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 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 121, September 2013   
The Role of Grapes in TastingThe Role of Grapes in Tasting Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 120, Summer 2013 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 122, October 2013

The Role of Grapes in Tasting

Everything begins from grape, a journey setting its roots in the soil and territory, therefore ending in the senses of humans. The destiny of every wine is the result of the fate of a small berry

 Everything begins with grape, from that small golden or purple red berry having a sweet and sour juice. It may seem to be not that much, but the destiny of every wine is indissolubly associated, harvesting after harvesting, to the fate of those small grape berries. The quality of every wine, for better or for worse, begins from here, from the quality and characteristics of grapes with which is it being produced. Not everything depends on grapes, of course, as there are many factors playing a role in the quality of a wine. Grape is just one of the many and, undoubtedly, it plays a fundamental and irreplaceable role. All the other factors - among the many, environment, micro climate and soil - are elements playing a role in order to reach the same goal: determining wine making and organoleptic qualities and characteristics of grapes. The goal is to favor the best viticultural conditions in order to get the best possible quality.


 

 In the winery, as it is commonly known, there can be made real miracles, by completely changing a wine and its characteristics, however with a bad quality raw matter the job becomes pretty hard. Quality grapes, in case they are properly processed and respected in the winery, will easily give quality wines, bad quality grapes will make, in the best case, a mediocre wine. For the sake of truth, also in the best cases it is sometimes possible to get a wine making failure: there is also who is capable of making a mediocre wine from good quality grapes. Quality wine is however the result of a process beginning in vineyard and ending in the glass, determined by the culture and presuppositions for quality used in the cultivation of grapes and in the winery. The goodness of these processes determine the sensorial and organoleptic quality of every wine.

 We cannot talk about the best grapes in an absolute way, as the quality of every grape is always relative to the territory in which it is being cultivated and depending on human interventions. On this regard, we can consider, for example, one of the most famous grapes of the world and capable of making wines of endless elegance: Pinot Noir. Hard grape to cultivate and to vinify, Pinot Noir, first of all, needs quite specific environmental and climatic conditions, giving its best wines in non excessively warm areas. Cultivated and vinified in hot and sunny areas, Pinot Noir completely loses its elegant character and becomes flat and round, with ordinary aromas so distant from the typical finesse of this variety. A grape capable of giving great wines in a place, it is not necessarily capable of doing the same in other places.

 Every grape has absolutely typical qualities and which tend to come out from the glass no matter the place where it was being cultivated, qualities strongly marking the presence of each specific grape in a wine. These characteristics, affecting every organoleptic aspect of a wine, are however perceived with different intensities and quality according to territory, cultivation and wine making techniques. By still considering Pinot Noir as an example, no matter the place where it has been cultivated in, the grape always expresses to the taste its characteristic acidity as well as showing a pretty high transparency. The intensity of these stimuli change according to the territory, however the typical characteristics of every grape will always be - and in general terms - found in all of their wines. The organoleptic characteristic to be mainly affected by cultivation, territory and environment is the olfactory profile.


Everything begins from the vineyard: the
good and bad qualities of a wine depend on the fruits of vine
Everything begins from the vineyard: the good and bad qualities of a wine depend on the fruits of vine

 The intensity and quality of primary and secondary aromas of a grape are frequently affected by the environmental and climatic conditions of the place where it is being cultivated. Every territory is in fact capable of giving a wine nuances and characteristics absolutely unique, a condition which is expressed in every sensorial aspect of a wine and, in particular, in the olfactory profile. For example, let's consider Sauvignon Blanc: its characteristic aromas will be completely lost in excessively hot and sunny places, whereas they will express of all their finesse in cool and mild places. For the sake of completeness, it should be noticed the organoleptic quality of a wine - smell and taste, in particular - are also strongly affected by grape ripeness at the moment of harvesting. Unripe grapes will make wines with a pronounced acidity, whereas ripe ones will give a rounder and smoother taste.

 The characteristics of the soil strongly affects the quality of grapes, as well as their coloring property. The composition of the soil- and therefore the rootstock of a vine - directly affects not only the cultivation and biology of the plant, but also wine making and organoleptic qualities of a grape. For example, grapes cultivated in a mainly sandy soil, will give wines with paler color and a high transparency, with a light body. The same variety cultivated, for example, in a soil mainly made of clay, it will give a wine with a more intense color and a lower transparency, as well as a more robust and round body. Every soil has specific qualities, capable - according to its composition - to drain or to hold water as well as organic and mineral substances. Clay has a higher capacity of absorbing water than sand, as well as having a lower draining factor.

