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 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 133, October 2014   
Monovarietal WinesMonovarietal Wines Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 132, September 2014 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 134, November 2014

Monovarietal Wines

The study of monovarietal wines is very important in order to understand the expressive qualities of grapes in function of territory and wine making techniques

 Sensorial and critical tasting of wine is a practice requiring commitment, concentration, attention and - last but not the least - passion and curiosity. In such a vast wine scene, made of hundreds of different grapes leading - unavoidably - to the production of a virtually endless quantity of different wines, understanding their characteristics is very important. A condition which can also become even more difficult because of the huge quantity of grapes used for the production of wines in the world: only in Italy can be counted about five hundred different varieties. Many of them, of course, have a modest wine making use and, in many cases, even unique, however each of them has a proper wine making dignity and, as such, it is worth to be considered. The most common varieties increase - as a matter of fact - both difficulty and possibility of study.


 

 Sensorial tasting of monovarietal wines - that is the ones produced with just one variety - has a high educational value for every taster. The study of these particular wines, despite this can be seen as simple and easy, offers extremely broad and virtually endless conditions of analysis. The tasting of monovarietal wines - in order to understand their characteristics - cannot be done by just evaluating one sample or bottle. Like it is commonly known, and this certainly is one of the many interesting aspects of wine making and viticulture, a variety can have different and significant interpretations in function of environmental, cultural and enological conditions. To this we can also add the variable factors added by each vintage: the results become virtually endless.

 The peculiar characteristics of each variety can in fact change - even drastically - in function of these factors, although remaining, in certain aspects, fully recognizable. In other words, wines produced from Pinot Noir in Burgundy can be pretty different from those produced in Oregon, despite many of the typical characteristics of this variety will be recognizable in both cases. The same is true for every other variety: the specific characteristics of each grape will however be recognizable no matter of viticultural, environmental and enological conditions and factors. Another significant example is given by Merlot. Its renowned roundness, capable of giving wines an unmistakable smoothness, can be perceived also in wines produced in conditions, places and vintage being so different one from each other.

 The study of monovarietal wines is also fundamental for understanding the vast category of multivarietal wines, produced by using many varieties and according to specific wine making techniques. Knowing how to recognize the peculiar characteristics of each grape is therefore fundamental for the understanding and the evaluation of these wines, playing a very important role in the wine making scene. On this regard it should be noticed what it is considered by many a sort of magic attitude in which someone can tell a wine, area and vintage by simply watching the color or smelling the glass. This is of course possible, however it is something mainly associated to common belief instead to reality. It is not however a supernatural quality, indeed, it is the result of years spent in tasting wines and in a very strict and analytical way. Superficiality, it should not be forgotten, does not get along with analytical and sensorial tasting.


Clusters of Sangiovese: among the most
common grapes in Italy, its wines offer remarkable possibilities for the study
and understanding of varietal and territorial diversity
Clusters of Sangiovese: among the most common grapes in Italy, its wines offer remarkable possibilities for the study and understanding of varietal and territorial diversity

 There are varieties, in their evident and immediate character, being easier to recognize even after having tasted their wines for few times. On the contrary, there are varieties being more difficult to understand and less expressive: the skill required to recognize them takes a long time and practice: in certain cases, the risk of being mistaken with another grape is pretty high. It is about a study journey to be done step by step and, as such, it is best to begin by tasting varieties having unmistakable qualities. On this regard, it is good to taste all of aromatic varieties, that is the grapes which wines have a clear and evident aroma of grape. Because of the low number of grapes belonging to this category, their study is simple and very effective. Aromatic varieties, for the sake of clearness, are Muscat Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Brachetto.

 Let's begin this type of study and, to do so, we will compare three wines produced with these grapes, belonging to the same vintage and vinified as dry. This is a fundamental aspect, as Muscat Blanc and Brachetto are frequently vinified as sparkling, in particular in Italy. It is not required the three wines to be from the same territory or country: in this case we are interested in studying the aromatic characteristic of these grapes and their wines. This does not mean all the wines produced with these grapes have the same organoleptic qualities. With time we will understand also these grapes - having a strong and intense character - can have remarkable differences in function of the territory and vintage. In the beginning it will be enough to understand the peculiar characteristics of each of them by comparing the three wines one to each other in order to understand their analogies and differences.

