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 “DIATERNA” / SANTERNO WINES

Tasted blind. Deep yellow. Sweet, intense, rich nose of yellow fruit and candied lemon. Concentrated viscous palate with savoury, bitter lemon and a touch of liquorice. Finely textured with integrated acidity. Has bags of personality.

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. 


 

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.

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)

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!

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 First Wines of the Year: "Il Sapiente" & "Caveja"

Our 2020 closed with the release of two wines united by a special bond: a production philosophy able to unite the strong international spirit of two great wines - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – to the specific characteristics of wines produced in the majestic Valle del Santerno.

Potente and Sintria are not, however, the only wines in the Tenute d’Italia catalogue characterised by this special kind of union, one that renders them almost inseparable. The Conte Zardi brand, the line inspired by the most ancient Romagnola winemaking tradition, in fact encompasses another shining example of our winemaker’s ability to conceive projects which are able to develop successfully intriguing inspirations.

Il Sapiente and Caveja are two truly spectacular examples in which the principal protagonist is the Sangiovese. A variety of grape which is undoubtably among the most illustrious in the Italian winemaking tradition. Within the Conte Zardi line this vine is offered the opportunity of a profoundly traditional interpretation, capable of evoking Romagna as an authentic spiritual dimension.

In both the wines – ascribed to the Sangiovese Rubicone I.G.P. denomination – the Sangiovese makes up 85% … but it is in the remaining 15% that the real magic of the Il Sapiente and Caveja comes to maturity.

The production philosophy followed by the Tenute d’Italia oenologists for the creation of these products has been inspired by the desire to crown the Re Sangiovese (King Sangiovese) with the exuberant character of two other vines, both historically tied to the Romagna territories. 

Il Sapiente completes its blend with the Syrah, the celebrated international vine that can boast a long tradition of production in Romagna, whilst for Caveja the Sangiovese harmonises perfectly with a native variety, the Malbo Gentile

The refinement process of the two wines also follows a similar protocol: following a first stage of vinification carried out completely in steel tanks, Il Sapiente and Caveja are subjected to ageing in large barrels (tonneaux) capable of giving that perfect roundness that distinguishes them.

Although conceived under the same banner of the said productive philosophy, just like Potente and Sintria, Il Sapiente and Caveja, at the tasting stage are also able to, despite their congruity, regale us with unique emotions.

In fact, the tasting reveals the profound charm of researching the different nuances that Sangiovese is able to assume when placed alongside each of the two varieties, giving the taster an experience with a strong educational... and emotional value.

Keep following our blog for articles dedicated to the tasting of

Il Sapiente and Caveja!

Remember that on our www.tenuteditalia.com website you can find the technical data and a list of the numerous awards obtained for all of our wines: for further information you can also contact our commercial office by filling in the relevant form o by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Most Valid Opinion of a Wine? Yours!

As we have already mentioned, the tasting of a wine is a gradual operation, articulated in several, precise steps that allow us to neatly analyse all the characteristics.

Then, we will first focus on each one singly, then gradually correlate them, systematically, to outline the overall profile of the wine and allow us to formulate our judgment in a reasoned way and as objectively as possible.

When we prepare to taste a wine we are duty bound to approach it from a detached, non-partisan standpoint, as objectively as possible … although this principle of objectivity can never really be guaranteed in such a deeply sunjective process!

It must be said that there are many factors that can influence our judgment, and not only at a strictly sensory level. Our tasting can also be strongly influenced by factors that we could, in a very general way, define psychological.

Our mood, for example, can incline us to look on a wine favourably or unfavourably. This could be due to the memories it may evoke, (we might associate it with a particularly joyful or unpleasant event) or it could be that, at the moment of tasting, we have received good (or bad) news. Or we could be going through a particularly stressful (or rewarding) period at work or in our studies.Even sharing the wine in pleasant (or less pleasant!) company can certainly affect the judgement that we will formulate at the end of the tasting.

But not only that.

