wine tasting

'Albana Dei’: Walter Speller's Tasting Notes

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Conceived by Carlo Catani and Andrea Spada and now in its eighth edition, Albana Dei is certainly one of the main events dedicated to the promotion of the Romagna white grape par excellence, Albana, a raw material capable of giving wines of absolute excellence. which, thanks to an increasingly careful development and promotion work, are enjoying ever greater favor from Italian and international consumers.

At its debut as part of this important event, Tenute d'Italia is pleased to receive and share with its public the important feedback obtained from its wines entered in the competition, submitted to a panel of international judges: below are the tasting notes produced by Walter Speller of Jancis Robinson.


ROMAGNA ALBANA D.O.C.G. SECCO 2016 “SINTRIA” / TENUTA DEL PRINCIPE

Aged on the fine lees in barrique. 

Tasted blind. Pale amber and the appearance of a sweet wine. Sweet, honeyed deep fruit with nutty (oak?) notes. Opens up like a sweet wine. Notes of orange liqueur, caramelised orange and lemon curd with nutty hints and ripe lemony acidity on the palate. Viscous and full-bodied. Probably dry but gives the impression of a little residual sugar on the finish offset by soft, bitter tannins.

ROMAGNA ALBANA D.O.C.G. SECCO 2018 “GUALCHIERA” / CANALE DEI MOLINI

Tasted blind. Mid to deep straw yellow. Perfumed, honeyed, lifted lemon fruit with nutty notes and a hint of browning apple. Creamy notes on a completely dry palate. Savoury lemon-confit fruit that is quite suppressed. Slightly oxidative style and will probably age fast. 


 

"Barrels": remember the difference?

"Barrique"... "Barrel-ageing"... "Barrique cellar"... what feelings do these terms evoke?

They create in the listener's mind, warm images of ancient cellars, where centuries-old barrels defy time in guarding their precious contents and all the more so if the listener is a wine enthusiast.

Indeed, one of the most evocative and fundamental phases in the production of many wines is when they are transferred to a barrel, in which they begin their ageing process. And it is precisely the interaction that the wine has with the wood, during the time they are in contact, that will determine its organoleptic characteristics of flavour, structure, aroma and complexity, its 'personality'.

Historically, when did people start using wood in the ageing of wines?

Throughout winemaking history, wood and terracotta have been the very oldest materials used for storing and transporting wines. The first to discover the benefits of wood in wine production seem to have been the Gauls and then the Romans, who began to consider this material not simply as a transport container but as a tool to be used skilfully to develop the organoleptic qualities of the wines that were placed within it.

Today, thanks to the improvement of toasting techniques in the production of barriques, we obtain woods with highly prized characteristics capable of enhancing the ageing of great red wines as well as whites, prompting producers in more and more cases to increase their barriques in order to age not only part of their production but even in its entirety.

What are the different types of barrels and according to what criteria are producers choosing them for ageing their wines?

In general, wooden 'Barrels' can be classified according to their shape and capacity, the wood used in their construction and the treatment they undergo, the so-called toasting.

In terms of shape and size, a wooden 'Cask' can be classified as Barrique, Tonneaux or Botte Grande. Let us examine the characteristics of each type.

Barrique. One of the most widely used in the world is the Bordeaux Barrique from Bordeaux, France, which has a capacity of 225 litres. Equally widely used is the Barrique from the Burgundy region, the so-called Burgundy Barrique, which has a capacity of 228 litres. The latter differs externally from Bordeaux because it is lower and has a more pronounced belly.

Barrique is characterised by having a greater surface area of wine in contact with the wood than other barrels of greater volume. This characteristic leads to a much more pronounced impact of the wood on the sensory properties of the wine, thanks to a greater oxygenation and release of polyphenols that help soften the tannins, stabilise the colours and give a greater contribution to the aromatic compounds.

Tonneaux. These are larger containers, with a greater capacity ranging from 400 to 800 litres, but with a smaller surface area in contact with the wine, which leads to slower oxygenation of the wine and a less noticeable impact on the wine's aromatic and polyphenolic components than barrels. For these reasons, Tonneaux are widely used by producers for those wines for which the aim is to preserve the primary aromas.

Last, we find the Large Barrels, with capacities normally ranging from 1000 to 5000 litres. This type of barrel has a much more limited influence on the development of the wine due to the greater thickness of the staves and a very light toasting of the wood. When are Large Barrels used? It is usually used where the producer wishes the wine to age very gently while preserving the typical character of the vine and its territorial identity.

Then, as mentioned above, the type of wood used in the construction of the barrel is also important when it comes to assessing wine-wood interaction. French Oak and American Oak are the two most commonly used species. In the case of French wood, this is the most prestigious and is characterised by providing a higher quantity of tannins that contribute elegance to the wine. American oak, on the other hand, has a greater influence on the aromatic composition of the wine, helping it to develop sweeter notes.

The last aspect to be highlighted deals with the so-called Barrel Toasting, i.e., the time the barrel spends on the fire, which not only fixes the curvature of the staves but also modifies the phenolic character of the wood. For example, as a rule, Barriques compared to Tonneaux or Large Barrels have a more pronounced toasting which greatly affects the aroma of the wine and the degree to which they release more or less sweet tannins. Just as a strong roast will produce a much more pronounced transfer of tertiary aromas (vanilla, spices, roasted notes and roasting aromas) than a light roast.

We have tried to explain in a simple way what lies behind the use of a barrel. As you can see, the choice of using a certain type of barrel, made from a certain type of wood, with a certain degree of toasting is not random. Each good oenologist will make his or her own choices according to the characteristics of the wine he or she wants to age, the type of structure he or she wants it to develop (e.g., a high alcohol content, or a good acidity or a certain polyphenolic content), and its capacity for ageing.

