Here some advices and practical tips to not only drink, but drink well.
Wisdom, intelligence, culture and tradition merge together in wine, a masterpiece created by man and nature together. Even though many beautiful thoughts could be written over this, we limit ourselves to offer you some starting point and curiosities in order to help you to better taste our wine.
⁃ First: is the taste of wine objective or subjective?
The answer is: both. It is objective, because wine has got the same organoleptic characteristics for each consumer: a wine can be sweet, dry, acid, astringent, decisively alcoholic, tasting of wood, fruity and so on. Over these qualities, we cannot dispute It is instead subjective, because the capacity of perceiving these same characteristics can change from taster to taster (just as the capacity of perceiving colours or scents changes from person to person). There are many individual factors to consider: olfactory and taste memory, the importance that every taster gives to certain qualities and defects, the moment in which you taste the wine, and so on.
⁃ How does temperature influence wine?
Temperature influences olfactory and taste sensations in a determining way: therefore, we cannot judge a wine if it is too cool or too warm. Aromas are better perceived when the wine temperature is 18° C; when it lowers to 10° C, our sensibility decreases, and at 4° C our papillas are nearly insensitive. High temperature, then, amplifies sweet sensations, aromas and alcoholic components. On the other hand, low temperature amplifies bitter and salad taste, and astringency due to tannins is emphasized. For these reasons, tannic red wines (e.g. Grignolino) are not to be served at low temperature. On the other hand, low temperature makes an acid wine more pleasant; that is why white wines, which often have a high acid component, are served and drunk cool.
⁃ At what temperature must a wine be served?
It depends from the type of wine:
- Fortified white wines: 7-9°C
- Light, dry and acid white wines; spumantes: 8-10°C
- Mature and complex white wines: 10-12°C
- Rose and new wines: 9-10°C
- Young little-tannic red wines: 13-15°C
- Structured red wines: 15-17°C
- Structured and tannic red wines: 16-18°C
⁃ The “tears” of wine
The so-called “tears” of wine are curves with more or less frequent intervals that you can observe on the side of the glass, after turning the wine inside of it: a transparent and liquid film that trickles slowly towards the bottom in form of tears. This phenomenon tells us something interesting about the alcoholic content of the wine: in fact when alcohol, which is the more volatile substance, lies on the side of the glass, evaporates; the remaining liquid increases thus his density, winning the superficial tension and dropping to the bottom. The thicker the tears, the more rapid is the descent, the more intense is the evaporative phenomenon and the higher is the alcoholic degree.
⁃ Which are the characteristic aromas of wines?
Some aromas are more characteristic and specific of certain wine variety. The most popular and recognizable are:
- ⁃Herbaceous: Merlot and Cabernet
- ⁃ Violte: Nebbiolo and derivated wines: Gattinara, Barolo…
- ⁃ Green pepper: Cabernet Sauvignon
- ⁃ Fresh butter: Chardonnay
- ⁃ Peach: Moscato
⁃ Which are the defects of wines?
Defects are abnormal and extraneous smells, that is why they are called defective, which sometimes you can find in a wine:
- Cork: the smell is transmitted from the cork when it’s infested by parasitic fungus that come from oak trees. It is a defect visible on the cork itself; therefore, the majority of times it does not depend on the wine production. And when the cap is healthy, at least apparently? On the causes not everyone agrees… but we do not enter specifically.
- Mould: it could be provoked by bacteria developed on the wood of bad-conserved barrels, in non-hygienic conditions. It is often characteristic of wines obtained from not good grapes, attacked by a grey mould, named Botrytis.
- Dregs (and re-fermented): it derives from the prolonged contact of wine with dregs. It is not rarely found (even if lightly) in wines which have undergone a natural re-fermentation in the bottle, for example because not all the sugar was yet transformed. It also says “rot smell”.
- Di svanito: i profumi sono lontani e inconsistenti (al gusto il vino è piatto, senza nerbo). It is the smell that can buy a wine too ventilated or banged. It can be presented at the time or immediately after bottling, so it is reversible.
- Sulphites (sulphur): it appears in wines in which the treatment with sulphites has been bad controlled. Doses of sulphites have to be calculated with mathematical precision: an excess (that you can perceive as pungent) provokes the unmistakable smell of sulphur.
- Reduced: it appears in wines, which are matured in bottle; it is a smell of “closed” (“reduced” space, indeed, in absence of oxygen). If the wine is of quality, with a structure adapted to ageing, the smell vanishes or diminishes with aeration. For this reason, it is important to open the bottle few hours before drinking the wine and to pour it in a decanter.
Decantation is an operation that consists in pouring the wine in a carafe or in a decanter, detaining the deposit inside the bottle. irst of all, decantation helps to oxygen mature wines: they have been closed for a long time in a closed space, so the best way to reawaken its fine aromas is to let it breath in a wide carafe. However, you must be careful: there are some contraindications. First, not all wines deserve or tolerate this care. Too old wines, for example those older than 20 years, don’t tolerate such a fast oxygenation, which will change their very characters. On the contrary, young white or red wines, in which aromas hardly express themselves, will taste better after a good decantation. Finally, it is absolutely useless to simply open the bottle few hours before serving the wine, because the space of contact with the oxygen is too little to do its effect.
⁃ How to decant
In order to decant your wine well, before even starting, make sure that the bottle has been in a vertical position for at least 24 hours, so that the dregs have sedimented. After opening the bottle, pour some wine in the carafe, then transfer it in a glass to examine the olfactory and taste accuracy. At this point, begin to pour it in the glasses, controlling the flow of wine and stopping as soon as the deposit touches the base of the bottleneck. Decantation is good for all our red wines, first of all for our Barbera “Cà de Franchi”, and Barbera Superiore “Profondo Rosso”. How long has the wine to decant? It depends on your taste: we generally suggest keeping the wine in a decanter for a couple of hours before serving it.