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Today we learn the art of wine tasting from our sommelier Silvestre Aguilar

Labels: Wine Tourism

At our Hotel Montíboli, from the moment the wines arrive at our winery, we begin a meticulous treatment that controls all external and environmental aspects. It is about taking care of them, pampering them, treating them with the greatest possible affection. All this is done with the intention, that you enjoy from that first moment when we open a bottle of wine and you take the first sip.

Silvestre Aguilar, Sommelier of thel Hotel Montíboli

The tasting process is something that grabs everyone’s attention, although if you are a wine expert, then you have it more than clear. But it is possible that you do not have great knowledge and are interested in learning wine tasting. Which is precisely what we are going to focus on for this new entry in our blog, and we will do it with the help of one of the great professionals in enology. This is Silvestre Aguilar, our sommelier at the Hotel Montíboli.


Optimal Conditions for tasting a wine

Tasting a red wine in daylight

There are several factors that can affect a good wine tasting. For example, the mood or physical state that you may be in that day, the smell of the environment or the simple fact that someone passes by your side with a very strong perfume and the smell does not fit well at the time of smelling the wine, the fact of having more or less pleasant company, an ideal environment and noise, etc.

Light is a must. In fact, the best time to taste a wine is during the day, with natural light, however good a quality of fluorescent tubes you may have in a living room at night, daylight will always be more appropriate.

It is also recommended that the background of the tablecloth be white, avoiding the reflection of color on the glass which can distort the visual appreciation in the tasting.


The phases of wine tasting

Wine tasting

As an example, we are going to taste two wines: a red wine and a white wine.

It is very important that you begin by smelling the cork from the freshly uncorked bottle. It is an essential step before starting to taste the wine, because you want to rule out that it is infected with any bacteria or that it has any type of disease, the cork can give us that red light.

The cork in the wine tasting

Wine tasting consists of three main phases: the visual phase; the olfactory phase; and the tasting phase.

In the case of the visual phase, you will try to see the color of the wine and describe all those nuances that can be appreciated by sight that catch our attention; Through the olfactory phase, we try to evoke all those memories which wine can bring back to us and then describe them. It is a very interesting phase, because if the tasting is carried out by several people, each one can provide suggestions of very different aromas. This phase we do it with a still glass and then with a moving glass; finally, the taste phase will confirm or not those nuances that we have appreciated in the olfactory phase. In fact, in many occasions, when tasting a wine, you can appreciate that the result is different, to what you have perceived in the previous phase. Of course, it is very important that the sip of the wine be smooth, and go all over the palate (even below the tongue) before swallowing it.


Tasting White Wine

Tasting White wine

We started by uncorking the bottle of white wine. It is a white wine Viñas del Vero that we cooled a few hours after removing it from the cellar.

It is a very characteristic wine, created with a variety of German grapes that is called gewürztraminer.

When we extracted the cork from the bottle, we did not see any sign that made us suspect any type of deviation in the wine, so we proceeded to the tasting.


a) Visual phase

With the glass slightly tilted, observing that the wine, in this case has a straw yellow color, with golden reflections, and at the same time some lemon-colored edges. The borders are the edges that we see in the wine, in the most superficial area, and are clearly noticeable when tilting the glass. In this case, the almond tone of the borders is very different, to the much more golden tone at the heart of the glass.

Tasting wine with a White tablecloth

b) Olfactory phase

We will begin by "deciphering" the aroma of the wine in a still glass. To do this, you must raise the glass to your nose (without moving it). In our case, we perceive a fruity aroma of apple, perhaps also lychees, jam and flowers, perhaps roses.
Now you will do the same, but this time we will smell the wine in a stirred glass, checking for variations. For this we move the glass, swirling the wine slightly, and find the same aroma, but this time, perhaps due to the lychee something is more enhanced.


c) Tasting phase

Then it is time to taste the wine and detect those sensations in the mouth. Some people prefer to move the glass before tasting it, although it is not necessary.

As we commented, before swallowing the wine, it is necessary to savor it properly. To do this, you must keep the wine in your mouth for about four seconds, making the most complete possible tour of the entire palate and below the tongue.

If you decide to swallow (you can taste the wine without swallowing it), you will notice that in this case the flavor is surprising. It maintains a fruity tone, but much lighter than it appeared on the nose.

In our case, we also detected a touch of very light acidity, which we did not perceive in the olfactory phase.

You can see that the alcohol is well integrated, and although this is something more complicated to detect, it is a wine without edges, very well balanced, what we call a round wine. Detecting the edges in a wine or check if it is round, is something that is achieved with practice.

For a wine to be round, it is necessary that four aspects are correctly balanced. We are talking about acidity, sugar, tannin and alcohol. So, if one of those four basic components stand out above the rest, we say that the wine has edges and is not round. When our sommelier observes that the wine is well balanced, he describes it as a round wine.

Red and white wines in the cellar

An essential concept in tastings is the aftertaste of the wine, and it consists in that, the sensation in the mouth reminds us of the one obtained by the nose. It is about reliving those aromas that you have already perceived through smell.

Another prominent concept is that of long or short wine. We speak of a long and harmonious wine when the taste and aromas persist after the drink. With the short wine the opposite happens, since those aromas last less.

As for the pairing, it would be an ideal wine to accompany a foie, something smoked, any type of seafood or snacks. 


Tasting a red wine

Red wine tasting

In this case, we will be less explicit so as not to repeat concepts, and we will taste a red wine. Now we will do it with a Tempranillo, specifically a Señorío de Viñuela. It is a soft wine, and ideal to pair with any meat, especially red meats but not too strong, or some white meats like pork. They are also perfect to complement with a good rice, as long as it is not too heavy.


a) Visual phase

With the glass on the table, we appreciate that it is a ruby-red wine, with slightly brownish colored edges. In general, it has a very clean and bright appearance.


b) Olfactory phase

In a still glass, we take the wine and smell it. As you can easily appreciate, it will bring reminiscences of damp woods, candied red fruits, figs (also fig bread), and very subtly, even a slight smell of leather.

Tasting wine through olfactory phase

Now we repeat the process in a moving glass, and you can feel the same sensations, but in this case with a greater sensation of alcohol. It is something that we can also appreciate taking as a point of reference the thickness of the tear: if you move the glass, the tear that falls through the glass can be thicker or thinner. The thinner the tear is and the slower it falls, the more alcohol it has and the more integrated it is in the wine. Actually, that tear drop consists of glycerin in the wine. In this case, it is quite fine.


c) Tasting phase

When tasting the wine, you will see that it offers you a dry attack and somewhat sharp. On the other hand, you can also observe that it has a somewhat marked astringency (rough sensation). Tannin is the parameter that tells us when a wine is more or less astringent. Even so, it is not an edge and we are facing a balanced and round wine.


This is how you taste wine. Do you dare to try?  Why not leave your comments?

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