Good 'wood' to all!

A Simply Perfect Tasting

Our senses and a great curiosity are the essential tools to start discovering wine and its secrets. When we prepare to taste a wine, there are however a series of precautions that it is always good to take in consideration in order to guarantee that our experience will take place in optimal conditions.

First of all it is necessary to provide our senses with a perfect working environment, that is to avoid anything that could interfere with our perceptions, to alter or diminish them: but let’s take one step at a time.

We could say that sight is the most immediate sense with which we know the reality that surrounds us: "the first glance", you know, is fundamental when you meet someone for the first time, and the same also applies when it comes to getting to know a wine. We will be able to see in detail how and why visual analysis is able to provide us with essential elements for judging a wine, but first of all it is necessary to make sure that we can collect our data correctly.

The environment in which we perform our tasting must first of all be well lit, preferably by natural white light (sunlight). Therefore we should avoid dark or dim places, as well as neon or coloured lights that can significantly alter our perception of colours.

Another essential element is the glass, that is the glass through which we will observe the wine: the glass must be perfectly clean, transparent (so, not coloured) and smooth, without any decoration that may impede a clear and correct view of the content.

If we can count on such small, simple precautions to ensure correct visual analysis, ensuring an optimal environment for the nose requires much more attention. 

The general criterion obviously remains that of carrying out our tasting in the absence of environmental interferences, regardless of whether they are pleasant or not. Whether we taste a wine on the edge of a road, in the presence of smog, or engage in tasting near perfumed flowers or aromatic herbs it can equally jeopardize a good result.

By the same principle, it is advisable to taste the wine before approaching the meal, but also to watch out for less visible details!

When we have a tasting we advise our clients not to wear any perfumes or cosmetic products that could, even without our realizing it, interfere with our perception of the bouquet. What could interfere with our tasting abilities should therefore be sought not only in the environment, but also in the way we prepare for tasting. In fact, we ourselves are able to alter our perceptions, and this is most evident when it comes to taste.

Just as for the sense of smell, smoking is certainly one of the factors that can disturb the optimal functionality of our sense of taste, equally important can be the repercussions of some daily activities, from simply brushing our teeth or eating a candy (some components such as menthol cause a temporary alteration of our sense of taste) to having just swallowed very hot or very cold foods or drinks.

Still on the subject of temperature, even that of the wine itself is a crucial element in being able to fully appreciate its characteristics both on the nose and on the palate, capable of enhancing it but also of compromising - almost to the point of eliminating - the aromas.

To accompany our tasting, it is important to choose the most neutral accompaniments possible - like simple plain bread - while if we want to taste the wine we are going to serve at the table it will again be advisable to make a first taste before the meal - leaving the pairing evaluation until later.

What we have illustrated are all precautions through which, very simply, we can prepare ourselves to gain knowledge of a wine in the best possible way. Though numerous, all the elements we mentioned are linked by the relative ease with which it is possible to manage them, thus making it possible for everyone to be able to perform a simply perfect tasting.

FRIZZANTE VS. SPUMANTE: What lies behind two types of wine that are in such great demand in the summertime?

How many times has 'bubbly' brightened up happy, sometimes unforgettable moments in our lives!

But what lies behind the production of these two types of wine, normally so loved by the female public, and the undisputed protagonists of our aperitifs and the summer period?

What is the difference between a Vino Frizzante (semi-sparkling wine) and a Spumante (sparkling wine)?

Abroad, both types are encapsulated under the single term 'sparkling wine', but between the two there is a basic technical difference in the production of the so-called 'bubbly', a difference which, as producers, we feel it is important to convey to you.

Let us first talk about the amount of carbon dioxide present in both wines.

In Frizzante wine, the 'bubble' will be weaker than in Spumante, since, according to the specifications laid down by the European Union, it must have a maximum pressure of 2.5 bar, as opposed to Spumante whose minimum pressure is set at 3 bar (although normally the average pressure for Spumante varies between 4 and 5 bar).

You may be asking yourself: But how do you get the right pressure?

Two ways:

- ARTIFICIALLY: by adding carbon dioxide directly into the steel tank where the wine is stored. What is important is that in this case, the words 'carbon dioxide added' are compulsory on the bottle label. This is why we advise you to read the bottle labels carefully: you can identify important information that enables you to make a real quality-price comparison of the product.

- NATURALLY: by acting on the natural fermentation of the wine.

Let us focus on the latter method. How does the natural process of wine effervescence take place?

Explaining it simply, we can say that natural sparkling wine is obtained following an initial fermentation in which the sugars in the must are transformed into alcohol and induce the development of carbon dioxide. The presence of the correct quantity of sugars affects the formation of the correct effervescence.

Then, after an initial fermentation, a re-fermentation can take place, which mainly take place according to two historical methods that you may have heard of:

- 'Charmat' method (developed by its inventor Federico Martinotti in 1895, but patented by the Frenchman Eugène Charmat about 15 years later): involves a second fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel isobaric tanks;

- Metodo 'Classico' i.e. the Classical Method (or 'Champenoise' method, a clear reference to the French region known as Champagne, where this method was born and famous for the sparkling wine that bears its name): involves a second fermentation directly in the bottle according to a process that is well-defined at every stage.

Now, without dwelling too much on the technical aspects (which we will perhaps address in a separate article), sparkling wines, which we said differ from semi-sparkling wines in that they have a minimum pressure of 3 bar, are produced using both of the above-mentioned natural ' effervescing' methods.

Many wine lovers who are familiar with the delicate and time-consuming process of the 'Classical' method often ask: "Is a sparkling wine made with the 'Classical' method better than one made with the 'Charmat' method?"

