What is Geosensorial wine tasting ?
The contemporary informed wine lover is reviving the geosensorial tasting introduced by medieval connoisseur. Philippe Le Bel officialize this profession in 1312. It was organized by the "Compagnie des Courtiers Gourmets Piqueurs de Vin" . The connoisseur focussed on the mouthfeel.
Once in the mouth, perceptions of taste will nevertheless be favored when it come to the tasting of terroir wines since wine is made to touch us and we "touch" it with our mouth before allowing it to capture our imagination.
Even though, sensorial analysis and evaluation dominate the scene today with an over-emphasis on the "nose" of a wine, it is good to remember its invention was preceded by the gourmet's way of tasting: geosensorial tasting. This involves appreciating a wine by placing it in its home environement.
The palate is the main sensory organ for a true appreciation of terroir wine.
Principal qualifiers of gourmet's geosensorial tasting:
Texture, its fabric
The weft of fabrics differ and the same holds true for wine. In wines this is determined by the quality of the tannins wich is why it is important to allow them to reach ideal maturity according to the characteristics of each vintage. This "phenolic" or "skin" maturity is different from the technological maturity of classical oenologists which, simplified, depends on sugar and acidity.
Consistency, its vital texture
Wine connoisseurs speak of consistency and of "sève" rather than of potency since consistency is born from natural matter of wine, matter which, after fermentation induced by wild yeast will render a more or less concentrated juice, more or less dense, in the first place according to the characteristics and the quality of the terroir but also according to the quality of the vintage year. Other terms that are used are body, structure, framework, shoulders...
Viscosity, its smoothness
The viscosity is an imperative criteria for appreciating a terroir wine. It is nevertheless a term introduced as early as 1380 by Evrart de Conty in his "Problèmes d'Aristote": "The viscosity and smoothness of a sweet wine will also help (...) because a creamy and unctuous substance flows willingly from its very nature"
Suppleness, its first impression
The consistency of a terroir wine must always reveal itself with suppleness on the palate as an elegant first impression. In the "Dictionnaire de la langue du vin", Martine Courier maintains that "Suppleness qualifies a wine with consistency that contains no harshness and seems to adapt itself on the palate due to moderate avidity and astringency"
Vivacity, its exuberance
Vivacity is conferred by the natural acidity of the wine, the fruit of subtle fermentation transformations, including the famed malolactic fermentation in fine-grained oak barrels. Others terms are nervousness and tension.
Minerality, its signature
Davis Lefebvre, a oenologist who had the opportunity to make wine in France, California and New Zeland, reminds us that both mineral and organic chemistry exist. We know also that wine is very rich in minerals - up to 85% of its constituents- Olivier Humbrecht, one of the leaders of the terroir movement impresses: "Minerality is essential for the health and balance of a vineyard. Without minerality in a wine there is no signature of a specific terroir"
Lenght on the palate, a wine that lasts
If the wine presents an acidity which seems too pronounced in relation to its consistency and texture, the finish will be over-lively. If the tannins of the wine are not of good quality, the finish will have a drying effect. If the wine is too high in alcohol and lacks balance, the finish will be hot, burning.
Aromatic persistence is the duration for which a wine, once swallowed, retains the aromas perceived on the palate through the process of retro-olfaction.
"Geosensorial Tasting, the Art and Manner of tasting Wines of Origin", Jacky Rigaux, terre en vues