SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE WINE KNOWLEDGE
Updated: Feb 12, 2021
According to a widespread theory, choosing a good wine is a totally subjective matter - that is, everybody should be able, in principle, to select the right wine for them.
I personally disagree to some extent. Saying that wine tasting is merely a subjective exercise is an easy but not entirely honest educational approach. There are hundreds of great wines out there, of different quality and price, and thousands more awaiting to be discovered: an endless choice of bottles to select which, for those who are a little familiar with wine, could be a difficult if not an impossible task, no matter their taste buds’ inherent potential.
Today, with the world wine market being so complex and multifaceted, knowledge is an important factor supporting your decision making. Your palate is certainly important in order to determine your best choice but know that wine is not only an object of pleasure but also of knowledge, and the pleasure depends on the knowledge.
So you should be knowledgeable about wine as well: study, taste, experiment! Knowing your wines will make you a conscious and happier wine lover. As a consequence, you will learn that there are wines which are objectively and invariably good and you will be able not only to choose the right wines for you but also – surprise! - find out that they are usually appreciated by a large crowd of wine connoisseurs.
Why is that internationally acclaimed and authoritative Wine Magazines, Wine Guides and Wine Professionals do come out - every year - with Top 100 or Top 10 “Best wines in the world” lists? How do they manage, in doing so, to influence wine markets worldwide and determine trends, prices and preferences? It is not only about marketing but also about the right blend of subjective and objective knowledge. Would you dare claim that a Barolo Rinaldi or Conterno don’t suit your taste buds? Or that you don’t like a Masseto, a Sassicaia or an Amarone Dal Forno for that matter? On the other hand, there are hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who currently buy and enjoy Novellino wine: is there something wrong about their palates or their knowledge?
Just keep your mind – and palate – open: study, taste and experiment. And if most of the wines in those "Best Top 10 or 100" lists are only available far away in the Old or New World countries or too expensive to taste, then focus on your local market for new experiences.
What makes a wine “excellent” is the intensity of its aromas and flavors, its complexity, balance and structure adding up to an overall impression of unity and completeness.
What makes a wine “great” is when, in addition to being excellent, it induces a sense of wonder, it stimulates your imagination and promises something more, as if you can never quite get enough of it...
Browse below a list of Italian wines which you can easily find and taste in Makati City, at iTrulli's Wine Bar, without emptying your wallet. While your taste buds will be grateful, your subjective and objective wine knowledge will also greatly increase.
Cartizze Brut Colesel This Prosecco is produced in the Cartizze “Cru” sub-area of Santo Stefano in Valdobbiadene (Veneto). The highest end of Prosecco, it has fine and persistent bubbles, fruity aroma and soft flavor. Excellent for every occasion, ideal with anything salty and mildly spicy.
Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino
Italy’s Campania region is known for its strong-flavored white Fiano grape, which is grown also elsewhere in Southern Italy. Fiano is nutty and textured with floral and honeyed notes, spice and tropical fruit flavors like pineapple. The flavor is surprising for the sweet, ripe sensations and the slightly bitter finish. Pair it - among others – with risotto ai funghi porcini.
Ribolla Gialla Turian Collavini Ribolla Gialla is one of the oldest white grape grown in Italy’s north-eastern Friuli region. Star-bright straw yellow with pale green highlights. Subtly elegant, fruit-led aromatics laced with floral essences of acacia blossom.Fresh lemon savour perks up the elegant palate. Food matchings: as an aperitivo or with starters, soups, stewed fish and seafood.
Soave Classico La Rocca Pieropan One of Italy’s greatest white wines, from Veneto. A single vineyard selection of the most spellbinding honeyed richness and stone fruit intensity. Golden yellow, with aromas of almond, honey and ripe apricots. The long finish has a light mineral edge. Works very well with chicken or pork corked in a richer, even creamy, sauce. Also interesting with aged white cheese – not least sheep's milk cheeses.
Barolo Ravera Cogno
The "wine of kings, the king of wines" from Piemonte. Brilliant garnet-red in color with orange highlights. Firm, elegant and potent on the nose, it has scents of rose, mint and tobacco that meld over the course of time into spice, coffee, licorice, truffle, leather and minerals. A full-bodied, rounded bouquet of great structure and balance, redolent of plum jam. The persistent chocolatey aftertaste is harmonious and enticing. Over the years, it gradually refines its characteristics to achieve classic elegance and composure. Serving suggestion: Goes well with braised meats, stewed game, roasts, and mature cheeses.
Barbaresco Icardi Icardi’s Barbaresco, also a Piedmontese Nebbiolo, is garnet in color with complex aromas of forest fruits, licorice, mineral, and coffee scents. Long, complex finish with fine, silk-like tannins and good acidity; dense structure, full of ripe fruit. Perfumed with black cherry, strawberry and flowers is to be paired with beef, game, stews, lamb, veal, rabbit, and aged cheese.
Amarone della Valpolicella Montresor One of Italy’s greatest symbolic wines. From Veneto again. Bold aromas of cherry, black fig, cinnamon and plum along with subtle notes of green peppercorn and chocolate. On the palate Amarone wines often have medium-plus to high acidity balanced with high alcohol and flavors of black cherry, brown sugar and chocolate. It is highly recommended with roasted and grilled meat and game meat but you may consider it a “meditation wine” as well.
Brunello di Montalcino La Togata Dark ruby in color, showing beautiful aromas of crushed berries, with hints of sultana, raisin and spices. Full-bodied, with a rich, powerful palate. This has layers of fruit and a fabulous finish. A Sangiovese Grosso wine from Tuscany, La Togata Brunello di Montalcino’s harmonious body and alcohol content marry well with strong flavors such as feathered and furred game and with wild boar. When serving a complex dish and side dish such as mushrooms or truffles, you are surely on the safe side with a glass of Brunello. Another great pairing is Brunello di Montalcino and cheese. Its flavors blend perfectly with strong, mature food flavors.
Sassicaia Incisa della Rocchetta Bolgheri
One of Italy’s and Tuscany's most iconic bottles, the Sassicaia is drop-dead gorgeous. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, it boasts sensations of blue flowers, cedar, juicy red currants, ripe raspberries, white pepper and a balsamic note. Structured, radiant and loaded with finesse, it delivers everything you’d expect from a world-class wine and more. Full bodied, ultra-refined tannins and an exquisite finish. This is all about delicacy, finesse and grace. Food pairings: braised lamb, duck breasts, beef tenderloin.
Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryè Donnafugata One of the most appreciated sweet Italian wines in the world. This wonderful Pantelleria island wine, made from Zibibbo grapes, surprises with its freshness and complexity. The bouquet is intense and fragrant: typical aromas of apricots and candied citrus zest combined with balsamic scents of Mediterranean scrub and sweet notes of honey and fresh figs. The palate is well defined and intense, with pleasant sweetness well balanced by a fresh vein of acidity and lively sapidity. Amazing paired with blue cheeses, caramelized duck and foie gras. It goes well with pastries and gourmet chocolate like gianduja. Extraordinary alone, sipped as a meditation wine.
Note: the wines above have been selected by Philippine Sommeliers Inc.’s Italian Wine Professionals and are available at Makati City's Concept Store iTrulli Fashion, Food and Wine.