No. Apart from the marketing one wants to do about it, it is not a question of better or worse. The choice of one sparkling wine technique over the other depends on many factors. Much will depend on the grape variety one cultivates, the type of wine one wants to create and the market for which it is intended.

In terms of the grape variety, there are some wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Nero, and some types of Lambrusco, where the producer seeks to enhance delicacy and aromatic complexity due to the development of secondary aromas given by re-fermentation and tertiary aromas developed by keeping the wine on its lees through the 'Classic' method. On the other hand, there are wines such as Pignoletto or Trebbiano where one wants to preserve the aromatic freshness and varietal aromas and therefore one prefers to referment the wine in stainless steel tanks to maintain these primary aromas.   

In terms of the market, refermentation of a wine involves high costs for producers, costs due to the use of yeasts and sugars, which, according to EU regulations, can only be from grape must, partially fermented grape must, concentrated must and rectified concentrated must. Therefore, the choice of refermentation technique will have to take into consideration the production costs and the spending capacity of the markets to which the wines are destined and, at the end of the day, will determine the type and quality of the product.

In Italy, we have both excellent Frizzante wines and Spumante wines that have nothing to envy from their competitors beyond the Alps.

Which 'bubbly' will you choose?

 

White sparkling wine: the consolidated love between grape juice and bubbles

Pignoletto DOC Spumante Santerno: the perfect wine for a sultry summer

How and Why Learn to Taste a Wine

In the previous article we introduced the topic of tasting by explaining how an organized approach to our glass can enrich and enhance our experience as wine consumers.

Gathering information and making the connections is in fact the key to learning to understand the language with which wine speaks, gradually revealing within us an ever increasing ability to decode the numerous messages enclosed in every sip.

Acquiring a good tasting technique clearly takes time, and to a certain extent it can even be said that on this topic we never really stop learning!The possibilities offered by the world of wine offer almost infinite possibilities for developing this special learning process, guaranteeing both professionals and wine lovers ever new opportunities to increase their knowledge … and discover new treasures!

But the path of construction and refinement of our qualities as tasters also has other very important characteristics. First of all, we must always remember that there are no suitable or unsuitable wines for tasting: in other words, we should not consider tasting an exercise reserved for expensive vintage wines, but rather a method applicable to any wine regardless of price or provenance.

This brings us to highlight a second, and perhaps even more important, point: every wine offers an opportunity to learn.

The economic aspect influences our training process to the extent that it can either facilitate or prevent our access to certain products, possibly making it a part of the elements that we use to make our overall opinion at the end of a tasting, but we must always keep in mind that it does not define - nor jeopardize - the didactic potential of any wine.

Learning to taste means developing a universal method, applicable to any wine we find in our glass: for this reason, it represents one of the most formidable tools we can equip ourselves with during our journey of discovery in the world of wine.

Do you want to know what the other tools are? Easy! Your five senses, which have to be trained to refine them more and more, but above all great passion and curiosity.

Let’s get started!

How to Taste a Wine: Introduction

After the long detour dedicated to winemaking, we inaugurate a new series of articles taking up one of the central themes of our communication project linked to the world of wine: tasting.

Way back in the first few months of this blog we were able to introduce this topic - as vast as it is important - by setting some of its key points, from the importance of careful preparation to the value of continuous (and honest) comparison as a key to one's own training as taster.

Let's now resume our journey by delving into the details of the tasting technique, analysing every phase of the process: our goal, however, will not be simply a review of these steps, but we will try to show the deep connections between them to grasp the overall sense of tasting.

As we have already said, tasting a wine does not in fact mean defining whether it is good or not: tasting is an ordered analytical procedure aimed at describing a wine starting from its characteristics, which are first captured singly and subsequently put into the perspective of its entirety

The more we are able to grasp a conformity in this arrangement, or rather, between its individual elements, the more our opinion can be said to be positive... beyond any personal consideration of the product's pleasantness! 

Note the completely casual use in the last sentence of the term productinstead of the more specific wine: the latter will be the protagonist of future discussions, but it is good to remember how acquiring a method, or rather, understanding the meaning of the tasting technique, can prove to be of great help (and stimulus) whenever we encounter a similar product.

Liqueurs, spirits, oil, vinegar but also cheeses, cured meats and almost any food lends itself to being tasted: like our wine, in order to express a full assessment of these other products it would be necessary to master and deepen the specific parameters being evaluated, but the tasting method, or the predisposition to an orderly and objective analysis, isundoubtedly be the most precious tool we can acquire.

Il Club dei Bianchi Incontra la Stampa Nazionale

Il calendario delle attività promozionali del Club dei Bianchi in Romagna per l’anno 2021 entra nel vivo. A seguito del rinnovo della propria adesione all’importante progetto di promozione dei vini bianchi romagnoli, giovedì 25 marzo Tenute d’Italia sarà tra le aziende partecipanti al primo webinar dedicato alla presentazione del progetto e dei suoi protagonisti ad alcune tra le principali testate giornalistiche del settore enogastronomico italiano.

Tenute d’Italia, che per l’occasione sarà rappresentata dal responsabile commerciale Luca Garelli, avrà la straordinaria possibilità di presentarsi in prima persona ai dieci giornalisti coinvolti in questo esclusivo evento online, raccontando la propria storia, la propria filosofia, e soprattutto presentando in degustazione uno dei propri prodotti.

L’organizzazione dell’evento ha infatti previsto l’invio ai partecipanti di un campione di ciascun vino che verrà presentato, così da permettere, nonostante le limitazioni imposte dall’emergenza sanitaria, un’ottima esperienza di confronto e condivisione.

