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Sensorial analysis of the grapes let me teach you how it is done

Sensorial analysis of the grapes let me teach you how it is done

You must put three grapes in your mouth at the same time, to then analyze separately the grape, the pulp, the skin and the seed. And it does not cost anything


Grape tasting Valérie Lavigne’s hands after tasting

Grape tasting Valérie Lavigne’s hands after tasting

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The first to promote a sensorial analysis of the grapes were Rousseau and Delteil of the ICV inMontpellierin the year 2000 (read “Corriere Vinicolo” about this and other techniques). Their method is still today the best known and used. It is based on a form with 19 descriptors to which the taster gives a vote from 1 to 4 where the best grade is the lowest. For certain points the numbers grow and in others they decrease, because it is evident that the grapes will be readier at harvest time while being less acidic and sweeter.

The first parameter on the grape requires a visual exam and to touch the grape to evaluate the consistency, colour, aptitude to be separated from the stem. Evidently the healthiness is an element that needs careful evaluation.

Then follows the tasting of 3 grapes at the same time. They must be examined separately, in this order pulp, skin, and seeds. Of the juice we must under stand: the separation skin/pulp, sweetness, acidity, herbaceous and fruity aromas. Evidently the acidity and herbaceousness must be as scarce as possible while the other elements must be more abundant.

On the skin the exam regards 3 elements which must result high (aptitude to being crushed, tannic intensity, fruity aroma) and 3 elements which must result scarce; acidity astringency, herbaceous aromas

After having tasted the seeds one must spit them into the hand. It’s awful to say but that is

Montalcino 2013 harvest grape tasting

Montalcino 2013 harvest grape tasting

exactly the technique. Astringency (as little as possible) aromas and tannic intensity must be tasted, then one seed must be crushed between the teeth and then spit them out to visually examine them, in colour and the aptitude to be crushed. The seed for great wines is well lignified, it has no green stripes and it breaks up easily.

The sensorial analysis of the grapes requires previous instructions from am expert guide, but the first steps can also be carried our by someone who is self-taught going to the Vineyard at harvest time.

Producers and wine makers use more and more this method of grape tasting especially to choose the right moment to pick each field and it potential quality. The laboratory analyses are also very useful of course to evaluate the technological and polyphenolic ripeness of the grapes but the tasting become more important year by year.

Don’t wait then, come and taste our grapes, the harvest at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and at fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti are in full swing.


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