How to: “Traditional Wine tasting with Riesling” – Lott Festival Editon
How to: “Traditional Wine tasting with Riesling” – Lott Festival Editon. As I come from the Mosel Region in Germany, which is famous for its Riesling white wine, I wanted to give you an insight into a professional Winetasting, how it works & intersting background information.
Introduction: Lott festival 2017
As some might know, I, Claire, basically grew up with a Festival, named Lott Festival. Yes, I have been there every single year of my life & my mum still denies it, but I am born exactly 9 months after the Lott festival 1996. If i would have to describe it, I would say: It’s kind of a huge family meeting, where everybody comes together, works together, eats together, lives together for around 2 weeks. In the end we build up a festival together. Life music, art, politic discussions, hippie carawans, drunk people, stones people and just a feeling of freedom. If you know me a little bit, that basically lott is a topic for all around the year. It’s like time stops, you wake up in your tent, brush your teeth, make yourself breakfast and start your day thinking: “what am I going to build today?” – I realized that for a whole day I didn’t look at my phone once, never even asked what time it is. You basically life like a child again & the only indication of time is breakfast, lunch , dinner and the sun. Enough from Lott festival now !!!! i could talk about it for hours. Anyways, one of the people of Lott Festival is David. David is a traditional Mosel Winegrower & he gave me the opportunity to document a wine tasting for you. What has that to do with Lott? Well, we did it on Thursday afternoon during the preparations 😀
Lets Start: Mosel is a river located in the south-west of Germany. Next, to the beautiful river, nature, the forests and the climate the region is famous for its wine. Wine yards are covering the hills everywhere you look & nearly every neighbor has its own winery. As kids, we always used to earn our money with harvesting the grapes & the highlight of the year is the wine festival, where thousands of people from all over the globe travel to and get drunk from the fan tasting varieties of Mosel Riesling.
The wine we are famous for is the Riesling Wine. What makes it so unique is the very strong flavourful white wine. It varies from very sour and fruity to extremely sweet and berry-like, but we come to that later. There are many kinds of white wines & Riesling is basically just the name of the
Today I wanted to give you a little insight into a traditional wine-tasting and the story of our wines.
Therefore, I want to introduce you to David Moog. As I am currently at Lott festival, wine is a big thing. Especially because David and his father always bring wine for the volunteers. Yes! My region might sometimes be a bit quiet and unspectacular but wine is always really good and abundant: D
So yesterday we sat together & listened to David talking about the corks and the history of hem and why he thinks that he does not want to change anything about the corks on the wine bottles. After a while, I had the idea of organizing a wine-tasting which I could document for our blog. Completely drunk of course: P So we had the idea to make it the next day on the festival. So here is HOW TO: Wine-tasting Lott festival edition.
So here is an overview of the basics of Riesling wine and the steps you go through during a wine tasting, what is important and what might be useful if you maybe do one at home for your friends as well.
Answering the questions: why do people always shake the glasses in this strange way? & why they always need to put their noses into the glass? And why the hell do some make those strange noises while they slurp the wine?
Basics about a wine tasting Q&A :
Taste: Riesling wine has three different categories in taste: they vary in sweet medium and dry
What do all these certificates and names mean?
The wine gets names and certificates, which are dependent on the sweetness of the cider. So, they get ranked before the fermentation by the wine grower him/herself. Wine laboratories afterwards analyse the wine and give you everything you need to get a certificate and the allowance to give your wine a certain name.
What are the names for the different ranks of quality of the wine?
first of all, there are two main different differentiations: Predicate wine and land wine which also differ in quality within each segmentation.
Landwein, Tafelwein, Hochgewächs, QbA: starting with the lowest quality. They are the wines you buy in a discounter in a tetra pack. The main difference is that they can have additives like yeast, sugar, alcohol.
Prädikat wine: Kabinett, Spätlese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein: All of them are not allowed to have any additives and they need to be ensured to come from a specific region and the kind of plant must be known. Starting with the lowest wine upwards, the wine scores higher in the Oechsle scale. The Oechsle scale indicates the grapes sweetness.
What is Ice wine? The grapes are harvested when the outside temperature drops below -5° C. Ice wine is so special because of its sweetness. Due to the fact that they get harvested frozen, the water stays frozen during the further process and only the sugary juice of the grape can be extracted. Although, Ice wine can’t be produced every year due to the weather conditions. Every winegrower therefor has to decide whether he/she is willing to take the risk.
What do the numbers on the bottle mean? The first 7 numbers on the wine are the identification of the winery, then where the wine comes from and lastly the vintage.
Is it allowed to add sugar to wine? Yes, it is, but then it needs to be documented, changing the certificate of the wine to a land wine. Sometimes, if a year have had very little hours of sun, there is no other way than to do so.
Where is the specific name of the wine originated from? It is the name of the location it has grown in. Some wine growers also started to establish brand names for their wine. There are no limitations. the strangest name I know is: “Bikini view & Kröver naked ass”
Why can wine be vegan?
Sometimes wineries use gelatine to get out all of the opaque materials. After the process the gelatin gets removed again. Normally the opaque materials start swimming on the surface as they start to sedimentation and they can be easily removed. The natural method just takes a little more time, which is why gelatin is useful. For our region it is quite uncommon to use gelatin and David is also not a big fan of using gelatin.
Why can one vintage completely differ in taste for the same wine?