Nell’ambito dell’evento Tenute d’Italia avrà il piacere di presentare Gualchiera, la Romagna Albana D.O.C.G. Secco 2018 della linea Canale dei Molini.

Di seguito la lista completa dei giornalisti che prenderanno parte al webinar:

  • Lorenzo Frassoidati (QN)
  • Matteo Borré (Wine Couture)
  • Barbara Amoroso (Winesurf)
  • Erika Mantovan (repubblica.it, Passione Gourmet, Beverfood)
  • Alessandra Piubello (Guida Veronelli, Spirito Divino, Pambianco Wine)
  • Laura Giorgi (Cibo Corriere Romagna)
  • Carlo Valentini (Italia Oggi)
  • Alessia Trivelli (Adnkronos wine&food)
  • Tommaso Costa (Gambero Rosso)

Just a month to winter: how to make mulled wine?

Winter is coming and with it the cold December days, to be spent under the covers with a good hot drink. Board games, chat with friends, a lit fireplace and moments of sharing to be framed with a good glass of mulled wine, the typical hot winter drink, prepared close to the Christmas holidays.

Mulled wine, also known as vin chaud, is the typical aromatic and fragrant drink that invades the Christmas markets and warms the hearts of those who are most tied to tradition.

Based on full-bodied red wine, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus fruits, mulled wine is very simple to prepare, even for those who do not have the time or the desire to venture into the crowded Christmas markets.

Practical tips for preparing mulled wine

To properly prepare mulled wine, it is first of all necessary to select the spices responsible for the flavoring of the drink and the appropriate red wine. In this regard, it would be better to choose a full-bodied, high quality wine, such as Sangiovese or Merlot: it is important to use only one, without mixing it with other types.

Mulled wine: advice, variations and conservation

Mulled wine has remote origin: the friars’ brotherhoods were the first to prepare it, thanks to their knowledge of aromatic alcoholic beverages. The friars used "burnt wine" as a natural medicine against colds, taking advantage of its disinfectant and toning action.

Over time the mulled wine recipe has evolved, making small changes and variations.

In addition to cinnamon and citrus fruits, ginger and cardamom are also used today: the use of spices purchased shortly before the preparation of mulled wine is important in order to give the drink the right taste.

Also for the choice of sugar it is possible to use both white and cane ones, but honey is not to be excluded, being perfect for giving a slightly different flavor note to our warm cuddle.

A good mulled wine can be kept in the fridge for a maximum of three days: before serving it, always remember to cook it over a low heat, being careful not to burn it.

The result will be a warm, slightly alcoholic drink, suitable for any situation.

After selecting the right wine and spices, we can proceed with the preparation: in a steel pot pour sugar, citrus peel, spices and red wine and mix everything for about 10 minutes, on low heat.

Then filter the liquid mixture and pour it into heat-resistant cups: an imaginative decoration will make our creation even more joyful, as will the addition of citrus slices or cinnamon sticks.

Land and passion present: Albana Ribalda

Ribalda was born under the banner of respect for an extraordinary raw material and represents a hymn to Albana in its most authentic essence.

A clean, essential and fresh wine, it evokes inviting fruity and floral sensations, combined with a splendid herbaceous note.

Its careful and precise production process starts from the earth, with a rigorous selection work by expert technical agronomists and oenologists: only starting from the processing of a perfect raw material it is possible to aim at such a precious final result.

Albana Ribalda is one of the noble biological princes at the Tenute d’Italia’s court: its brilliant golden reflections, clear scent and full-bodied taste complete a regal and delicate sensory frame.

Distinguished by an unmistakable aroma of white flowers, fruit and aromatic herbs, it creates a perfect communion with a full and lively flavor, characterized by a very good and balanced acidity.

Albana Ribalda vinifies in concrete tanks at a controlled temperature of 14 ° for 20 days and only afterwards is subjected to a long aging of 10 months, which brings the wine to maturity.

Tenute d'Italia holds organic wines like Albana Ribalda and Sangiovese Polidoro particularly dear: derived from a cultivation method with very specific rules, both of them are the product of a respectful consideration of the grape variety of origin.

What distinguishes our organic wines is the precious relationship between land, plant and climate: land and passion come together in the products we offer, together with high expectations, constant work and lots of love.

Let's Talk About Wine Tasting

The first topic that we would like to deal with within this blog relates to wine tasting. Before venturing into the details of this vast topic we want, first of all, to explain what has motivated us to choose it as the starting point for this new form of communication, this blog, which we intend to use as a tool for all wine lovers.

As so often happens, the inspiration comes from our technical experience in the wine sector… but in this case outside the professional sphere.

Gathered around the table with friends and relatives, it often happens that we are consulted because of our profession to choose which wine to serve or even to make an actual judgment on the one offered on the table, as if to irrefutably confirm or deny the opinion of our fellow diners

Although the technique of tasting benefits greatly from the experience and in-depth knowledge of the specific production and aging techniques, the sensory assessment of a wine represents an exercise so connected to the subjectivity of the taster that whichever opinion is expressed is absolutely valid and worthy of note in this regard, without distinction of rank or any hierarchy.

Does this mean that we are all sommeliers? No, the sommelier is a professional figure capable of expressing a complex judgment, placing each wine in its own geographical, technical and cultural production context. This requires a great deal of study and updating, as well as constant practice for an increasingly perfect refinement of one's skills, both in recognizing the characteristics of a wine and, not least, in describing them.

May I taste a wine even if I’m not a sommelier? Absolutely yes! Tasting is nothing more than a procedure to know the wine, arranged according to a precise plan which enables one to take into consideration all the main characteristics. The process requires a gradual involvement of all our senses, so that the profile of our wine gradually becomes ever more complete. Finally, the assessment of each element will allow for a conclusive opinion on the said product in its entirety.