We have already mentioned the influence that the economic factor could have in the process of familiarisation with the world of wine. We concluded that this factor doesn’t in any way compromise the educational potential of each product.While fully confirming this point, it is undeniable that we will certainly be more inclined to make a positive assessment of a wine that represents a greater economical investment, whereas we will feel more comfortable in finding defects in a glass with less expensive content.

Another factor that may incline our judgement in a particular direction could also be our knowing the producer of the wine that we are tasting. That can put us in the (almost obvious) position of matching the degree of our interpersonal relationship with that of our judgement, or the real comparison between our judgement and that of others.

Beyond being able to declare ourselves in agreement or disagreement with the arguments put forward by the opinion leaders on the public stage, the way we are far more likely to be faced with this issue is certainly when confronting all those who play the same role in our private spheres.

They could be relatives or friends in whom we recognise a certain competence in the matter, and in whose judgements we have confidence. Or it could be that they have somehow self-assigned themselves to the role of wine experts and, as such, excel in discussions on the subject. Being able to detach ourselves from an “authoritative” opinion is not always easy: we could end up completely questioning our own dissonant perceptions and relying completely on the judgement of someone else. Or we could even give up the debate altogether, losing, one way or the other, a good opportunity for a comparison of ideas.

Reading this article we’re pretty sure that everyone will be able to identify with one or other of the scenarios presented and, perhaps, will now have their curiosity aroused to repeat the tasting of some wines to check their impressions again.

So here is our advice: every time you prepare to taste a wine, be true to your senses, to your perceptions. This honesty, which we must demonstrate first and foremost towards ourselves, is the best quality of a taster, the ingredient that makes every opinion truly legitimate and valuable.

Wine reveals all its social power precisely because of its ability to create dialogue, and those who limit the potential of this magnificent sharing of ideas are not showing respect respect to the wine itself.

So, if our approach to tasting needs to be profoundly honest, there are even more measures that we can take to ensure an even greater degree of neutrality. For example, we can perform a blind tasting, that is to taste one or more wines without reading the label, formulating our judgments, making comparisons, delighting in a real game of recognition... and finally enjoying the surprise of seeing the true identity revealed!

The Phases of Tasting

In our brief introduction, we might well say that we have presented the wine tasting technique as a real intellectual exercise, undoubtedly useful for cultivating our love for this extraordinary product, but at the same time a precious tool for developing an ever more attentive look at the reality that surrounds us, or rather... that we find daily served on the table.

We have also already defined the tasting technique as an "ordered analytical procedure aimed at describing a wine starting from its characteristics, which are first captured singly and subsequently put into a perspective of its entirety". But what exactly does that mean?

When we speak of an “ordered analytical procedure” we refer to an actual system that guides our examination, comprising different phases which, in turn, provide for an exact sequence of elements to be submitted to our judgement. But let's make the topic more understandable by going into detail.

The tasting of a wine consists of four main phases:

  • Visual analysis
  • Olfactory analysis
  • The Gustatory analysis
  • The General judgement

It is quite fascinating to note how our tasting is outlined as a dynamic procedure, in constant movement, that involves first our gradual physical approach to the wine - through the sensory analysis phases – finishing with a step back to assume the critical distance necessary to place every detail in an overall view.

This last movement inherent in tasting - which however takes place on a purely cognitive level - is in fact the passage from the specific to the general, that is, from the judgement of each aspect first in its singularity and then as part of a larger whole.

As we will see, it is precisely the congruity between all our perceptions that is one of the main aspects that contributes to determining - positively or negatively - the sign of our judgement.

White Wine...or Yellow? - Part 1

We have seen how the colour of a wine is not a characteristic necessarily connected to the type of grape processed but derives from a precise choice that the producer makes between the white or red vinification method. If the first involves the prompt separation of the must from the pomace, the second makes use the colouring substances concentrated precisely in the pomace, which are transferred to the must through more or less prolonged contact.

