Tasting Tricks – grapes

Now comes the fun part. We need to put to test all that we have learned about tasting. We need to practice. This is tough work, I know!:) In order to start developing our wine palate, we need to start tasting wines and we need to memorize its color and aroma. First of all, we will start tasting monovarietal wine, that means, wines made from just one grape. We need to also pay attention to the region or country the wine comes from. For the complete list of top 10 monovarietal grapes, please write to new2winepr@gmail.com. Remember we talked about how the soil where the grape vine is planted alters wine flavor? Well, a Cabernet Sauvignon from California has unique qualities that differ from a Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy or France. Talking about Cabernet Sauvignon, did you know that this wine grape (vitis) is the most planted in the World? This is so because it is a strong grape variety with thick skin that can take harsh weather, rendering small grapes & low yields (which is great for wine quality).

REGIONS: The best regions where these grapes thrive are: Bordeaux (France), Tuscany (Italy), Santa Cruz Mountains & Napa Valley (USA). Other important regions to look for: Sonoma (USA), Hawke’s Bay (New Zealand), Coonawara (Australia), Colchagua & Maipo Valley (Chile).

ORIGIN: The grape variety was created in France during the 17th century, by crossing Cabernet Franc + Sauvignon Blanc.

AROMAS: In cool climates the aromas & palate perceived are BLACK CURRANT + PLUMS + BLACK CHERRY + CEDAR. GREEN BELL PEPPER (pyrazine aroma) is also noted though it could be a defect of the wine if too pronounced. Green bell pepper aroma could mean the grape is under ripe. In hot climates the aromas & palate could be BLACK CHERRY JAM. If too jammy, it means the grape is overripe. In Australia has a peculiar aroma of EUCALIPTUS or MENTHOL.

COLOR & CHARACTERISTICS: Cabernet Sauvignon wines have a dark, purple color, are tannic and acidic. In Bordeaux they tend to be softer and improve over time.

FOOD PAIRING: Best food pairings: meat & fatty foods because fat neutralizes tannins and allows the fruit to come forward and the wine enhances the flavor of the food. Cheddar cheese, Brie, dark chocolate are also favorite food pairings.

Wine Spectator Top 100 wines 2016: #1 Lewis Napa Valley 2013. In PR it is distributed by Mendez & Co. It costs about $90 per bottle.

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