On completion of the tasting can we therefore say whether a wine isgood orbad? Not exactly. Amongst the aspects that are to be taken into consideration during the course of the tasting certainly includes any defects that the wine may present, but in general one tasting does not provide an accurate and true assessment of the quality of the product as to whether it is good or bad.

Why taste the wine then? Each time we taste a wine we create a unique experience, in a certain sense truly unrepeatable, that we live and fix in our memory through our senses. Developing a tasting technique endows us with an important tool that allows us to live this experience in a more organized, a more informed, and consequently a more useful way of learning, not only about the wine but also about ourselves. Learning to put together an articulate judgement can in fact allow us to find the interconnection between our preferences, stimulate our curiosity … and guide us to the next tasting!

Organic wine: a look at sustainable development

Organic wine is consolidating itself as a significant reality of the Italian agri-food industry: it is no longer a fashion and not even a niche product, but rather a real ally for the protection and enhancement of the territory.

First of all, organic wine is a product that derives from a cultivation method with very specific rules, which categorically excludes the use of pesticides or synthetic chemical fertilizers.

The main idea is to believe in the potential of a chemical-free vineyard, completely dependent on and respectful of the local vine variety area and far from all those pesticides that tend to stimulate quantitative production.

To fertilize the land, on the other hand, organic fertilizers are used and greater attention is paid to strengthening the plants to prevent possible damage by parasites: organic wine is therefore much more oriented towards the idea of ​​qualitative production, focusing on the precious relationship between land, plant and climate and respecting their times and production.

In 2012, the European Union finally made it possible to regularize the organic wine sector: the European Regulation 203/2012 establishes strict rules regarding the production of organic wines, outlining the methods of vinification and allowing the use of the relevant European logo on the label, for companies certified by an authorized body.

Obviously, within the limits imposed by the legislation, each certified organic producer follows its own specific conduct, using the oenological practices that are closest to its concept of sustainable agriculture.

Here at Tenute d'Italia, we have always considered the fundamental principles of our work in full  respect and enhancement of the territory!

To further increase these values, ​​we have therefore decided to concentrate our energies in the production of two organic wines that we will soon present to you in detail: Sangiovese Polidoro and Albana Ribalda.

We are waiting for you on our social media pages with many, many news!

Sintria: a Romagna treasure

Romagna is a land of wines, where taste and tradition come together to create excellent products, capable of stimulating the senses of even the less prepared consumers. Among our wines, there are perfect ones to accompany moments of lightheartedness, as well as some that need to be savored slowly, with respect and attention. But in the end, those wines that are simply incomparable stand out, starting from their romantic history up to the flavor that characterizes them: Sintria Albana DOCG is certainly one of these!

Sintria is a real treasure of the Romagna wine tradition: its fruity aromas complete an intense and full-bodied taste, perfectly balanced by the right dosage of acidity and flavor.

From a sensorial point of view, Sintria’s passage in wood means that the aromas and scents of this wine are perceived more easily, leaving an exhilarating bouquet of flavors on the palate of those who taste it.

In addition to the breathtaking aromas and taste, Sintria Albana DOCG is visually inviting, immediately communicating the regality that distinguishes it: its brilliant golden reflections place it directly in the Olympus of Romagna wines, fully satisfying every ambitious expectation.

What’s the matter? Afraid of pairing such a good wine with a dish that is not up to it?

Don’t worry, as Sintria Albana DOCG is so recognizable it does not take great efforts to understand which coursess are best suited to it. In fact, like all dry Albana D.O.C.G., our unpredictable Sintria is excellent for fish-based preparations, risottos of any type and aged cheese.

Let’s all raise our glasses and have a toast to Sintria: a perfect agglomeration of quality, culture and respect for our tradition!

 

Tasting Notes: a Valuable Good Habit

Acquiring a tasting technique means adopting a method that allows us to regulate not only the actual development of our tasting, but also - not to say above all - the impressions and thoughts to which it leads us.

If it is true that each wine offers us an opportunity to learn something new, then we will have to experience each tasting as the addition of a tiny tile to the great mosaic of our experience, and we should not be discouraged by the fact that at the start of our journey all these little fragments may seem very few and far between.

Little by little, as we widen our experience we will in fact notice how it becomes increasingly simple, almost natural, to create ever stronger connections between each wine of our personal repertoire, from which we will be able to take excellent ideas to guide us in drawing up the future itineraries of our journey.

The possibilities are endless: we can decide to start with the discovery of a particular grape variety, discovering the different variations according to the traditional styles and characteristics of each territory, or concentrate on the wines of a specific region to grasp its style, or even explore the numerous characteristics of a particular style of winemaking.

Among the small, simple precautions that we can take to make each stage of our journey even more useful certainly includes the compilation of a veritable travel diary, on which to fix our experience by summarizing the main data. There are many reasons that make tasting notes a valuable good habit for every taster.

Taking notes allows us first of all to give order to our thoughts, helping us to focus our sensations, become increasingly aware of them and thus allow the free flourishing, in all its nuances, of a judgment that goes far beyond the good or bad. We can even experience how these categories end up literally disappearing in the face of our ability to identify the specific characteristics of each wine, or the details that make up its personality and that make it unique and special.

One of the main characteristics of the wine product is the impossibility of replicating it perfectly and constantly. Even companies that carry out very large-scale production have to deal with the absolute singularity of each season and, consequently, with a raw material that is consistent, yes, but never truly identical in its organoleptic characteristics.

Gradually, as we focus more and more on the perspective of craftsmanship, it becomes easy to understand how the imprint of nature and above all the style of each individual producer become even more fundamental elements in defining the identity of a wine.