 Besides the care you should take both in vineyard and in winery in order to get quality grapes and, therefore, wines capable of expressing the best characteristics of a variety, we should also consider every grape has specific qualities affecting the sensorial profile of a wine. Every variety has in fact proper qualities which can determine, in good part, the organoleptic characteristics of their wines. From color to taste, every grape claims its identity through wine by exalting, last but not the least, the expression of the territory in which it has been cultivated. These factors, we should not forget it, are however defined according to viticultural and wine making criteria and processes. The qualities of grapes and their sensorial peculiarities can in fact be altered - both in a negative and positive way - in the vineyard as well as in the winery. It will be the honesty and culture of both vintner and wine maker to define this important qualitative and organoleptic factor.

 The aspect of a wine is mainly determined by the primary classification of grape variety, a quality expressing different colors and nuances according to each variety. White berried grapes, apparently capable of making wine with the same white hue - indeed, it is yellow - make a wide variety of nuances and colors. The chromatic richness could seem wider in red berried grapes, indeed, also white berried grapes are capable of such a range. In red grapes, the coloring property is determined by anthocyans, polyphenolic substances that, according to quantity, determine both intensity of color and transparency. Transparency in white wines is generally very high, however it will be possible to see chromatic differences depending on the specific qualities of each variety. Color and transparency of each grape - either white or red - can be altered, increased or decreased, by using specific wine making techniques, such as filtering and the use of cask or barrique.

 Among the organoleptic aspects of a wine, the one mainly expressing the quality of grapes is the olfactory profile. Also in this case we should notice by means of specific wine making technique it is possible to alter, or even completely change, the olfactory profile of a wine and its grapes. According to an aromatic point of view, grapes are classified into three categories: aromatic grapes, semi aromatic grapes and non aromatic grapes. To the first category uniquely belong the grapes whose wines directly express the typical aroma of grape and its juice; to the second those which partially have this characteristic; to the third all the varieties in which this characteristic is not found. On this regard, it should be noticed alcoholic fermentation is fundamental for the expression of grape's aromas. For this reason it is in fact said that “the aromas of grapes are revealed through fermentation thanks to the job of yeast”.

 Yeast can substantially affect the olfactory profile of a grape, this is however an unavoidable characteristic as they are indispensable both for alcoholic fermentation and the aromatic expression of a grape. This is one of the main reasons feeding the endless debate among the ones who favor the use of the so called selected yeast and those who favor the exclusive use of wild yeast. In every place, every vineyard, there is the development of a specific colony and combination of yeast absolutely unique, a condition being true both for yeast having a positive effect on fermentation and those having a negative effect. The influence of yeast on the aromatic profile of the grape is also according to variety, as some grape aromas are however found and well perceptible despite the work of yeast. The aromas perceived in the glass are therefore the direct result of grape olfactory profile to which are added the aromatic characteristics of yeast and fermentation aromas.

 The taste of wine is determined by grape's organoleptic qualities. Grape juice, tasted as soon as it is freshly made, has a sweet and sour taste, becoming more or less astringent in case of red grapes and which already got this color. Grape juice taste, or better to say, each flavor making it, changes according to variety and ripeness. In ripe grapes the quantity of sugar will be higher than unripe grapes, whereas in unripe grapes we find the very opposite condition. Also at full ripeness, each grape is characterized by an absolutely unique sugar to acid substances ratio. For example, we can consider Merlot and Pinot Noir: the former has a lower quantity of acid substances than the second. This characteristic will directly affect both the gustatory profile of wine and its balance, as well as the potential quantity of alcohol produced at the end of fermentation.

 The same consideration is true - as for red berried grapes - for the quantity of polyphenolic substances contained in the skin and responsible for wine astringency. For the sake of clearness, the intensity of astringency in a wine is also determined by the time of maceration of skins in the must. This means a very astringent grape can also make a wine with a moderate astringency in case the maceration time is short. Finally, the quality and nature of aromas in a wine contribute to the overall definition of taste. A wine with a non truly rich and simple olfactory profile, will tend to have an equally simple and non truly complex taste. Grapes, of course, are not sugar and acid substances only: in their composition we also find mineral substances and proteins, both directly affecting the taste of wine and its tactile characteristics. The quality and quantity of these substances are also relative to the type of soil in which the grape was cultivated, this is also proving - once again - the importance of territory, unique and unrepeatable, for the expression of a grape and its wines.

