Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 
Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide


   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 181, February 2019   
The Charm of RoundnessThe Charm of Roundness  Contents 
Issue 180, January 2019 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter 

The Charm of Roundness


 The taste of wine has undergone, and continues to undergo, undeniable changes, a condition evidently accompanying the beverage of Bacchus from the dawn of its discovery. These changes, which have inevitably influenced the consumption habits and preferences of the last twenty years, have been characterized by sudden changes of direction, as well as returns to the past. From the domination of red wines to the supremacy of the whites, then going back to the reds, looking with interest at the bubbles and without disdaining white wines again. It is not just a matter of enological styles, but also of specifics sensorial qualities, from dry to sweet and then back to dry, the taste and preferences influencing the world of wine have never ceased to move into an endless change. In all these changes in consumption and taste preferences, a quality seems to resist unaltered the effects of time: roundness.


 

 This particular sensorial sensation – not to be confused with sweetness – seems to be eternal, so much so that it is definitely fascinating for many wine lovers. An easy sensation to recognize, often a rabbit pulled out of a hat in many wines, a successful expedient for many wine makers, roundness never seems to see the sunset in the glasses of wine lovers. Roundness, undeniably, is capable of directly and immediately conquering the senses of any consumer, a quality often desired and wanted, it does not require much attention in order to be perceived and appreciated. In this regard – in case this could be of interest to someone – wines having a notable roundness do not meet my personal taste, but it is clear this particular sensorial and tactile quality is appreciated by many. In general terms, I prefer dry wines, sometimes also rough, with character and powerful personality, in any case having with elegance, however it is undeniable in certain wines roundness is capable of giving a better balance, harmony and class.

 What is roundness exactly? And why does it meet the taste and preferences of many consumers so easily? Defining roundness referred to wine is not easy because – in its definition – is caused by many substances, some of them capable of causing different stimuli, as in the case of alcohol and sugar or, more specifically, the so-called “polyalcohols” of which, as far as this stimulus is concerned, glycerol definitely is the most important one. Roundness is perceived in the mouth with a sensation, more or less intense, of a certain viscosity and “thickness”, such as to give wine, so to speak, a more “mellow” taste. As an example, we can consider, as a reference, the tactile sensation perceived in the mouth by water and butter respectively. Water flows easily and without impediments; butter, on the other hand, moves in the mouth more slowly and with an accentuated viscosity, also giving the sensation of “coating” the oral cavity.

 In wine, of course – except in case of specific defects and serious faults – the intense sensation of roundness produced by the butter will never be perceived, however there will be a perception recalling that stimulus, although decidedly lower. Roundness undeniably meets the favor of consumers because of its accommodating and reassuring mouth feel, easily understandable without concentrating too much, capable of vaguely remembering the simple satisfaction of sweet taste. A stimulus that often guarantees the commercial success of a wine, simply because it can easily meet the taste of a vast number of consumers. At the base of this success there are several factors, well-known to wine makers and producers who “create” this particular stimulus in their wines. This is generally achieved by using notoriously “round” grapes and by accentuating this quality with appropriate corrections through the addition of certain substances, absolutely legal, such as gum arabic.

 In this regard – and for the sake of clarity – gum arabic is also used as a wine stabilizer for its effect of limiting tartaric precipitation, but it is undeniable it also gives a more or less evident roundness. Moreover, gum arabic is also capable of lowering the astringency in wines as well as the perception of sensorial stimuli having a bitter taste, a characteristic which, obviously, further enhances roundness. There are also grapes that naturally produce wines with a perceptible roundness, among them, the most famous ones are Chardonnay and Merlot. These two grapes give an appreciable roundness to their wines, moreover, they are also well suited for the fermentation and aging in cask or barrique, a technique that further contributes to the sensation of roundness. The well-known characteristic of these two grapes, capable of making wines with a less sharp and more round quality, has been the foundation of their success, also blended to countless grapes, in particular those having a strong astringent and dry impact.

 In recent years there has been a lot of debates – and this subject is still alive – about the roundness in wines, often also in a derogatory and negative way, violently blaming Chardonnay, Merlot and barrique, responsible, according to these accusations, of excessive standardization and, of course, roundness. However round wines, regardless of what some say or prefer, continue to be successful and get the consensus of a large part of consumers. Blamed, for this reason, of having, so to speak, a simple taste and preference, even considered inexperienced or ignorant about wine, these consumers however continue to prefer this kind of wines and determine their commercial success. Producers, of course, are well-disposed and happy to satisfy them, both by using grapes that notoriously produce this sensation, and with enological techniques and practices capable of favoring it. Like i said, I do not belong to the category of those who appreciate the obvious roundness in wines, it is however undeniable their success is evident and indisputable. If we then consider roundness is a sensorial characteristic that has managed to survive in the course of the history of wine, even resisting to fierce criticism, not least important, sought by many, there surely is more than one good reason justifying its unaltered and accommodating charm.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 181, February 2019   
The Charm of RoundnessThe Charm of Roundness  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
In what moment of the day do you usually drink wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
What kind of wine do you like having in February?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
What is the most pleasing aspect in wine tasting?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 


Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 

Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2019 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.