Our notes will be essential in helping us to reveal both the elements of continuity and the differences that exist between the different wines depending on the criterion according to which we decide to order them (grape variety, vintage, producer, etc.)

One of the experiences which is certainly more educational in this respect may be to taste very similar wines, that is, which present important points in common, but also specific variables. For example, we could taste different vintages of the same product (vertical tasting), or wines made with the same technique by different producers.

Another advantage in putting pen to paper about our tasting experiences is regarding one of the most important arguments in the whole universe of wine, dialogue.

When we taste wine we install a dialogue with it; the wine speaks to us, it tells us a story in which the protagonists are the men and the nature that produced it, and our way of paying tribute to it is to listen to it, picking up the story, and in some way, entering to play our part in it. If learning to taste a wine means learning to listen to it and understand it, with our experience we are not just the recipients but also the bearers of its message.

The English king, Edward VII said “One not only drinks the wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it and - one talks about it

The best part of our journey in discovery of wine is certainly that of dialogue and comparison with other travellers: each one being the bearer of an absolutely personal point of view, the result of their own specific experience and therefore as legitimate as useful to enrich the point of view of the whole community.

Taking notes stimulates us to refine our ability to translate our feelings into words, making us able to share our experience, our point of view, but above all the special subjectivity that, just like a wine, renders us absolutely unique.

The "Club dei Bianchi" Meets the National Press

The promotional activities of the Club dei Bianchi in Romagna start for the year 2021. Following the renewal of its membership in the important project to promote Romagna white wines, on Thursday 25 March Tenute d'Italia will be among the companies participating in the first webinar dedicated to the presentation of the project and its protagonists to some of the main Italian newspapers of the food and wine sector.

Tenute d'Italia, which for the occasion will be represented by the sales manager mr.Luca Garelli, will have the extraordinary opportunity to introduce itself in person to the ten journalists involved in this exclusive online event, telling its story, its philosophy, and above all presenting in tasting one of its own products.

The organization of the event in fact provided for the sending to the participants of a sample of each wine that will be presented, so as to allow, despite the limitations imposed by the health emergency, an excellent experience of comparison and sharing.

As part of the event, Tenute d’Italia will have the pleasure of presenting Gualchiera, Romagna Albana D.O.C.G. Secco 2018 of the Canale dei Molini line.

Below is the complete list of journalists who will take part in the webinar:

  • Lorenzo Frassoidati (QN)
  • Matteo Borré (Wine Couture)
  • Barbara Amoroso (Winesurf)
  • Erika Mantovan (repubblica.it, Passione Gourmet, Beverfood)
  • Alessandra Piubello (Guida Veronelli, Spirito Divino, Pambianco Wine)
  • Laura Giorgi (Cibo Corriere Romagna)
  • Carlo Valentini (Italia Oggi)
  • Alessia Trivelli (Adnkronos wine&food)
  • Tommaso Costa (Gambero Rosso)

The Art of Observation - Part 1

“You see but you do not observe. The distinction is clear” says Sherlock Holmes to Watson in the famous story A Scandal in Bohemia.

What does this have to do with tasting wine? It is easily explained.

The first phase of tasting is generally referred to as visual analysis, and it goes without saying, concerns the wine as it appears to our eyes inside the glass. In its development, we can further distiguish sub-phases, during which we will focus our attention on specific characteristics of the appearance of our wine:

1.The evaluation of the clarity and transparency of our wine (and, conversely, the detection of defects such as opacity or presence of residues)

2.The definition of the colour and of its qualities (the hue, the intensity and liveliness)

3.The observation of the body of the wine, or rather, the analysis of its consistency by rotating the glass

If we were to taste a fine frizzante (semi-sparkling) or spumante (fully sparkling) we would need to add a fourth point, the observation of the so-called “perlage” (or bubbles) in terms of quantity and finesse.

Each part of this list will be the object of further investigation, but for now we would like to draw your attention to the main purpose of this specific phase of analysis. The visual analysis certainly doesn’t prompt the poetic eloquence that makes descriptions of the olfactory and gustatory profiles of a wine so captivating. In fact, these last usually dominate the scene during a tasting, but that is no reason to consider the visual profile less interesting. It can, in a certain sense, be just as fascinating.

Just think: one single solitary glance can be enough to condition all our successive perceptions, to the point that some experts speak of visual flavour to define the influence that the appearance of a product can have on our perception of its flavour. In fact , numerous experiments have been conducted to demonstrate a similar correlation also at the olfactory level. 

But not only that: visual analysis is a rather compelling exercise as it stimulates our logical and judgemental abilities to the maximum. In fact the same identical quality can represent an absolute quality or a serious defect, depending on the type of wine we are analysing. 

In this sense, effervescence is one of the most typical examples – though it falls within the standard parameters of a sparkling wine, in a still wine it represents a serious imperfection. Think too of how our judgement on the clarity and transparency of a wine must equally take into consideration the type of wine we are evaluating. If in a red wine, it is acceptable to find clarity but not transparency, due to the deep intensity of colour, in a white wine the presence of both characteristics is essential to define it as correct.

Observing a wine makes it possible for us to set up that logical structure within which to pigeonhole all subsequent data, creating the framework on which we can finally formulate our judgement

[TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT INSTALMENT]

The Art of Observation - Part 2

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE - The Art of Observation part 1]

Just as that celebrated English detective was able to deduce precise information of the lives of his interlocutors by gathering – and connecting together – all the small details of their person, carefully observing our glass we can formulate accurate hypotheses on the organoleptic qualities of our wine

A bright straw yellow, with greenish reflections, may in fact suggest that we are dealing with a young, fresh wine, in which hints of flowers, fruit and herbaceous notes will probably be dominant, while an intense ruby ​​red, with garnet reflections throws the valid prerequisites for a vintage wine, with a good alcohol content and possible tertiary notes of aging in wood.

