Grace’s Wine Tasting Anatomy

Let's sniff out the details about your favorite red wine grape varieties and the wines they’re producing. The more you know, the better the wine.

A young lady named Grace organized this Bring-Your-Own-Wines virtual wine tasting session for a small private group in Massachusetts! The objective of this session is to understand what makes wines unique based on their origin. And we will do so by exploring different grape varieties from different countries and regions. 

Tap on the titles below to expand and reveal useful information about the wines, grapes and regions we are tasting.

Sensory Exploration! After introductions we will have a look at how you taste wine. I will try take you on a wine tour of the human senses, showing how each contributes to our enjoyment and appreciation of wine. Along the way you’ll be invited to use all your senses to experience the wines.

We will talk about each wine while I guide you through your sensory analysis. We will also talk about each region’s unique characteristics and eventually I will leave you with some tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your next wine event. 

And once we have learnt about the wine of course we will also be doing some wine tasting!!

Prepare Wine to Serve

• Please prepare to serve wines at 60 f/15 c. –Starting at low temperatures allows the wine to gradually release the aromatic reactions as temperature naturally alters.

• Glassware: use your preferred glass, the ones that you feel comfortable drinking wine in. Ideally I‘d like you to have a different glass for each wine or at least two glasses so you can perform a comparative tasting.

Prepare yourselves

• Optionally and if you are a wine geek you may want to use the Tasting Sheet to mark down your notes. Please have it ready on a separate device for in-depth tasting experience.

Wine Tasting is a very personal experience simply because it’s not possible to get into one’s mouth and point out where that strawberry flavor is. You will be guided through your own sensory exploration but not directed or dictated.

Having said that please do come up front with any questions you may have. Interaction is a viral component to the success of our experience. Be thoughtful and interact wisely. Seize this hour to talk about the interesting wine stuff. 

• Have some water and dry bread to rinse your palate when necessary.

Finish off the wine and eat all the delicacies. Clear out the area leave nothing behind but a five star review …!

You may choose to continue your evening watching an interesting documentary on California Wine region on Winemasters TV. You will learn about the ups and downs in the region, including the Judgement of Paris which has put California wines on the map.

Leave your wonderful review on airbnb! Better do it soon after the experience, because tomorrow never comes!

Book your next Virtual Tasting with Yours Truly! or start planning your trip to Cyprus!

The Wines in this tasting

Bread and Butter, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, 2020
Bread and Butter, Merlot, California, 2019
Chateau de Camarsac, Thierry Lurton, Bordeaux, France, 2019
Luigi Bosca, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2019
Cantine Povero, Priore, Barolo DOCG, Italy, 2017

The Grapes

Let’s sniff out the details about your favorite red wine grape varieties and the wines they’re producing. The more you know, the better the wine. Click through our collection of red wine grape varieties to sip them in.

Cabernet Sauvignon (kab-er-nay saw-vin-yawn) is one of the most respected grape varieties. The grape is widely grown throughout the world and is known to be consistent, with complex flavors, that develop after long periods of time. It is the most planted of all the red grape varieties. The varietal is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have deep color, good structure, and a full body. They are tannic in youth, especially when aged in oak and often require a few years to develop. This is a wine that can age. Because of the tannin in Cabernet Sauvignon, vintners tend to mix this grape with at least one other to reduce the “astringency.” Usually a Cabernet Sauvignon blend is made with merlot, as it is not as tannic and brings a nice fruity flavor to the wine.

When the grape is produced in a cooler climate you will get more red fruit and a lighter style. The warmer climate produces more black fruit-forward wines with higher alcohol and tannins. The varietal requires plenty of heat and sunny climates to fully ripen. It is at home in warmer climates. These vines thrive well in sand, gravel and stone soil environments.

Some of the dominant flavors on the nose and palate include black currant, black cherry, eucalyptus, mint, bell pepper (cool climate); dark chocolate, cedar, vanilla, tobacco, (aged in new oak ); coffee, caramel, cigar box (well-aged).

Merlot (murr-low) is a red wine grape variety with deep historical roots in Bordeaux and Southwest France. 

Merlot is a much fruitier wine than Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a nice flavor, reminiscent of black currant. Merlot has a beautiful dark color, is full-bodied and is high in alcohol content. Merlot is also the most planted grape in Bordeaux and is very popular in California, Italy, Chile and other regions where Cabernet is grown.

