KNOWLEDGE OF WINE
A FEW KEYS
Why is the wine red / white / rosé?
This is certainly one of the first questions we ask ourselves about wine: why is it available in white, red, rosé? their juice remains white. The differences in color of the wine are in reality mainly explained by the maceration of the grape skins in the fermentation juice . These are soluble pigments located in the skin of the grapes that are responsible for the red color of the wine. Regarding the intensity of the color, various parameters are taken into account, such as the grape variety, the yields of the vine, the terroir and the climate, the vinification, the aging, the sugar content, the age of the vine. wine.
How do I store my wine properly?
Each bottle must be in the lying position so that the cork always remains in contact with the wine.
Some basic principles
- The temperature, the temperature remains an essential factor for the good aging of the wine, the ideal temperature range is between 10 ° C and 12 ° C without sudden temperature variation.
- Light and wine do not mix well, especially with white wines.
- Humidity is an important factor in the proper aging of wine.
- Odors, Wine is sensitive to all external odors, even when locked in its bottle.
- The vibrations, If they are frequent, the vibrations can adversely affect the quality of the wine. (eg trains)
Why do you have to age certain wines
You have trouble understanding why you were advised to drink such and such a wine immediately or to leave it in the cellar for a few years… How do you know which wine to wait and which wine to drink quickly? complex subject for which several parameters must be taken into account.
There is an immense diversity of wines and some are produced with the idea of being drunk quickly, "on the freshness of the fruit", while others require several years of aging in order to flourish, 'offer all their complexity.
In general, wines to drink quickly will be wines that are not very powerful, fruity and of less complexity, often with a certain freshness. Conversely, wines with a long aging potential will show great concentration, a lot of balance (freshness and body) and have often been the subject of long aging. They also generally come from great terroirs that require waiting to express all their flavors. This also varies from appellation to appellation, from one terroir to another, and according to the grape varieties but also the vintages.
Should we decant the wines? How to ventilate them?
If in doubt, it is better not to decant, the operation can be harmful for old wines! The simple act of opening the bottle a few hours in advance and then aerating the wine well in its glass is more than enough in many cases.
The same goes for decanting, it remains a delicate operation, just leave the bottle vertical two days before tasting, so the deposits remain at the bottom, all you have to do is serve the wine delicately without tilting the bottle too much.
How to recognize the defects of wine (Oxidation, reduction, cork, phenolic wine)?
A corked wine will result in a fairly strong musty, damp smell : a fairly recognizable smell. This defect comes from the chemical treatment of the cork stopper with the molecule of tri-chloro-anisole (TCA). The cork has contaminated the wine, the damage is done, nothing can solve this problem.
Another common flaw in wine is reduction: a musty, croupy odor, even gaunt meat ... These aromas are a sign of excess sulfur or that the wine has been too deprived of oxygen. They normally disappear quickly with aeration of the wine.
The wine can sometimes be oxidized (which is not always a fault, this is the case with yellow wines): it will express aromas of overripe apple, vinegar, nuts ...
Finally, we sometimes smell strong odors from stable, stable, horse ... this is found in so-called phenolic wines (for which oenologists attribute these odors to mushrooms, commonly called brett). We like it or we don't. For some, this is part of the normal notes found in wine. On the other hand, other people don't like it and say it's a flaw. It must also be said that the levels of perception of these odors vary from person to person.
The basics of tasting
A complex step that appeals to our senses and our experiences, the tasting remains very personal. Knowing how to express the reasons with a certain vocabulary for which we appreciate ou not a wine. We need our eyes, our nose and our tongue ... and a stemmed glass not to heat the wine in our hands.
Above all: Gather the right conditions
It may sound silly to recall it, but a tasting appeals to your senses and we are not all equal when it comes to it. Some people have sensory predispositions or have already had sensory experiences in the past (eg a perfumer) which will influence their impressions differently from yours.
The visual examination
Tilt the glass over a white surface and first observe its clarity. The presence of particles will tell you the degree of filtration that the winemaker has exercised.
Clarity: clear or cloudy
Then look at the liquid on the edge of the glass. A shiny aspect will reveal a certain acidity which will bring liveliness in the mouth.
crystalline, shiny, radiant or on the contrary matt, dull, off
Let’s take a look at the coat (color) and its intensity.
It can be: pale, medium, intense
You should know that the dress changes over time.
For reds, the color of a young wine will be rather purplish, while that of a very old wine will have brick tones. there are many exceptions depending on the grape varieties used, regions and winemaking methods.
Red wine color: purple, ruby, garnet, brown
For white wines, a young wine has green reflections to become amber for the older ones.
Color of white wines: lemon, gold, amber, brown
For rosés, a purplish pink is a sign of youth, while if it turns to orange tones it will be older.
The color of the wine will allow you to give you a rough idea of the age of the wine, but be careful not to make it a rule because
Now tilt and then straighten the glass and observe how the liquid comes down the wall to determine its viscosity. A wine with a good alcohol level and / or a good sugar content will slip off, forming drops called tears.
If you are tasting a sparkling wine, observe the size and abundance of the bubbles which tend to reveal the smoothness and smoothness of the wine.
The first and second nose
Inhale and determine the first impression. If you are already able to determine certain aromas, we will say that the wine is open or, if not, we will say it is closed. Which family is revealed? Families: floral, green / red fruits, citrus, spice, vegetal, mineral
Swirl the wine around in your glass to bring it into contact with the air and release the aromas it contains.
Continue your sensory analysis, if you had already identified a family of aromas during the first nose, try to determine the aromas more precisely. Fruity, Floral, spicy, vegetal, woody…
The taste examination
the different parts of your tongue will provide you with specific complementary sensations: sweetness, salty, acidity and bitterness. The sensitivity of these mouth areas varying between each individual, it is important to turn the wine well in the mouth.
For red wines, determine the importance of tannins. (they are added during maceration) that is why they are not very present in white wines and rosé wines. Thick-skinned grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah have a much higher level of tannin. They are the ones who provide the framework for the wine. In young wines, the tannins translate an astringent side, that is to say a sensation of dryness in the mouth but as they age, the tannins blend with the wine, contributing enormously to the body of the wine.
The intensity of the tannins will also determine the wine's aging potential.
With the wine still in your mouth, breathe in a stream of air to reactivate the aromas. Your palate communicating directly with your olfactory glands located in your nose, the sensations will be even more intense.
Detecting a fault during a tasting means determining whether the wine meets a few essential criteria other than the call of our sensations:
- Balance: you need harmony between fruit and sweetness, between tannins and acidity, an excess of one or the other can be unpleasant on the palate.
- Length: the wine can leave lingering aromas in the mouth. This is called the length. It is expressed in caudalie (one caudalie = one second). We start talking about quality wine when its length in the mouth reaches between 8 and 10 caudalies. The greatest wines can reach up to 20 caudalies, I let you imagine.
- Complexity: Wines with one or two simple flavors can get boring quickly. A wine of quality will have multiple aromatic nuances.
- The expression: A lower quality wine gives the impression that it can come from anywhere and have been made from any grape variety. A great wine will know how to express the quality of the grape variety used or its region of production. The best school is that of practice.
- Serving temperature: The temperature at which you will taste your wine is essential. the wine deteriorates infinitely more with heat than with cold. The heat releases the aromatic components of the wine, thus revealing its entire bouquet. Red wines should be served at room temperature, ie between 15 ° C and 17 ° C. As a general rule, white wines should be served cooler than reds. The heat accentuates the acidity of the wine, which is why it is recommended to serve the white wines very chilled in order to make them less aggressive, i.e. between 8 ° C and 12 ° C.