The same hue of the color and its intensity can provide us with important clues on the grape variety or on the winemaking techniques, the fluidity with which the wine rotates in the glass can reveal its body, while an important clue on the alcohol content can be drawn from the famous arches that they form on the walls of the glass as the wine passes.

In short, a simple glance, provided that it is attentive, is able to provide us with an incredibly large amount of very useful information to prepare our judgment, and the greater our ability to find (or exclude) connections between them, the more we will be able to express judgments that are accurate and in keeping with the true nature of our wine

We end with two brief but necessary considerations.

The first concerns the close correlation that links the knowledge - practical and theoretical - that a taster has and the power of his observational ability: between the two terms there is an indissoluble bond that reveals the importance of always cultivating and nurturing one's curiosity, making the most of and enhancing every opportunity for study, practice and comparison.

The second, although (or precisely because?) it comes at the end of this article dedicated to logic and reasoning, should really be viewed as an invitation … to always pursue the acquisition of ever new notions, but cultivating at the same time, with equal dedication, our ability to be surprised and enchanted by that special, almost ineffable charm that only wine can express.

Cheers Watson!

The Colour of the Wine

One of the main elements of visual analysis is the definition - and description - of the colour: it is certainly one of the fundamental characteristics of the wine, so much so that the most common classification of this product is based on it (white, red and rosé).

But where does the color of a wine come from? This question allows us to start our journey to discover the fascinating process of creating wine. In addressing the theme of winemaking we won’t limit ourselves to illustrating the various technical steps that allow the transformation of grapes into wine. Rather, we will try to highlight the importance that the choices of the producer have, at every single stage, with regard to the characteristics and the personality of the final product.

That brings us to our first topic, namely the difference that underlies the main characteristic of a wine: the colour.

The answer seems obvious: from white grapes we get white wine , and from red grapes, red wine.

What about rose wines? The idea that they are created by mixing the other two is resolutely denied. In any case, this is permitted only in extremely rare cases, and even then only at the level of the musts, so in a pre-fermentative phase. However, their particularity may not be enough to question the efficacy of our equation.

When some friends visited our company, walking through the vineyards we showed them the bunches of grapes soon to be harvested to produce the new vintages of the wines we had just tasted. Almost by chance we asked them a question that roused great wonder: have you noticed that, if you crush a red grape, the must that comes out is clear?

The relationship between the colour of the grape and that of the wine, therefore, exists, and it is equally true that it resides (literally!) in the skin of the grapes: however, this correlation is not automatic, but derives from a straight forward production choice.

In other words, the colour of the wine is defined by the vinification technique adopted: the so-called white vinification involves the immediate separation of the skins from the must; whilst the vinification of red wines requires that we take advantageof the colouring power of the pomace (the term used to define what remains of the grape once its pulp has been extracted).

In the first case, the colour of the wine will be determined by the type and concentration of the pigments present in the grape pulp only, but in general it will be possible to obtain white musts (and, therefore, white wines), characterized by pale hues (straw yellow).

The red vinification process exploits the maceration technique, specifically the longer or shorter periods of contact between the must and the pomace, to extract the colour from the skins. In this case, the decisive determining factor is not only the concentration of the colouring substances in the grape used. It also depends on the duration of the procedure (which can vary from a few days to more than a month) and the temperature at which it is effected. 

In fact, it’s sufficient to consider the simple preparation of a cup of tea to understand how much the heat can favour (and accelerate) the process of transferring colour and aroma into a liquid. 

So is there an unequivocal correlation between the colour of the grape and the type of vinification?Absolutely not! The definition used to distinguish the two methods (white vinification and red vinification) could actually be misleading. Actually, either method can be applied to any type of wine depending on the type of wine you want to obtain.

Think for example of the increasingly widespread tendency to macerate for white wines too, to enrich both their colouration and their aromatic properties. Conversely, with Pinot Noir, for example, the white vinification method is used for the production of numerous types of spumante wines.

There is a really interesting phrase that sums up precisely this type of product and is absolutely perfect for our topic: blanc de noirs (literally “white from black”).

This is precisely how the sparkling wines obtained exclusively from black berried grapes (usually Pinot Noir) are defined. Produced, as they are, with white vinification.

To complete the argument, we must point out that the phrase blanc de blancs will, on the contrary, indicate the use of only white grapes.In fact, both phrases mark a particular interpretation of what we might call the most classic sparkling wine recipe (more precisely that of Champagne) which involves the use of both types of grape.

The Evolution of a Wine - Part 1

Let's start with a wonderful, fundamental premise: wine is alive!

Each bottle contains a living and vital element, in continuous evolution, which passes through the age of youth, reaches maturity and finally starts, slowly, on the downward slope of old age.

If time represents a fundamental variable in the course of the wine production process - from the vineyard to the refinement - we can also say that the same also applies to what happens after bottling, depending on how much time we allow to pass before uncorking our bottle.

During its life in the bottle each wine goes through three phases:

- Youth, during which its organoleptic characteristics are refined

- Maturity, or the apex of evolution, the moment in which the wine, in all its components, reaches its maximum balance and expressiveness

- Senility, understood as that long period following maturity, during which the fineness of the wine's characteristics progressively degenerates

This process is easily represented as a curve (not for nothing do we speak of an evolution curve) in which we will have a first "uphill" part, an apex and finally a "descent": this very general synopsis will obviously have to be modified from time to time for each individual wine depending on its specific characteristics.

While maintaining its logic, as the wine changes, it is possible to appreciate significant variations in the progress of the process, particularly linked to the slope of the first and third stretch.

In other words, each wine, depending on the type, will reach its peak of maturity more or less quickly and the same would apply to its decline.

