Saturday, March 20, 2010

Diary of a Sommelier Student- Lesson 2 - Off to the Vineyards

“Il vino si fa in vigna’ Wine is made in the vineyards. This is how Ais Napoli President, Tommaso Luongo opened our second Level 1 lesson last Monday, March 15th. Then he introduced us to the guest lecturer of the evening; Dotteressa Maria Sarnataro. Dr. Sarnataro is one of the best-President of Ais Cilento-Valle di Diano and National Advisor to ONAF. She began the evening with a brief historical background of how wine entered into our society…as far back as the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Sumerians all the way up to the 1860s . This is about when phylloxera (a parasite from the aphid family from America) destroyed a large number of vineyards causing many to change their rootstock to the ‘piede americano’, a root that is resistant to this parasite.

We were here to learn about the vineyards and that we did. Dottoressa Sarnataro went into great detail on topics such as the various grafting techniques, production of the barbatelle (rooted cutting), the lifecycle of the vineyard, machines used for harvesting, and the evolution of grape growing. While she spoke, a slide presentation accompanied her lesson and was quite useful as she presented the different types of of vineyards from tendone, cordone speronato, guyot, pergola trentina, to name a few.

The lesson almost over-time for the weekly wine tasting. At this point, Tommaso Luongo rejoined us to give us advice as we tasted the wines. We are still students, so Dottoressa Sarnataro reminded us that some terminology that is used in formal wine tastings, well, we just aren’t ready. Not as an insult-but the truth. We need to go one step at a time. This week, three wines from Campania.

1) Fiano  ‘DonnaLuna’ DOCG 2008, DeConcillis 13%

This was a nice Fiano and I was happy to get the chance to try one from Cilento. We noticed a light straw color, aromas of white flowers, mature fruit, warmth on our tongue.

2) Falanghina ‘Folius’ DOC 2006 Cantina del Taburno , 13%

Here, a darker straw color partly because this wine spent time in a barrique. The aromas we smelled such as vanilla back up this point. Some students smelled honey, others spices, elegant flowers. It was piacevole. As we tasted, a good balance, freschezza, morbidezza.

3) Piedirosso ‘Kerres’ IGT 2006 I Pentri 13 % (non filtered)

Our red for the evening’s color can be described as grenadine red . Aromas such as plum, spices were the responses from the class. A toasty, spice smell accounts for the time spent in the barrique. We noticed a good evolution of tannins, a dry red. We did not feel calore (warmth) but noticed a morbidezza (softness, mellowness, tenderness)

So our second lesson ended, leaving our class satisfied and eager for next week’s lesson. Stay tuned….

I would like to publicly thank our sommeliers for the evening, Luca Massimo Bolondi and Giorgio Napolitano, who served our class (now up to 60 students) with elegance and class.

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