How to start learning about wines

The world of wine can seem vast and confusing, especially if you are just starting out. Let's begin from here: to learn about wine, both theory and practice are important. The theory provides more or less fixed parameters for knowing and precisely recognizing some characteristics of wine. For this part, an introductory wine course is a good idea.

But, what about practice? The more you taste, the more you learn to recognize different styles, scents, and flavors. By visiting different wineries you learn about the many production methods that every wine producer can choose from. So, probably the most correct answer is to do wine tastings. So, let's start with the questions that are most often asked of us who have been producing wine in Chianti for years, one of the best-known and most visited areas in the world.

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Here are some questions from those who come for a tasting at Cantalici.

Is it true that wine improves as time passes?

There's a cliché that sounds like this: the longer a red wine is left in the bottle, the more it improves, while white wines must be drunk quickly.
Neither of these is true.

Some red wines are particularly suitable for bottle aging which can last for years, or in some cases even decades. The taste of a wine evolves while aging, as well as its organoleptic properties, and softness.
However, not all reds are suitable for aging. Some are meant to be drunk almost immediately. And in this case, keeping them in the cellar for too long will probably make the wine unpleasant to the nose and the palate.

The time limit for drinking a white wine is usually said to be a year after the harvest. There are exceptions also for whites: well-structured and particularly full-bodied white wines can age in the bottle for up to four years.

The best advice we can give you is to talk to the producer if you are in the winery, or with an expert if you are in a wine shop or similar. 

What is meditation wine?

Being enrolled in a Yoga course is not a necessary requirement to appreciate this type of wine. The meditation wine is thus defined due to the harmony of its organoleptic characteristics which give it a very intense and enveloping taste.
Furthermore, meditation wines are designed precisely to satisfy the pleasure of those who want to enjoy only the flavor of the wine, and therefore they are often not paired with food; a good meditation wine simply frames those beautiful evenings made up of family, friends, and love.

What makes some wines expensive?

For some wines, the price reflects the quality, but this is not always the case. A wine may have a higher price because it has limited production, due to the exclusivity of the company, the attention and selection of the raw material, or even the passion of the producer.
However, trends and marketing also deeply affect the final price of wines. Some excellent niche wines are sold at lower prices than others that are more recognizable but not necessarily better.

So, unfortunately – or fortunately? - price is not a definite parameter to assess the quality of a wine. 

 

What do you mean by a good year for wine?

A vintage is good when the weather favors the development of the grapes from spring to harvest.
The optimum is a mild climate with temperature changes between day and night, particularly welcome in the summer period, so that the vine can cool down. Actually, better if the temperature change is accompanied by light rain.

 

How to recognize a quality wine?

Here is the question that encompasses all the others.
First of all: you open it, you taste it, and if you like it… Voit-là, the wine is good! This is the simple answer.

Then there is a more complex one. In addition to personal taste, there are some more "objective" characteristics that allow you to evaluate the quality of a wine. In particular:

  • the production area: that is, knowing whether the harvest year had a favorable climate or not helps to partially determine the quality level;
  • the clarity of the color;
  • clean aromas on the nose;
  • have patience and respect the timing of the wine: the maceration phase of a higher quality wine requires longer times, as does the refinement in wood and subsequent stabilization in the bottle.

On our online shop, there are very interesting whites, reds, and rosé wines to choose from, or...

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