 






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 121, September 2013   
The Role of Grapes in TastingThe Role of Grapes in Tasting Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 120, Summer 2013 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 122, October 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




Grechetto 2012, Chiorri (Umbria, Italy)
Grechetto 2012
Chiorri (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Grechetto
Price: € 4.50 Score:   Good value wine
This Grechetto shows a brilliant straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose denotes intense, clean and pleasing aromas that start with hints of apple, hawthorn and pear followed by aromas of broom, plum and hazelnut. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, plum and pear. This Grechetto ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Pasta with meat, Mushroom soups, Stuffed pasta, Sauteed meat, Broiled fish



Colli Perugini Rosso Saliato 2010, Chiorri (Umbria, Italy)
Colli Perugini Rosso Saliato 2010
Chiorri (Umbria, Italy)
Grapes: Sangiovese (50%), Merlot (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%)
Price: € 6.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category
Colli Perugini Rosso Saliato shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of blueberry, vanilla, black currant and raspberry. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry, plum and black currant. Colli Perugini Rosso Saliato ages in barrique.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese



Kaberḷ, Le Manzane (Veneto, Italy)
Kaberlò
Le Manzane (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (50%), Merlot (50%)
Price: € 8.50 Score:   Good value wine
Kaberlò shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black currant, plum and black cherry followed by aromas of blueberry, bell pepper, dried violet, vanilla, tobacco and eucalyptus. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry. Kaberlò ages in cement tanks and cask for 18 months.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat



Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Millesimo 20.10 2011, Le Manzane (Veneto, Italy)
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Millesimo 20.10 2011
Le Manzane (Veneto, Italy)
Grapes: Glera
Price: € 12.50 Score:
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Millesimo 20.10 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 apple, pineapple and wistaria followed by aromas of hawthorn, peach, pear, chamomile, tangerine and broom. 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, peach and pineapple. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Millesimo 20.10 referments in closed tank for about 2 months.
Food Match: Vegetable and crustacean appetizers, Pasta and risotto with vegetable and crustaceans



Langhe Riesling Herzu 2011, Ettore Germano (Piedmont, Italy)
Langhe Riesling Herzu 2011
Ettore Germano (Piedmont, Italy)
Grapes: Riesling
Price: € 16.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category
Langhe Riesling Herzu shows a pale straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of pear, pineapple and citrus fruits followed by aromas of apple, broom, peach, hawthorn, mineral, plum and flint. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of pear, pineapple and peach. Langhe Riesling Herzu ages in steel tanks for 6 months.
Food Match: Fried fish, Pasta and risotto with crustaceans, Broiled crustaceans



Barolo Riserva Lazzarito 2006, Ettore Germano (Piedmont, Italy)
Barolo Riserva Lazzarito 2006
Ettore Germano (Piedmont, Italy)
Grapes: Nebbiolo
Price: € 50.00 Score:
Barolo Riserva Lazzarito 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 hints of cherry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of raspberry, dried rose, chocolate, vanilla, licorice, mace, tobacco, undergrowth, leather and menthol. The mouth has very good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and pleasing crispness, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of plum, cherry and raspberry. Barolo Riserva Lazzarito ages for 30 months in cask followed by 24 months of aging in bottle.
Food Match: Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Barolo Bricat 2007, Manzone Giovanni (Piedmont, Italy)
Barolo Bricat 2007
Manzone Giovanni (Piedmont, Italy)
Grapes: Nebbiolo
Price: € 42.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category
Barolo Bricat shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of plum, cherry and plum followed by aromas of raspberry, tobacco, vanilla, rose, chocolate, iris, mace, cinnamon and menthol. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and pleasing crispness, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, cherry and raspberry. Barolo Bricat ages for 36 months in cask.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Barolo Riserva Le Gramolere 2005, Manzone Giovanni (Piedmont, Italy)
Barolo Riserva Le Gramolere 2005
Manzone Giovanni (Piedmont, Italy)
Grapes: Nebbiolo
Price: € 66.00 Score:
Barolo Riserva Le Gramolere 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 hints of cherry, prune and dried violet followed by aromas of raspberry jam, dried rose, vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, cinnamon, leather, licorice, clover, mace and menthol. The mouth has excellent correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and pleasing crispness, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness. The finish is very persistent with long flavors of cherry, prune and raspberry jam. Barolo Riserva Le Gramolere ages for 26 months in cask.
Food Match: Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



 


 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 121, September 2013   
The Role of Grapes in TastingThe Role of Grapes in Tasting Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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