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Old Cellar or Wet Cardboard?

With these tips, cut a good figure as a novice at a wine tasting in South Tyrol.

You have probably had one or two glasses of wine before. But have you ever participated in a wine tasting? No? Well, the the time has come. South Tyrol is known for its high quality wines, which are exported all over the world. Wine tastings are also offered here in abundance, such as at the Nals Margreid Winery, which lies exactly between Merano/Meran and Bolzano/Bozen. From April to October, there will be a scheduled visit to the winery every Wednesday at 4 pm followed by a wine tasting. In addition to the wines, another special feature is the winery’s architecture.

The barrique cellar is located above ground, which is in itself unusual. It also looks like an oversized wine box, and is covered inside and outside with oak wood. In the course of its construction in 2011, the old vaulted cellar with cobblestones, wooden beams and columns from the year 1760 was completely restored. This project has paid off: at the Architecture Biennale in Venice, a specialist jury awarded Nals Margreid for their conversion and extension of the winery.

The Nals Margreid Winery is not only outstanding for its architectural highlights, but also scores with a range of award-winning wines. When Gambero Rosso, Robert Parker, Wine Spectator or Decanter & Co. choose the best wines, those of the winery always feature.

In order not to show up as a layman at your first wine tasting, we present you with a little wine-Knigge:
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Smelling, panning, spitting
It all starts with choosing the right deodorant. Yes, that's right. Please wear only a subtle deodorant and absolutely no perfume. You and the other participants want to smell the aromas of the wine, and not the flowery notes of your neighbour
Not so fast! Before drinking, the colour of the grape juice is judged. This gives the first signs of the age and taste of wine. Roughly speaking, with white wine, a greener (straw yellow) color means a younger wine.
A young red wine has a pale pink to purple border. An older red wine, however, has a brownish one. Lighter red wines usually have a less intense colon than a more intense wine. For rosé wines: young wines are strawberry-coloured, while mature ones are salmon-coloured.

After judging the colour, it's all about the smell. For this purpose, swirl the glass so that the flavours can develop better. Caution: sparkling wines does not need to be swirled, otherwise the perlage (the cascade of small bubbles) is lost.
The scent of a wine arises from the interplay of individual flavours. This total aroma is called the bouquet, the nose or the flower (if you want to be specific with technical terms). There are around 500 flavours in the wine (but not in each one, of course). What you take away from a wine is individual. Wines can smell fruity, flowery, woody or balsamic. With a secondary note of vanilla, toast, yeast, butter, oak or spices. And after that, a scent reminiscent of jam, autumn leaves or even stables.
If the wine smells of an old cellar or damp cardboard, then it has the so-called Korkschmecker, a bad sign.
After the smell comes the tasting. Hold a small sip for a moment in your mouth. The taste buds are spread over the tongue and the palate, so the wine must soak around the entire mouth, so that the entire aroma can unfold.
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With these tips, cut a good figure as a novice at a wine tasting in South Tyrol!

To answer the most important question right away: no, of course you do not have to spit out the tasted wine again. But you should. Because this way, you keep a clear mind and the sense of taste is less impaired. This is especially important when trying several wines. Our tip: in between, always eat a piece of bread (in South Tyrol, of course, Schüttelbrot) to neutralize the taste in your mouth.

Ask yourself the following questions during the tasting and memorize some of these terms, so that you can score points with your colleagues:

  • What does the wine remind you of? Is it easy or difficult? Strong or gentle? Fruity or harsh?
  • Does it have a dominant acidity or noticeable tannins? In wine language, these are called tannins and are recognized by the furry taste of the wine on the tongue.
  • Does the taste of the wine remain in the mouth and throat for a long time? In the wine language this is called the finish. Fruit notes or spicy aromas are retained for a good while with a good wine. The ideal is a distinctive, slowly fading finish.
  • Is the balance between sweetness, acid, tannins and alcohol good? In wine language: does the wine have a good balance? The more balanced the better.

We hope you enjoy your first wine tasting in South Tyrol and say "cheers"!

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