In June 2011, the practical exam of the Master of Wine featured this very question:
3) Wines 6 to 8 are made from different single grape varieties and are from the same region of origin.
For all three wines: a) Identify the region of origin as closely as possible; For each wine: b) Identify the grape variety; c) Comment on the method of production
and so, a couple of weeks ago, we practiced using similar wines as the exam. in our tasting, we focused on the clues from the glass to argue as accurately to reach the proper conclusion. we tasted:
Wine 1 - Massolino Dolcetto 2007 (not in exam)
Wine 2 - Massolino Barbera d'Alba 2006
Wine 3 - Massolino Barolo 2006
a= appearance; n= nose; p= palate; c=conclusion
a- medium purple
n- fresh, vibrant, juicy, red fruits, floral, medium range aromatic spectrum
p- medium+ alcohol (13%), medium- tannin (silky), medium acidity, well balanced, black fruits, juicy, young, medium + length.
a- deep purple
n- restrained, peppermint, black & red fruits, touch of herbs, sour cherries, medium+ range aromatic spectrum
p- high alcohol (14%), high acidity, medium- tannin (silky), slightly "hot", juicy, medium+ length
a- medium- ruby w/ orange rim
n- restrained, rose petals, earth, autumn leaves, tobacco, complex, refined, wide aromatic spectrum
p- high alcohol (14%), high acidity, high tannin (silky), firm yet smooth, earthy, complex, long length
a) Identify the region of origin as closely as possible:
restrained aromatic on wine 2 and 3 suggest old world in style. medium to wide spectrum of aromatics overall together with high acidity in wine 2 and 3 and high alcohol overall suggest long and slow ripening from a continental climate or high altitude. overall high quality points to a premium region. the availability of 3 high quality grape varieties in the same region points to italy. the medium color of wine 1 and medium - color of wine 3 discount generally darker wines found in higher altitude region of trentino alto-adige. this brings us to piedmont. the rose petals and earthy notes of wine 3 suggest nebbiolo confirming piedmont as region of origin.
b) Identify the grape variety:
wine 1 is rather fresh with vibrant red fruits and floral notes, lowish levels of tannins and acidity suggestingdolcetto.
wine 2, with it's darker color, high acidity, and black berry fruits together with notes of herbs point to barbera.
wine 3, has the allmark of nebbiolo with its high acidity, high tannin, and high alcohol. the nose supports this conclusion with nots of rose petals, earth, autumn leaves. it's high quality and ageing potential further confirms nebbiolo as grapes for wine 3
c) Comment on the method of production:
wine 1 is fresh, light, and vibrant. the emphasis is on the fruit suggesting stainless steel fermentation at low temperature. the medium color points to short maceration. the medium spectrum of aromatics, medium acidity and alcohol together with silky tannins suggest high quality fruit at harvest. the freshness of aromaticssuggest no oak ageing.
wine 2 is restrained, yet has a well defined aromatics suggesting stainless steel fermentation and maturation with absence of oak. the wide spectrum of aromatics, high acidity and alcohol together with silky tanninssuggest high quality fruit at harvest. brambly fruits and sour cherries point to lowish temperature at fermentation.
wine 3 displays a complex nose of primary, secondary, and tertiary notes suggesting oak maturation for some time. confirmed byt well integrated and silky tannin. less emphasis on fruit points to highish temperature at fermentation. the wide spectrum of aromatics, high acidity and alcohol together with silky tannins suggest high quality fruit at harvest.
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