Monday, March 22nd, I was a little apprehensive about my third lesson to begin. The topic for the evening was wine production. A topic, I feared, if not presented just right, I would get lost in the vocabulary, formulas, scientific discussions. So, I was happy to see that our guest lecturer for the evening was Francesco Martusciello, noted enologist and Grotte del Sole CEO. If there was ever a person who would be able to grab my attention on this subject, I was confident that he would be the one...and I was correct.
Una chiacchierata, a discussion, as Francesco called it, on wine production beginning with the vendemmia, harvest. Wine making, good wine making, requires a lot of human intervention.The big question here was when do you harvest? An answer might be, when the grape is mature. Well, yes, but it also depends on what your intent is. When a grape matures, the level of sugar increases while the acidity decreases. So, if you want a spumanti with high acidity and low sugar, you would pick the grapes earlier than if you wanted to make a sweet dessert wine.
Another area he went into was how do want to harvest? Francesco strongly believes that the best way is by hand, using crates that are ventilated and will not hold more than 20 kg. This obviuosly takes more time and will cost the winery more money, but here the key is quality.
Grapes picked, we went into discussions on fermentation and the wine presses. Decisons need to be made like where will you ferment the wine? Steel vats or wooden barrels. This, once again, depends on your intent. Where will you age the wine? The answer, once again, what do you want the final product to be. White wine or red? Young wine? Steel Vat. You want it to age...wooden barrel. Wooden barrel or barrique? What size, type of wood, and how it was produced...all questions that need to be answered each step of the way. I had no idea.
Then it is on to bottling and deciding how long you should age the wine in the bottle before it goes on sale. So it is a complex process.
Now time for the wine tasting. Once again, three wines. This time, however, Francesco led us through the wine tasting follwoing the Ais wine tasting card which was on the big screen behind us. The wines were served in the following order:
Collio Pinot Bianco 2007 DOC 14%-Toros
Visually, we noticed a pale straw color, crystal clear, and fliud. The aromas were a quite intense, scarcely complex, elegant, fruity, mineral, and balsamic. Taste-dry, medium warm, quite fresh, quite tannic, sapid, balanced, weak body, ready, and well rounded.
Costa D'Amalfi 2008 13%-Marisa Cuomo
Here we have a rosè. Visually, cherry red, limpid, and fluid. The aromas were a quite intense, scarcely complex, and fruity. Taste- dry, quite fresh, quite warm, smooth, balanced, ready, and well rounded.
Coppo Barbera D'Asti 2006 13%-Camp Du Ross
A nice red. Visual examination, ruby color, flowing and limpid. The aromas were quite intense, quite complex, and fruity. We could smell plums. Taste-dry, warm, quite smooth, quite fresh, sapid, quite balanced, the right level of tannins, young, and harmonious.
Another great lesson. Francesco Martusciello will be back next week to continue his chiaccherata. Stay tuned.