything is ready for sensorial tasting

 The words of Émile Peynaud could be considered - superficially - as a discriminatory statement: indeed, it is a sincere exhortation to consumers to become more attentive and critical, evolved and exacting. And this is a choice. It is not, in simple terms, an invitation to drink good wines only. After all, every taster understands the value of a less good wine, even bad, as an important chance of study. You can define and recognize the good thanks to existence and the comparison with the bad. It is an invitation to listen to our senses and our critical sense, an invitation to not drink anything we find in a glass, and in case we have to, it should be done in a critical sense and with awareness. Taste is a form of culture, strongly influenced by social, historical, psychological conditions and however subjective. It is also something which can be developed, appreciated, improved, and in particular, we should listen to it with the attention it deserves.

 Sensorial, analytic and critical tasting, is an essential and important practice for the development of taste, for the acquisition of the awareness of “wise drinking”. To drink wise, means, first of all, respect for ourselves, learning how to choose responsibly and with awareness, while rejecting what is evidently “bad” and offered as “good”. The commercial and social success of what is not good, is frequently favored by selling an image, a dream, the promise of reaching an “elected” social and personal status and ensured by the consumption of a product. If we then consider that product in a critical and analytic way, we frequently find out that it is something mediocre, even bad, as well as not healthy. The message offered by some advertisement about wine and alcoholic beverages is significant in this sense. Frequently the advertising message does not focuses on the quality of the product itself, indeed, on what you can personally and socially get by consuming that product.

 The reasons for sensorial tasting are many. You taste a wine in order to verify its correspondence to a category, to asses its objective and technological quality, as well as for the simple pleasure of verifying the personal appreciation towards a wine. Tasting, also in case it is done for personal purposes only, plays a fundamental role. Professional tasting, in which the taster is called to objectively evaluate a wine, requires experience and skill - qualities acquired with practice only - and in this case one cannot show any “weakness” of subjectivity. This fundamental requirement is however negligible when the tasting is done for personal purposes. For the professional taster, defining a wine in negative terms just because it does not meet his or her taste, it is an unforgivable “weakness” as this compromises the reliability of his or her job. In other words, a wine cannot be judged in negative terms only because it is produced with a grape which does not meet personal taste.

 Besides considerations of personal nature, which are expressed, at the end, with a positive or negative opinion, “I like it” or “I don't like it”, the value of sensorial tasting goes beyond that. Even in case it is done for purely personal reasons - which are as important as the “objective” ones - sensorial tasting must be done with attention and scruple. This does not mean that at every sip of wine you need to stay concentrated and attentive to what you are about to taste, however this attention must be used, at least, during the first sip, at the first approach to the wine. Wine is a beverage with a high social meaning, therefore it is also indispensable to enjoy it and shared in good company. Paying attention to the first sip, the first approach to the wine, it is however fundamental to the creation of the “relationship” one will have with that specific wine and how and the way one is going to appreciate it.

 The first approach to a wine, with attention and awareness, has a fundamental importance: to determine - according to one's limit and possibilities - the presence of faults, eventually, of adulterations or excessive wine making techniques. Also subjectively, a good wine is not only a wine meeting one's appreciation and taste, it is - first of all - a wine with the least possible quantity of faults. Of course, it is intended as fault any possible adulteration: not only a good wine and with no faults, but also genuine and healthy. For the sake of completeness, it should also be said that certain “faults” can be subjectively agreeable or when found in certain wine styles. For example, fortified wines, such as Marsala of Jerez, in which what it is usually considered a severe fault - oxidation - becomes a primary and wanted characteristic, sometimes dominating, in this style of wine.

 What should be applied with scruple by means of analytic and critical tasting - also when it is done for personal purposes - it is the rejection of the presence of certain faults in wine, also in case they are justified by producers, frequently in a bizarre way, and presented as factors of genuineness. A fault, no matter its nature or cause, is and will however be a fault. The exception to this is when the fault is a factor of subjective agreeability. It is not by chance if, in the practice of sensorial tasting, the first analysis is done, in every phase - appearance, smell and taste - to the evaluation of the presence of faults and how they affect the quality of wine. Only after having evaluated any possible presence of faults, the next analysis is about positive factors. This method, as a matter of fact, defines a specific reference model: quality in wine is mainly determined by the least possible number of faults.

 Defining what is a fault in wine, it is not so easy. Some faults are considered as such according to scientific and technological presuppositions, frequently caused by negligence and inexperience during production. An example is given by the presence of aromas and flavors recalling vinegar, an unmistakable sign of the effect of acetic bacteria. Also the spoilage of bacteria, frequently caused by the negligence during the procedures of keeping and stabilization, or caused by a scarce hygiene, brings to the presence of aromas and flavors considered as faults. The excess of technology, such as using a high quantity of sulfur dioxide or selected yeast, an excessive filtering, are all to be considered as faults and are all well perceptible to the nose and to the mouth. In other words, every factor found in wine and capable of diminishing the potential varietal expression of grapes, of the territory and type, are to be considered as faults.