 We can start from simple things while considering the huge variability of aromatic grapes in function of the many viticultural and wine making factors. The next step we can do - after having made friends with the three aromatic varieties - is to focus our study on just one of them. In order not to introduce disturbing elements which could excessively affect the result of the evaluation, in the beginning it is better to avoid wines produced with particular wine making techniques, such as the use of cask and barrique. These elements in fact give wines organoleptic characteristics which can change - sometimes even drastically - the specific qualities of grapes. It is better to pay attention on territorial and viticultural differences, last but not the least, wines produced in different vintages as well. The important thing is that wines are produced with inert containers, such as steel or cement.

 We may consider, for example, Gewürztraminer wines produced in three different areas, such as South Tyrol, Rhine Valley and Alsace. In case we want to broad our possibilities of study, we may also add Gewürztraminer wines produced in Sicily and Australia, in order to have a better idea offered by different territories. The fundamental factor is that wines must be produced in inert containers and possibly belonging to the same vintage or however in vintages of adjacent years. Wines produced with the same variety and coming from different areas, let us understand the influence of climate and how the heat and cold affect not only aromas but also body. The same consideration can be done for vintage, its meteorological condition and the period of harvesting. A method of study that, it should be noticed, is valid for every variety, despite studying aromatic grapes certainly is easier than non aromatic grapes.

 By practicing and with time, we can increase the difficulty by studying monovarietal wines produced in wood containers, such as cask and barrique. At this point we should be able to recognize the main characteristics of the varieties we are studying and we can therefore try to spot their organoleptic qualities by isolating the contribution of wood. This exercise can be considered simple, as one can think the recognition of the organoleptic qualities of wood are evident and obvious, therefore easily recognizable. Indeed, despite in certain cases the influence of wood is excessive, therefore dominant, time and responsible use of cask may introduce light and harmonic organoleptic characteristics, in a way to pass completely unnoticed to the superficial taster.

 By continuing the study of monovarietal wines, another interesting exercise is represented by the evaluation of four samples - produced by the same winery and in the same area - having different wine making characteristics. For example, we could examine four bottles made from the same variety of which one being young and vinified in inert container, another one being young and aged in wood, then the same wines aged for some years in bottle. This exercise offers the possibility of understanding how a variety can evolve with time and in function of how it was vinified, while considering, in any case, the peculiar and specific characteristics of their respective vintages. In theory, the exercise should be done for every territory in which the variety being studied is significantly cultivated, while taking into account the peculiar characteristic of the variety will always be found according to the interpretation of vintage and grape.

 By considering what has been said so far, it is clear case studies are countless and, as such, it is not simple - although not impossible - to remember everything and to treasure our tasting experience. On this regard it is useful to make use of that trick every taster should never stop using: writing down his or her own impressions and to take note. A simple and effective method, our notes will be always useful whenever we are about to taste a wine produced with the varieties of which we have written down our personal and sensorial impressions. In order to quickly retrieve our past tasting experiences when we need them, it certainly is good to catalog and order them in a functional and practical way.

 The study of monovarietal wine is not a practice reserved to beginners only. This type of study, in all of its countless variables, follows - like to say - the life of every taster. Not only a fundamental exercise for the understanding of each variety in function of the territory and the many productive factors, but also a useful practice for improving our skills and training. Moreover, tasting monovarietal wines is fundamental for the understanding and study of the ones called multivarietal, that is produced by blending different grapes. Knowing each variety and its wine making expression will in fact be useful for recognizing them in those wines in which they are used with other grapes. After all, it is not possible to recognize a grape or territory in case you do not know it or you never tasted it. Recognizing a variety among many others is a remarkable satisfaction, the right reward for the time spent in this type of study.