It has also been highlighted how the chromatic reference contained in the names of these two different procedures (white and red) can easily be misleading, as it could suggest an unequivocal correlation between the type of grape being processed and the vinification method. On the contrary, it is possible to make red vinifications of white grapes as well as obtain white wines from red grapes.

As you may have noticed, wine is a topic that has its own specific language, and precisely in this regard we offer you a reflection on one of its most singular characteristics, namely the use of the adjective white to refer to things that are actually a completely different colour!

The term white is in fact used to refer to elements, that is the grapes and the wines themselves, the hues of which actually belong to shades of yellow and sometimes green.

It is no coincidence that precisely in the description of the colour of a white wine, the vocabulary used in tasting provides for the use of the term yellow (straw yellow, golden yellow, amber yellow).

So why don't we distinguish the wines as red and … yellow?

[TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT INSTALMENT]

White Wine...or Yellow? - Part 2

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE - White Wine...or Yellow? Part 1]

Let us start by admitting that we don’t have a definitive answer to this question, but it was certainly interesting to carry out a little bit of research on this small curiosity, rather widespread among wine lovers around the world.

The most popular solutions to our conundrum are basically these two. The first refers to our general tendency, in language, to simplify reality: just as we call black a tea with a more reddish tint, the term white will define all the grapes and wines that have light hues or, to put it better, non-red.

In this sense, it’s also possible to explain the further, recent development of the winemaking language that has assigned the colour orange to that particular type of wine produced with white berried grapes through red vinification and, in this case, according to biological and biodynamic methods. Although the production process involves a particularly intense colouring of these wines, which often take on really orange hues, we can see how in this case the colour reference is used more than anything else to identify a production philosophy, thus defining a category (orange wines) which in turn simplifies the colour spectrum of the wines it groups together.

Another possible explanation of the choice to define as white grapes and wines, that are anything but clear, could provide a psychological reasoning on our language: the term white suggests, in fact, a powerful reference to cleanliness and purity, essential characteristics for a wine of any kind type, but absolutely essential for a white, in which clarity and brilliance are, by definition, key elements.

Last but not least, it should also be noted that the yellow colour related to a drink could potentially inspire unpleasant analogies, and we do not exclude that this factor was also decisive in consolidating the preference for the term white.

However, all these considerations, in particular the last one, disintegrate when we prepare to actually describe the colour of our wine: the tasting lexicon in fact provides for the reference to a chromatic scale based on the different modulations of hue and intensity of its own yellow colour... a perfect demonstration that this is the true colour of white wine!

Wine of the Month / An Introduction: Potente & Sintria

When we chose Potente as the wine of the month last month, it was as if we automatically decided which wine we would like to present to our public in December. There are in fact some elements that have the power to naturally evoke one another, as if linked by an invisible, indissoluble bond.

Within the Italian catalogue you will find some examples of this singular affinity, which makes it almost impossible to present a wine without its companion. It's as though it is precisely within the dimension of a couple that it's possible to fully convey the deepest meaning of the product.

One of the best examples of this is certainly that provided by the Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicone I.G.P. ”Potente” an the Merlot Rubicone I.G.P. “Sintria” of Santerno Wines.

Within a brand strongly inspired by the winemaking tradition of the Santerno Valley, Potente and Sintria fully represent the potential that the production of this small geographical area possesses as it enters the international scene. These two vines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are two of the most widespread among the so-called international varieties, which here find a special, specific territorial declination, being enriched with the specific characteristics that distinguish the wines of the Valley.

The soils, which have a predominantly clay-chalk composition, give a natural, very typical flavour, which intervenes - together with the marked freshness - to enhance the powerful fruity scents.

However, what unites Potente and Sintria is not only the nature of the raw material, but also the actual philosophy of production that inspired them. The goal of taking inspiration from a strongly international taste has in fact oriented our winemakers towards the creation of full-bodied wines that make softness their distinctive feature.