Merlot wine, known for black cherry flavors, silky tannins, and smooth finish, is easily confused with Cabernet Sauvignon, its frequent blending partner and sibling grape. Both Merlot and Cab Sauv are offspring of the Cabernet Franc grape. 

In the vineyards, the Merlot grape matures early and ripens fully even in slightly cooler climates. In recent decades, the grape’s presence continues to increase due to its reliable ripening characteristics.

Nebbiolo​ (nebby-oh-low) is considered one of Italy’s main red wines. The grape is native to the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, where wines have been made since at least the first century. The top two Nebbiolo​ wine regions in Piedmont are Barolo and Barbaresco. (When you see  Barolo and Barbaresco wines, they’re made from the Nebbiolo​ grape.) ​However, this popular red grape is found across Northern Italy.

Nebbiolo grapes grow in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Barolo and Barbaresco wines are made from this grape. Barolo wine is more complex and fuller-bodied than Barbaresco that requires aging. Barbaresco wine is a more refined, elegant Nebbiolo wine.

Malbec (mal-bek) is a full-bodied, inky dark red wine grape that originated in France. A softer, less tannic Malbec grape was planted in Argentina in 1868 where is has one of the most widely grown grape in the country.

A high-quality bottle from Argentina can be heavy on tannins, which contributes to the drier mouthfeel, whereas a more affordable bottle made in the United States might have moderate tannins and appear to be smoother or softer on the palate.

Malbec is so fruity and smooth, it often doesn’t need as much oak-aging. Bottom-shelf wines may only get 4–6 months in oak, whereas top-shelf Malbec gets as much as 18–20 months in oak.

The Regions

We are going on a journey tonight! We have a good mixture of wine producing regions. With the exception of Barolo all other wines are ‘generic’ in terms of their origin. That will help us get an overall feeling of the wines produced in each area and overview the different classification systems.

AVA = American Viticulture Area

California is the largest and most important wine region in the USA. It produces 90 percent of American-made wine. It also supplies more than 60 percent of all wine consumed in the country. With mountains, valleys, plains and plateaux, California’s topography is as complex as its climate, offering winegrowers a bewildering choice of terroir. Even though a wide range of traditional European vines is also cultivated, the principal varieties grown in California are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. 

Shopping Tip:- Generally, the cooler regions closer to the coast are better suited to cool climate grape varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Further inland – where the climate is much hotter – some of California’s most famous red wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel produces some outstanding examples throughout the state.

AOC = Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée

Simplicity in a bottle

Benefiting from a vast territory, diversity of soil, climate and vines, Bordeaux offers a large range of wonderful wines to suit everyone. Even if each bottle is unique, this AOC boasts ripe fruit.  

When you think about « Bordeaux », Château comes to mind, but Bordeaux can also mean much more. Meaning that a good red can also come from a quality blend made in trader’s wineries or wine cooperatives. Behind the label hides much more than a simple red wine, it hides a vintage of secrets just waiting to be discovered.

… for the pleasures of tasting

 Bordeaux red is a moment of conviviality and we say that its simplicity is in a bottle. It doesn’t matter how fancy or not your meal is, Bordeaux red will always stand tall on a table. An easy drinking wine that everyone can afford and appreciate on any occasion. A beautiful structure with a lovely roundness in mouth.

GI = Geographical Indication

Mendoza is Argentina’s most important wine growing region contributing to 70% of total wine production. It is located 600 miles southwest of Buenos Aires in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. It’s alluvial soils, dry climate with hot sunny days and cool nights, and high altitudes are key factors contributing to its production of high quality wines.

There are three primary wine growing regions in Mendoza: Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley.

Maipú is one of the oldest and most traditional winemaking areas within Mendoza.
Luján de Cuyo is Argentina’s first delineated appellation for the purposes of wine production, recognized by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), as a DOC. The vineyards in Luján de Cuyo sit at altitudes of around 3280 ft. The majority of the vineyards are on alluvial soils — sand or stone surfaces on top of clay.
Uco Valley is the up-and-coming winegrowing region in Mendoza. It contains the sub-regions of Tupungato, Tunuyán, and San Carlos. In this region the highest altitude vineyards climb from 5,580 ft. and upwards.

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