 






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 133, October 2014   
Monovarietal WinesMonovarietal Wines Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 132, September 2014 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 134, November 2014

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




Tuscan Soul Abrusco 2011, Ferlaino (Tuscany, Italy)
Tuscan Soul Abrusco 2011
Ferlaino (Tuscany, Italy)
Abrusco
Price: € 22.00 Score:

Deep ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, impenetrable to light.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas, starts with hints of black cherry, blackberry and blueberry followed by aromas of plum, violet, vanilla, tobacco, pink pepper and mace.
Good correspondence to the nose, tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, blackberry and blueberry.
18 months in barrique, 8 months in bottle.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat, Hard cheese



Tango 2010, Ferlaino (Tuscany, Italy)
Tango 2010
Ferlaino (Tuscany, Italy)
Merlot (58%), Cabernet Franc (25%), Petit Verdot (10%), Teroldego (7%)
Price: € 30.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, vanilla, blueberry, tobacco, chocolate, mace and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and plum.
18 months in barrique, 8 months in steel tanks, at least 8 months in bottle.
Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Tulipa 2013, Fattoria Vignavecchia (Tuscany, Italy)
Tulipa 2013
Fattoria Vignavecchia (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 10.00 Score:

Intense pale pink color and nuances of pale pink, transparent.
Intense, clean and pleasing aromas, starts with hints of cherry, plum and blackberry followed by aromas of raspberry, strawberry and cyclamen.
Good correspondence to the nose, crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, raspberry and plum.
6 months in steel tanks, 2 in bottle.
Meat appetizers, Pasta with fish, Roasted fish, Dairy products



Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2006, Fattoria Vignavecchia (Tuscany, Italy)
Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2006
Fattoria Vignavecchia (Tuscany, Italy)
Malvasia Bianca
Price: € 17.00 - 375ml Score: Wine that excels in its category

Deep amber yellow color and nuances of amber yellow, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of raisin, dried fig and caramel followed by aromas of almond, date, honey, vanilla, lavender, walnut, citrus fruit peel, tobaco and nail polish.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of raisin, dried fig and date.
5 years in caratelli barrels.
Jam and dried fruit tarts, Hard and piquant cheese



Roncha 2012, Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Roncha 2012
Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Garganega (50%), Pinot Grigio (20%), Trebbiano di Soave (20%), Durella (10%)
Price: € 18.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow color and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and hawthorn followed by aromas of pear, pineapple, broom, peach, almond and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, peach and plum.
A small part of Garganega is dried for 5-6 months. Aged in cask and steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta, Broiled fish, Roasted white meat



Valpolicella Ripasso Col de la Bastia 2011, Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Valpolicella Ripasso Col de la Bastia 2011
Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Corvina (65%), Corvinone (15%), Rondinella (10%), Altre Uve (10%)
Price: € 28.00 Score:

Intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of blackberry, plum and black cherry followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, tobacco, vanilla, chocolate, mace and menthol.
Good correspondence to the nose, properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
18 months in cask.
Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Broiled meat and barbecue



Torgiano Rosso Riserva Rubesco Vigna Monticchio 2007, Lungarotti (Umbria, Italy)
Torgiano Rosso Riserva Rubesco Vigna Monticchio 2007
Lungarotti (Umbria, Italy)
Sangiovese (70%), Canaiolo Nero (30%)
Price: € 26.00 Score:

Intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, vanilla, anise, chocolate, tobacco, pink pepper, mace, cinnamon and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of plum, black cherry and blueberry.
12 months in barrique, 4 years in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese



San Giorgio 2005, Lungarotti (Umbria, Italy)
San Giorgio 2005
Lungarotti (Umbria, Italy)
Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Sangiovese (40%), Canaiolo Nero (10%)
Price: € 25.00 Score:

Intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant. starts with hints of plum, black currant and black cherry followed by aromas of dried violet, blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, licorice, chocolate, tobacco, leather, mace and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry.
12 months in barrique, at least 36 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 133, October 2014   
Monovarietal WinesMonovarietal Wines Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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