On this path we have opted to adopt a late or delayed harvest, that is the use of grapes harvested late with respect to the moment of perfect ripeness, to ensure that a greater concentration of sugars can develop inside the berries. This clearly allows not only an important sugar residue within the finished wine, but also the ability to develop a higher concentration of alcohol and thus confer warmth and further softness to the wine.

Although inspired by the same production philosophy, Potente and Sintria nevertheless retain their clear, precise personalities, presenting themselves as similar but absolutely unique products.

Wine of The Month: "Caveja"

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In January we decided to inaugurate our annual tasting review taking up the point with which we had concluded the past year, namely the presentation of a pair of wines. First with Potente and Sintria, now with Il Sapiente and Caveja, our intention is in fact to not limit ourselves to a simple description of the products themselves, but to offer our readers, between the lines of these tastings, also an image, a sincere story of our work and our passion.

Through the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot of the Santerno Wines line we have shown the ability of our territory to welcome and interpret the great international tradition: now, with the variations of Sangiovese of the Conte Zardi brand we would like to try to illustrate two projects through which, on the contrary, the most genuine spirit of Romagna has been able to successfully project itself far beyond national borders.

But while Il Sapiente gave us a great example of how it was possible to pursue - and we could well say... reach!! - this goal through a significant contribution of Syrah within the blend (15%), with Caveja we see a real masterpiece of oenology that is 100% made in Romagna.

Respecting the same proportions, Sangiovese Rubicone I.G.P. Caveja composes its own blend with Sangiovese (85%) and Malbo Gentile (15%), two real excellences of the regional viticulture of Emilia-Romagna.

The philosophy underlying the blend remains the same: just like Il Sapiente, Caveja does not present a simple sum of the organoleptic characteristics of the two vines but pursues the much more ambitious goal of an integration to create an absolutely original profile, and it is precisely in that "small" 15% that we can recognize the nucleus from which the character of the wine springs.

The powerful colouring input - with its voluptuous violet reflections - is only the first indication of Malbo Gentile's valuable contribution, which even more clearly reveals itself to the nose enriching the set of fruity notes of Sangiovese: the olfactory examination is a real triumph of ripe, juicy red fruits, whose sweetness recalls the aromas that accompanied the masterly preparation of jams in Grandma’s kitchen. And just as irresistible as were the tastings of those jams while still simmering in the large pots on the cooking stove, so Caveja will use its fatal attraction to compel us to continue our tasting.

Warm, velvety, right from the first sip this splendid Sangiovese will embrace our palate to propose, with perfect consistency, the delicious fruity sensations detected on the nose, framed by the tertiary suggestion conferred by the aging in wood (4-6 months in large barrels of French oak).

The body is full, round, expertly balanced between its soft components - sugar residue and important alcoholic shoulder - and the hard parts, among which stand out the surprising freshness - which intervenes to support and amplify the fruity and sweetly spicy sensations - and the perfect tannin, defined but never intrusive.

On the table Caveja is the ideal wine for the most diverse combinations: from traditional Romagna cuisine (tagliatelle with ragù, potato tortelli with butter and sage, grilled mutton castrato) to preparations of more international inspiration (smoked meat, pork ribs in barbecue sauce, pulled pork, pastrami), without missing delicious temptations of pairing with small pastries and cakes based on shortcrust pastry.

For those who follow our blog and come to this article after reading the previous article dedicated to the description of Il Sapiente (if you are not among them, you can easily recover it by clickinghere) it will certainly have been quite easy to grasp numerous points in common between the two wines, both from a productive point of view (structure of the blend, type of aging) and from the organoleptic one (integration of the typical scents of the two grape varieties, texture, warmth...).

To our audience, which we hope can be more and more numerous as well as intrigued by our publications, we want to dedicate a little final advice... to fully grasp the points in common as well as the specific characteristics that respectively bind and distinguish Il Sapiente and Caveja we suggest a parallel tasting: placed side by side the two glasses will reveal their most authentic soul, stimulating, as never before, your imagination and curiosity and, more importantly, they will offer you multiple, exciting ideas for comparing with your tasting companions...

