Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today was the wide world of wines and how to go about tasting them with the critical eye of a seasoned professional. This was the first of 14 lessons that we will be having on wine and pairing of wine with food. Gianni, our resident master of all things viticultural really proved his mettle. We learned about the process of growing the grapes from vine to fruit and then to vinification. We learned of the best types of earth to grow the grapes in and how the mineral content of the soil changes the flavor of the Wine. How the Chemical composition of the grape affects the aroma flavor and look of the wine. The 3 types of Micro-organism that aide of detract from the quality of the wine. The yeast of which some is more resilient to the temperatures and pressures created from the fermentation process and have since been harvested and cloned to control the fermentation reaction to give the highest quality wine. The bacterium which are beneficial to the vine (Batteri Lattici in Italian Lacto Bacillus in English) and the Mold Botrytis Cinerea AKA noble rot a mold that protects the grape for late harvest Sauternes. All of these things are strictly regulated by the DOCG, For example if you were to make a Barolo wine and at the end of your process your wine came out at 12.6% ABV you did not make a Barolo because by the DOCG definition a Barolo must be 13%ABV of higher. Needless to say it was an indepth look into the manufacture of Wine from seed to bottle and that was just the first part of the day. In the afternoon we went into the tasting lab. But before we got to taste one of the two wines that we sampled we were introduces to the art of tasting wine. Wine is a complex creature and we are still learning new information about this age old beverage. There are over 600 components that make up the flavor, look and consistency of wine. The Perfume of the wine comes form 3 sources; aromatic grapes which are rare, the fermentation process, and the aging and refining processes. Because these aroma occur at different stages of the fermentation process wine is biologically speaking a living organism and the only product allowed by the WTO to not have an expiration date. After about 2 more hours of class about the intricacies of tasting wine we finally arrived at the tasting itself. We tasted a White, a Sicilian Grillo "Il Giglio Bianco Inzolia" a crystal clear straw yellow young wine of good consistancy, intensity of flavor and persistence with floral and fruity tones of grenn apple and spring lilly. It was dry and but refreshing with a mild mineral taste a delightful balanced wine that would pair well with lamb or seafood. Go figure, but probably one of the white wine I have ever had, even better than Spiny Back. The Last wine we tasted was a Chianti Rufina Reserva "Nipozzano". A garnet red wine with strong legs which was delicate on the nose with tones of cherries and spice with light vanilla aromas. The Actual flavor of the wine was a perfect balance dry yet soft on the pallet slightly acidic but balanced by the minerals and smooth tannic quality. It comes from a small Provence near florence north of Chianti. I am definetly going to try an visit this area when I go to Florence for my internship. I wm going to Grana Podano tomorrow a cheese factory to learn the cheese making process. After which we will tour a winery which makes, according to Gianni, the best Moscato in the World. I am not the hugest fan of Muscat it is a bit too sweet for my tastes but when an award winning sommelier tells you it's the best you kinda have to take him at his word. Saturday Olesia and I are going to go to Genova, the beautiful port city on the Ligurian coast home to Europe's Largest Aquarium and a very large local brewery Bicu, Hooray Beer. I promise that the next post will be more interesting but I was excited about the things I learned today, after all it is what I am here for. So...Stay Tuned

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