Organoleptic properties: all the characteristics to evaluate a wine

Organoleptic properties of wine represent a set of qualities and characteristics that distinguish one product from another. They are chemical-physical factors perceived at a visual and sensorial level, in other words what it is possible to see, smell and taste, of a wine. But not only. Organoleptic properties are also the set of reactions and emotions, more or less intense, that a wine (or a food in general), can arouse in a person. The sensorial analysis of a wine includes many phases: visual analysis, olfactory analysis, gustatory analysis and the final phase. During each of these steps, the wine is carefully “analyzed” under different points of view. At the end, during the last phase, the conclusive one, are described in detail the general sensations derived from the whole of each parameter considered. It is therefore obtained the evolution stage of a wine as well as its general harmony.

Clarity, Transparency, Fluidity

Visual analysis is the first phase done when trying to understand what are the organoleptic properties of a wine, whether it is red or white. Appearance is the first factor taken into consideration, a factor which is used to define very accurately the many organoleptic properties which will be confirmed or not in the following phases. The first thing to be evaluated is color. This defines a wine in a significant way. For example Amarone della Valpolicella by Fratelli Vogadori is a wine having an intense ruby red color; whereas Recioto della Valpolicella by Fratelli Vogadori shows a ruby red color with violet hues, warm and velvety.

Besides color, its limpidity and transparency are evaluated. These two characteristics are used to better define the capacity of the wine to let light shine through and the possible presence of impurities or residuals. Therefore it is a parameter which evaluates the presence or not of suspended particles. In organic wine a certain quantity of suspended particles is to be considered more than normal. This is because they are not subjected to a strict filtration, or because their has continued even after bottling, or finally because they are very full bodied and important red wines which have been aged in cask for many years.

In relation to clarity, a wine can be

  • Cloudy
  • Fairly limpid
  • Limpid
  • Crystalline
  • Brilliant

Proprietà organolettiche

Effervescence, froth and color

The “effervescence” factor has a separate chapter. This is one of the organoleptic properties of wines which, once uncorked, develop bubbles (technically defined as perlage). When a bottle is opened, in fact, wine releases a small quantity of carbon dioxide, a gaseous substance at room temperature. This substance easily dissolves in aqueous solutions, just like wine does. The opening of bottles releases carbon dioxide whose bubbles are typical in sparkling wines (such as Fratelli Vogadori’s Spumante Brut) and in sparkling wines.

The quantity of carbon dioxide present in a wine depends by temperature and pressure. In the article: “Brut sparkling wine: history, definition and classification” we saw that corks in sparkling wine bottles help to create an overpressure in carbon dioxide, which is released once they are uncorked. At low temperatures the gas is easily dissolved.

Carbon dioxide contributes to the formation of froth. Moreover it is used to highlight the color of sparkling wine, its aroma and its brilliance. Bubbles also reinforce the sensation of freshness of the product. Bubbles are classified as: fine, numerous, or persistent.

Organoleptic Properties of Amarone

Let’s now return to our Amarone della Valpolicella and let’s see what are its organoleptic properties. Let’s start from the color, which we have already said is an intense ruby red-garnet. The bouquet is fine and has a perfect mix of cherry, vanilla, chocolate, spices, dried flowers and tobacco, which blend together to give life to a truly exceptional bouquet. In the mouth it is very elegant and releases a soft, warm and enveloping sensation. It is very reminiscent of that of a ripe fruit, but at the same time, refreshing and thirst quenching. The taste of Amarone della Valpolicella is characterized by a very long persistence and has a good acidity. It is therefore a red wine having a great structure, complex, elegant and velvety. Surely a wine that can be matched to the table in a splendid way, but it can also be easily tasted alone.