But let's give a couple of examples.

Sparkling or effervescent wines made with the Charmat method are generally made as a so-called ready-to-drink: with this expression, we mean that they will already be perfect for consumption - therefore mature - shortly after bottling. Their evolution curve will therefore be characterised by a very steep first stretch but also, conversely, by an (almost) equally rapid decline. The techniques used for the production of this type of product are in fact aimed at enhancing the typical characteristics of young wines (freshness of aromas, acidity, flavour), upon the decay of which the wine loses a good part of its personality.

While in the context of sparkling wines, let's see instead how the situation changes for those produced with the Classic Method: the length of time the wine rests on the yeasts in the bottle guarantees great potential for the evolution of the aromas, thus expanding the width of the curve.

In the same way, moving on to the reds, the wines subjected to ageing in the wood will generally need more time to reach the full balance of all its aromas, while a wine-making technique based more on the exaltation of the blend, without adding tertiary notes, will guarantee - in principle - faster processes of maturation.

But what is the benefit of expressing a judgment on the state of evolution of a wine?

In the next article we will expand on this topic adding some important elements to our discussion and, we hope, providing our readers with some new food for thought.

The Evolution of a Wine - Part 2

In the first partof this chapter, we introduced the theme of the evolution of wine, which is one of the points being evaluated at the end of our tasting, as part of the so-called final judgement.

We talked about the life of the wine - which can be represented as an actual curve, of variable span depending on the type, characterised by a first phase of increase, rising to an apex, and then gradually tailing off - and we left ourselves with an important question pending: what is the purpose of making a judgement on the evolutionary state of wine?

Stating our opinion regarding which phase of its life the wine we are tasting is going through, or ideally, indicating where it is on the curve, is the first, fundamental step we must take in organising the data obtained during the tasting.

Our judgement will then be able to move us in either of two directions, taking on as many connotations depending on the context in which the tasting takes place:

1. From the general to the specific, or when we know both the type of wine being tasted and the time it has spent in the bottle. This awareness suggests what characteristics we can expect to detect during the tasting, which therefore becomes a sort of search for confirmation of our expectations. Our general judgement will take on a positive evaluation when the wine presents characteristics consistent with its evolutionary state.

2. From the specific to the general, or if we do not have sufficient information on the wine to formulate any prior hypothesis. In this case, the data collected during the tasting will provide us with clues to elaborate our opinion on the state of evolution of the wine. If the age is not later revealed, in this second case it is more difficult to give an evaluation - positive or negative - of our judgement; the focus of the analysis will rather be shifted to identifying any further potential for product evolution.

It is ever more evident that experience plays a fundamental role here too: the more we perfect our knowledge of wine in all its nuances, the more we  will be able to deal with both cases with ever greater dexterity.

Although we can draw general patterns or set some general reference points, it is still absolutely impossible for us to impose general rules that would be always and forever valid.

Each blend, each territory, each producer, each vintage possesses inimitable qualities, essential ingredients to make each wine unique and unrepeatable.

But what can be done for those taking their first steps to discover the wonderful world of wine?Easy! You’ve come to the right place!

Follow our articles dedicated to tasting techniques, winemaking and the main issues related to the wine world.

Interactwith our technicians by forwarding your questions and queries on the topics you are most passionate about.

Share your experiences and constantly feed your curiosity through dialogue with other enthusiasts.

But above all… Allow yourself to be enchanted by each glass!

THE EVOLUTION OF A WINE: PRACTICAL TIPS - part 1

After so much theory, we will now dedicate part of our discussion about the evolution of wine to some of its more practical aspects. In previous articles, we have already presented some examples, but now let's go into even more detail, identifying the main characteristics that can provide us with valuable information on the state of evolution of our wine.

VISUAL ANALYSIS: from the very first phase of the tasting, we are able to gather important information. The colour of our wine can in fact provide us with a valuable starting point to ponder over the state of evolution of our wine.

- WHITE WINES: whether they are still, sparkling or effervescent, young white wines are generally characterised by pale colours tending towards cold (greenish) nuances. A  subsequent evolution of the colour towards warmer shades is then possible (straw yellow, golden yellow) even if it cannot always be considered the desired result: if the wine was produced for immediate consumption, this change in colour could, on the contrary, be considered a real flaw. The change to darker shades (orange, amber, even brown)  due to the oxidation process is in fact characteristic of old white wines. Clearly, the choice by the producer to opt for an ageing in wood would also affect the evolution of colour: in this case, the colour will be more intense from the start and will tend to take on shades increasingly tending to golden - or deteriorate to brown tones.

- RED WINES: in their youth they usually present violet or purple hues, which tend to fade later to shades of ruby. Just as for whites, even in red wines the oxidation process of colour is one of the most visible signs of the passage of time, introducing garnet and brick nuances that will gradually become more and more evident. Although the use of wood also strongly affects the process of colour evolution for red wines, it is equally true that this contribution to the colour may well be less evident to the eyes of the taster, especially in wines naturally characterised by very intense, dense hues.

NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS: speaking of colour as an important suggestion for evaluating the state of evolution of a wine, we cannot fail to name one of the most famous exceptions we could possibly come across.

Nebbiolo, by far one of the finest grapes in northern Italy, is a variety with poor colouring potential: wines produced with a blend composed entirely or to a large extent by Nebbiolo will therefore be characterised right from its youth by a rather pale ruby red colour, which may quickly show garnet reflections. They therefore tend to show characteristics generally attributed to mature wines.

This notable exception demonstrates how appearances can be deceptive... but at the same time also that, from an ever more detailed knowledge of the vines, wines and their characteristics, we can obtain the most precious key to guide our tasting!

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