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Livio Felluga

Gustatory examination

Acidulous
Term applied to a wine with a strong, predominant sensation of acidity, which induces abundant, flowing salivation and a slight contraction of the gums. Normally, these are wines obtained from not very ripe grapes, or wines that possess marked acidity.

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Alcoholic
Term applied to a wine in which there is a strong, predominant impression of warmth. Normally, these are high alcohol-content wines (15-18°) obtained using special winemaking techniques, such as the addition of alcohol or sifone (grape juice whose fermentation has been stopped by addition of neutral spirits), or other wines with a high alcohol content that is out of balance with the other components. In such cases, the high alcohol content is an anomaly of the palate.

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Alcohols
It is common knowledge that alcohols influence the taste of wine. An alcohol content of more than 11-12° vol produces an impression of warmth and/or a slightly burning sensation on the tongue. A wine may be classified on the perception of warmth as:
Light - Not very warm - Fairly warm - Warm - Alcoholic.

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Astringent
Term applied to a wine in which there is a strong, predominant impression of coarseness and dryness, due to a lack of salivary secretion. Normally, this is due to an excess of tannins sufficient to determine an anomaly in the flavour.

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Cloying
Term applied to a wine in which there is a strong, predominant sensation of sweetness, not well supported by other components. The final result of sensory analysis will necessarily be negative, and the condition should be considered anomalous in the sample under examination.

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Doughy
Term applied to a wine with a predominant, almost excessive, sensation of softness due to a high concentration of glycerine and alcohol. Normally, this quality is the prerogative of the great white dessert wines obtained using special winemaking techniques (noble rot, drying the grapes or the addition of alcohol).

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Dry
Term applied to a wine with no perceptible sensation of sweetness. Normally, such wines have a residual sugar content of 1-5 g/l, a quantity which at most will contribute to a certain degree of softness.

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Excellent
Term applied to a wine with particularly distinctive gustatory and olfactory qualities, characterised by a finish of personality, with class, richness and complex sensations.

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Fairly fine
Term applied to a wine with reasonably delicate gustatory and olfactory qualities, and a pleasant finish that corresponds to the wine type under examination.

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Fairly fresh
Term applied to a wine with a moderate, pleasant sensation of acidity, which induces good salivation. This is an excellent characteristic of most young red wines, and not so young whites and rosés.

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Fairly harmonious
Term applied to a wine in which there is a slight imperfection in one or more aspects of sensory analysis.

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Fairly intense
Term applied to a wine in which discreet, well-balanced gustatory and olfactory sensations are perceptible.

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Fairly persistent
Term applied to a wine with a gustatory and olfactory persistence of 4-6 seconds.

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Fairly savoury
Term applied to a wine in which there is a pleasing, balanced sensation of freshness and savouriness. This is characteristic of wines with a normal proportion of minerals and extract.

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Fairly soft
Term applied to a wine with a pleasant sensation of softness due to a well-balanced content of glycerine and alcohol. Normally, such wines are young, ready to drink and moderately well-structured.

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Fairly tannic
Term applied to a wine in which there is a pleasant sensation of astringency. This is an excellent characteristic shared by many mid and well-structured wines that have already undergone successful ageing.

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Fairly warm
Term applied to a wine in which there is a distinct, pleasing impression of warmth. Normally, these are wines with an adequate alcohol content (11-12°) and in which the alcohol is perfectly complemented by the other components.

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Fairly well-balanced
Term applied to a wine with a prevalence of sensations of softness (sugars, alcohols and polyalcohols) over sensations of hardness (acids, tannins and mineral salts), or vice versa.

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Feeble
Term applied to a wine in which few gustatory or olfactory sensations are perceptible. Normally, such wines are defective.

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Fine
Term applied to a wine with good gustatory and olfactory qualities, and an attractively subtle, elegant finish.

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Flabby
Term applied to a wine with a distinct sensation of flabbiness due to the minimal presence of tannins, which support the flavour by contributing hardness. Such wines may be old or suffering from deterioration.