... for, just as King Edward VII said

"One not only drinks the wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it and … one talks about it!"

Wine of The Month: "Ducamante"

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The Santerno Wines line is enriched with a new, extraordinary product, the result of a skilful study by the team of winemakers at Tenute d’Italia to pay homage to one of the most precious raw materials gifted to us by our territory. A brand aimed at paying homage to the ancient winemaking tradition of the Santerno Valley could not fail to include Sangiovese in its highest expression, the Romagna D.O.C. Sangiovese Superiore Riserva.

If with Bramante (Romagna D.O.C. Sangiovese) Tenute d'Italia was able to successfully propose Sangiovese in its purest version, totally vinified and aged in steel to better preserve its natural aromas, with Ducamante the goal becomes decidedly more ambitious, presenting a complex, refined wine, carefully studied in every detail to demonstrate Romagna's capacity to confront the great Tuscan tradition head on.

Produced with 100% Sangiovese grapes, Ducamante is proposed as a masterful example of harmony between the typical bouquet of the grapes and the tertiary notes brought by the ageing in wood: a lively, vigorous wine, already well pleasing from its youth but, at the same time, intriguing the taster with a promise of its excellent evolutionary potential.

The tasting of Ducamante is a real pleasure for all our senses. As soon as it is poured into the glass this noble Sangiovese reveals itself in all its fullness, wrapping the glass in a soft, full-bodied embrace; the ruby red colour is clear, intense, perfectly consistent with a product of the very finest type. The violet reflections that characterise the basic Bramante version give way to the seductive scarlet streaks that give a foretaste of the elegant tertiary contribution which comes as result of ageing in wood. Crystalline in appearance, Ducamante passes the visual analysis with flying colours, faithfully radiating the sense of elegance that inspired its production.

From the moment we inhale the first bouquet from the still glass, it is a triumph of evocative notions that arouse the imagination: a complex interweaving of aromas in which, it is immediately clear, every element plays a fundamental role, each of them essential yet none prevailing over the whole.

Going into detail, delving into the heart of Ducamante's olfactory profile to outline its individual traits, the first group of aromas that catch one’s attention, undoubtably relate to the so-called secondary aromas, and not only for the intense typicality they portray - the hint of violet typical of Sangiovese reaches here one of its highest expressions - but also for the fullness, the voluptuousness with which they affect the sense of smell. In the mind, the images of juicy black cherries, ripe strawberries and delicious mulberry blackberries are clearly delineated: you only need to close your eyes and you will feel them between your fingers, moist and pulpy, ready to be tasted.

And suddenly, against the background of this scarlet riot of sweetness, the tertiary notes rise gracefully, but clear: the soft French oak is embellished with tantalizing spices - black pepper, cloves, a hint of cinnamon - weaving a fascinating aromatic texture that envelops and ennobles the bouquet of flowers and red fruits.

Raising the glass to the lips concludes and crowns the splendid tasting experience that Ducamante offers: the first sip suffuses warmth, softness, enveloping the palate in a passionate embrace that immediately evokes the fruity and spicy sensations perceived on the nose. The body is abundant, vigorous: the perception of fullness is completely satisfying

The skilful balance conferred by the excellent contribution of tannin and acidity is totally convincing: hard components that intervene to perfectly support not only the impressive structure of Ducamante, but also its fabulous aromatic persistence.

On the table, the first suggestion can be none other than the combination with a succulent grilled beef steak, but equally attractive are the combinations with blue cheeses (also when used as a condiment, as for gnocchi with Gorgonzola) and feathered game (pheasant roast with mushrooms, duck breast with blueberries). Also, intriguing is a sweet combination, especially with pastries or flakes of extra-dark chocolate, for delicious meditation.

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Tenute D'Italia is a trade mark of Morini s.r.l.
VAT 00615541208 e 03367140377
Tel +39 0542 641194 - Imola (BO) Italy