 The definition of a fault follows, in any case, purely subjective criteria. For example, there could be subjects who can find agreeable wines with evident faults of vinegar or oxidation, whereas for others the same wines are absolutely unpleasant. Sensorial tasting does not however allow the identification of a perfect wine, with no faults at all, not even the least sign of them, because this is an utopia. Moreover, a perfect wine, including a basically perfect wine, would end up being boring, with no personality or character. Sometimes, certain faults, when their contribution is marginal and discreet, as to pass “unnoticed”, can contribute to a wine's agreeability. Sensorial tasting, in conclusion, is a technique every wine lover should practice and make of it the best friend for the appreciation of wine. Moreover, it is useful in order to discover certain wine making speculations of certain producers, either cunning or incompetent, who would want us to “drink” every tale, in order to reach their goal. And, most of the times, it does not meet the interest of consumers, neither economic nor healthy.

 



 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 113, December 2012   
The Importance of TastingThe Importance of Tasting Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 112, November 2012 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 114, January 2013

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry Rive di Col San Martino La Primavera di Barbara 2011, Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry Rive di Col San Martino La Primavera di Barbara 2011
Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Glera (90%), Perera (10%)
Price: € 11.50 Score:
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry Rive di Col San Martino La Primavera di Barbara shows a brilliant greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of green apple, pear and wistaria followed by aromas of pineapple, tangerine, hawthorn, broom, pineapple and plum. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing sweetness. The finish is persistent with flavors of green apple, pear and pineapple. Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry Rive di Col San Martino La Primavera di Barbara ferments in closed tank for about 60 days.
Food Match: Risotto with crustaceans, Broiled crustaceans, Vegetable flans



Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut Rive Col di San Martino Cuvée del Fondatore Graziano Merotto 2011, Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut Rive Col di San Martino Cuvée del Fondatore Graziano Merotto 2011
Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Glera
Price: € 11.50 Score:
This Valdobbiadene Superiore shows an intense greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of apple, wistaria and pear followed by aromas of hawthorn, pineapple, mineral, peach, plum and citrus fruits. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, pear and plum. Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut Rive Col di San Martino Cuvée del Fondatore Graziano Merotto ferments for 50 days in closed tank followed by 120 days of aging on its lees.
Food Match: Fish and crustacean appetizers, Sauteed crustaceans, Pasta and risotto with crustaceans



Sagrantino di Montefalco Colle alle Macchie 2006, Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino di Montefalco Colle alle Macchie 2006
Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sagrantino
Price: € 45.00 Score:
Sagrantino di Montefalco Colle alle Macchie shows a deep ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas that start with hints of blackberry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, blueberry, vanilla, leather, chocolate, tobacco, mace, tamarind, black pepper and menthol. The mouth has excellent correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum. Sagrantino di Montefalco Colle alle Macchie ages for 36 months in barrique followed by 42 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito Colle Grimaldesco 2007, Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito Colle Grimaldesco 2007
Tabarrini (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sagrantino
Price: € 35.00 - 375ml Score:
Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito Colle Grimaldesco shows a deep ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of blackberry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, blueberry, tamarind, chocolate, mace, cinnamon, vanilla, nail polish and menthol. The mouth has excellent correspondence to the nose, a sweet and tannic attack, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry. Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito Colle Grimaldesco ages for 30 months in cask followed by 6 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Confectionery, Hard cheese, Chocolate desserts



Poggio ai Chiari 2004, Colle Santa Mustiola (Tuscany, Italy)
Poggio ai Chiari 2004
Colle Santa Mustiola (Tuscany, Italy)
Grapes: Sangiovese (95%), Colorino (5%)
Price: € 34.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category
Poggio ai Chiari shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of brick red, moderate transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hint of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of raspberry, vanilla, licorice, mace, tobacco, chocolate, graphite and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, black cherry and raspberry. Poggio ai Chiari ages for 36 months in barrique followed by at least 24 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Poggio ai Chiari 2001, Colle Santa Mustiola (Tuscany, Italy)
Poggio ai Chiari 2001
Colle Santa Mustiola (Tuscany, Italy)
Grapes: Sangiovese (95%), Colorino (5%)
Price: € 50,00 Score:
Poggio ai Chiari shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of brick red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, chocolate, leather, tar, vanilla, licorice, graphite, mace, flint, undergrowth, tobacco and menthol. The mouth has excellent correspondence to the nose, a properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of plum, black cherry and blueberry. Poggio ai Chiari ages for 36 months in barrique followed by at least 24 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



L'Autentica 2007, Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
L'Autentica 2007
Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
Grapes: Moscato Bianco (70%), Malvasia Bianca (30%)
Price: € 29.00 Score:
L'Autentica shows a pale amber yellow color and nuances of amber yellow, transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of raisin, dried apricot and honey followed by aromas of candied fruits, lychee, peach jam, quince jam, dried fig, anise, orange marmalade, almond, vanilla and lavender. The mouth has excellent correspondence to the nose, a sweet attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness and crispness. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of raisin, dried apricot and honey. L'Autentica ages for at least 12 months in barrique followed by at least 12 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Hard and piquant cheese, Fruit tarts, Confectionery



Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo 2008, Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo 2008
Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
Grapes: Aglianico
Price: € 36.00 Score:
Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo show a deep ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of blackberry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, blueberry, vanilla, pink pepper, mace, leather, tobacco, chocolate, cinnamon and menthol. The mouth has excellent correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry. Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo ages for 24 months in cask followed by 24 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 113, December 2012   
The Importance of TastingThe Importance of Tasting Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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