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Flat
Term applied to a wine whose lack of acidity leaves no trace of freshness in the mouth. Normally, these are wines suffering from some defect, such as the refermentation of certain acids, or old wines (wines in an advanced state of maturity).

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Fresh
Term applied to a wine with a distinct, pleasant sensation of acidity, which induces abundant salivation. This is an important characteristic of semi-sparkling white and rosé wines in general, and excellent in dry sparkling wines.

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Full-bodied
Term applied to a wine in which there is good, balanced structure, appropriate to the wine type. Normally, these are wines obtained from grapes that have reached an optimal degree of ripeness.

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Gustatory intensity
Gustatory intensity may be considered a vertical aspect of sensory analysis. In other words, it is due to a layering of taste, tactile and retro-olfactory sensations. A wine may be classified on its gustatory intensity as:
Feeble - Not very intense - Fairly intense - Intense - Very intense.

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Gustatory persistence
Gustatory persistence may be considered a horizontal aspect of sensory analysis. In other words, it is due to the lingering of taste, tactile and especially retro-olfactory sensations due to smell-related components. Gustatory and olfactory persistence, measured in seconds, or caudilies, from the moment of swallowing and exhalation, gives the length on the palate. A wine may be classified on its gustatory persistence as:
Short - Not very persistent - Fairly persistent - Persistent - Very persistent.

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Gustatory quality
Gustatory quality is the sum of the judgements regarding the wine’s gustatory and olfactory intensity and persistence. Evaluation to a large extent depends on the skill of the taster who, on the basis of his or her skills and knowledge, assesses the quality of the palate, taking into account parameters such as frankness, finesse, pleasantness and richness of flavour. In evaluating gustatory quality, it is also necessary to take into account the aroma on the palate, or retro-olfactory sensitivity, perceived partly by exhaling, and the taste, tactile and olfactory sensations of the finish. A wine may be classified on its gustatory quality as:
Ordinary - Not very fine - Fairly fine - Fine - Excellent.

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Harmonious
Term applied to a wine that perfectly combines all the components responsible for the product’s sensory characteristics. These are at their qualitative peak in the various stages of sensory analysis, producing complex, continuing sensations of pleasure.

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Heavy
Term applied to a wine with an excessive, disproportionate structure, which causes gustatory fatigue. It may be a characteristic of still immature wines destined for a long cellar life, or more frequently of products obtained by inappropriate vinification methods.

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Insipid
Term applied to a slight wine, totally lacking in mineral sensations. Normally, such wines have been obtained from poor-quality grapes and subjected to excessively energetic vinification, or are so old as to be lacking in flavour.

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Intense
Term applied to a wine in which good, well-characterised gustatory and olfactory sensations are perceptible.

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Light
Term applied to wine in which there is no impression of warmth because of its low alcohol content, generally below 4-4.5°, as in the case of Oltrepò Pavese Sangue di Giuda and Brachetto d’Acqui. When the condition is not present in such wines, this should be considered anomalous.

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Medium sweet
Term applied to a wine with a clearly perceptible, albeit not predominant, sensation of sweetness. Normally, such wines have a residual sugar content of 20-50 g/l.

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Mineral salts
The perception of sapidity, or savouriness, is normally little considered because it is usually in synergy with, or often masked by, acidity, which is a stronger sensation. Both perceptions also largely affect the same taste receptors and taste-sensitive areas of the tongue. The perception of sapidity is largely determined by the wine’s content of salts, but also, and above all, by the covering capacity of individual acids. A wine may be classified on its sapidity as:
Insipid - Not very savoury - Fairly savoury - Savoury - Salty.

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Not very fine
Term applied to a wine with mediocre gustatory and olfactory qualities, and an acceptable finish.

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Not very fresh
Term applied to a wine with a faint but pleasant sensation of acidity, which induces slight salivation. Normally, these are mature wines that have been aged for a certain length of time, in which the acidic component is barely perceptible.