Because wine is extremely dependent on the weather. Especially the hours of sun, the amount of rain, the temperature and the humidity can have a huge impact on the riping process of the grapes. The more sun, the sweeter the grape.
Why do you often spit out the wine in a wine-tasting? For the simple reason that you would get extremely drunk otherwise *David laughs*
What do you normally eat during a wine-tasting? normally only water and neutral bread.
Tip for the summer: dry wine with a mild sourness and a sip of mineral water.
Did you know? There are people, so called sommeliers, who can tell you just by tasting the wine, which ground the wine came from, which year and the region.
All about the process of making wine:
- the grapes get harvested
- they get grinded and the juice gets pressed out
- the white wine keeps the stamps in the wine, whereas for red wine its important that the stamps are being removed, because of the bitterness which they add to the wine.
- Before the wine gets cleared they are left to stand and sediment the clear juice to the bottom.
- The clear juice gets pushed by gravity to a tank to ferment.
- There are two options now: either you add yeast or you don’t. Why? because it needs yeast to start a fermentation. The yeast may also influence the taste of the wine strongly, so this is actually a way to manipulate the wine. This mostly happens with dry wines.
- You can also leave the wine and the yeast cultures which are on the surface of the grapes will to their job (if there is enough yeast). This is called spontaneous fermentation.
- Sometimes you need to add yeast to promote the fermentation to happen.
- now you leave the wine in the tanks until they get put into bottles & be sold.
How to Winetasting:
We tested 3 different white Riesling wines from Moog. Differentiating from dry, medium dry and sweet.
Step 1: open the bottle and fill the glasses
Holding the glass: Hold the glass on its handle. With three fingers, but its completly dependent on how you prefer it best
All get glases (we had to run 3 times, to get everyone a glass from the volunteer’s kitchen)
Someone opens the bottle – cork should not break (it did with us :D)
Start with smelling the cork. Mostly it does smell like the wine, which can give hints on its taste. If it smells like cork, the corktransferredd its taste to the wine, which is mostly bad. That is also a reason why the industry changes to screw caps.
The cork: David uses a natural cork for traditional reasons. They do not have anything to do with tastes or quality of wines. Even the most expensive wineries start using screw caps for practical, sustainable and reasons of comfort. For David it’s part of a ceremony. (“someone says like rolling a cigarette” in the right corner of the room when he sais that). You hear the *Blop* when opening the bottle. You smell the cork and directly know some features of he wine, how it smells and wheather the cork transfered its taste to the wine.
The glasses get filled until the first line
Step 2: Look at the wine
Take the glass and look at the color of the wine.
-ours was slightly green and yellow.
You can tell a little bit about the wine by its color. Generally, you can say that if a wine is very dark it is mostly older or has a lot of alcohol or it is very sweet. You call that a fat wine. If there were a lot of dried grapes in the process it is possible that its color has some purple in it.
Step 3: Smell the wine
Start with taking your glass and move the wine onto the glass sides. That allows the wine to enlarge its surface so you get more of the smell.
If you see that the wine leaves a lot of streaks non the sides you can say that it either has a lot of sugar or a lot of alcohol.
Did you know? : You have an active and passive nose whole. It changes every 45 minutes so your muscosa can regenerate. That is why you should try to find the active one, in order to smell the wine. Just close one of. your nose whole with your finger and smell.
Definitely listen to your own impression and thougts. There is no right or wrong. The smell is one of the pleasures of a good wine so just enjoy it and make your own thoughts.
For David, the smell is the biggest pleasure of the wine tasting. For him the taste is limited & the words of describing a smell are unlimited and that is what gives it its beauty. But he also says, that sometimes he just wants the wine to be wine & not to be over analyzed.
Riesling is often said to smell like green apples and lemon, but a first-time user won’t really get the differences. Martin Müllen, a winegrower in our region is said to have the most intense wines when it comes to smell.
The older the wine, the more it is going to smell. Also, a wine can lose its smell when it gets moved to much. Every movement of the wine and every second of touching oxygen will reduce its quality. That means every step in the production needs to be as careful as possible. So the process is often determined by sedimentation and gravity.
Step 5: Drinking
How to make this strange slurping sound: Pour in a little bit of wine and roll your though. Then kind of inhale. You want to do that so the wine relieves all of it tastes. Let the magic happen!
the optimal drinking temperature is 5°C in David’s opinion. You start to taste more and smell more at that temperature.
*one starts smoking weed next to us*
David tells us that strong deo, weed, cigaretts, and perfume are the absolute devils for a wine tasting and grinches. Everyone smokes a cigarette.
The taste of a wine has its own philosophies. Many people discuss for hours and hours over the taste of wine. Is it tasting like summer honey or forest honey? Raspberries or Strawberries?
That is where only your own impression counts. There is no right or wrong! The moment in which you sit quiet, eyes closed and trying to find out of what taste the wine reminds you count. That is what makes the pleasure in a wine tasting.
FInd out how people describe wines & what they mean by it here: http://winefolly.com/tutorial/40-wine-descriptions/
Last but not least it is to say that: Wine is pure pleasure. When you are having hour long discussions over it or just get drunk with your friends.
When you are having a winetasting always remember that the word of mouth is limited. Senses are all about how you perceive them and it is always hard to communicate them. At the end, the only thing that matters is: Do you personally like the wine or not. After that, there are the reasons whether you like the wine or not.