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Not very harmonious
Term applied to a wine in which there are evident discrepancies in the three stages of sensory analysis (visual, olfactory and gustatory).

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Not very intense
Term applied to a wine in which few gustatory or olfactory sensations are perceptible. This characteristic should not be considered a defect if the products are designed to offer discreet, well-balanced gustatory and olfactory sensations.

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Not very persistent
Term applied to a wine with a gustatory and olfactory persistence of 2-4 seconds.

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Not very savoury
Term applied to a wine with a faint sensation of mineral flavour. Normally, such wines have a low proportion of extract and their savouriness is masked by acidity.

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Not very soft
Term applied to a wine with a faint sensation of softness. Normally, such wines are young or even immature, lack structure and have a low content of glycerine and alcohol.

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Not very tannic
Term applied to a wine in which there is a very faint sensation of astringency. Normally, such wines are reds that have little structure (new wines, rosés and so on), or aged red wines that contain the so-called “noble tannins”.

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Not very warm
Term applied to a wine in which there is a moderate impression of warmth. Normally, these are wines with a moderate alcohol content (10-11°) and wines with a predominance of fresh, tannic sensations.

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Not very well-balanced
Term applied to a wine with a marked prevalence of sensations of softness (sugars, alcohols and polyalcohols) over sensations of hardness (acids, tannins and mineral salts), or vice versa.

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Ordinary
Term applied to a wine with poor, uninteresting gustatory and olfactory qualities. The finish may be unpleasant.

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Overall balance of the wine
The gustatory equilibrium of a wine is the result of the complicated interaction of various substances that form the structure of the wine, including sugars, alcohols, polyalcohols, acids, tannins and mineral salts. A wine may be classified on its gustatory equilibrium as:
Not very well-balanced - Fairly well-balanced - Balanced.

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Overall harmony

A wine may be classified on its overall harmony as:
Not very harmonious - Fairly harmonious - Harmonious.

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Overall structure or body of the wine
Having assessed individually the wine’s softness and hardness-related components, the taster then makes an overall evaluation of the wine’s body. A wine may be classified on its structure as:
Thin - Weak - Full-bodied - Robust - Heavy.

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Persistent
Term applied to a wine with a gustatory and olfactory persistence of 6-8 seconds.

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Polyalcohols
Polyalcohols are some of wine’s main components and play a fundamental role in defining its structure, as they have a determining influence on softness. A wine may be classified on the perception of softness as:
Sharp-edged - Not very soft - Fairly soft - Soft - Doughy.

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Polyalcohols
The composition of the wine’s acidity, and the acidic force and impact of individual acids, create a characteristic sensation of liveliness and freshness. A wine may be classified on the perception of acidity as:
Flat - Not very fresh - Fairly fresh - Fresh - Acidulous.

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Polyalcohols
The composition of the wine’s acidity, and the acidic force and impact of individual acids, create a characteristic sensation of liveliness and freshness. A wine may be classified on the perception of acidity as:
Flat - Not very fresh - Fairly fresh - Fresh - Acidulous.

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Robust
Term applied to a well-structured, balanced wine. Normally, these are great wines or wines obtained using special vinification methods, such as partial attack by noble rot, millerandage or partial drying of the grape, which are designed to obtain products rich in sugar, an element that reinforces structure.

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Salty
Term applied to a wine in which there is a predominant sensation of saltiness. Normally, these are special wines made with grapes from salty areas, or very rarely wines in obtained with the addition of sodium chloride (table salt).

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Savoury
Term applied to a wine in which there is a very slight, pleasing sensation of saltiness. Normally, these are well-structured wines made with grapes from warm areas, or wines in which the covering action of the acids is absent.

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Sharp-edged
Term applied to a wine with a distinct lack of softness. Normally, such wines lack structure and/or have been obtained using over-robust vinification methods. The alcohol and polyalcohol contents are low, and the wine is evanescent in the mouth, leaving a sensation of edginess.

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Short
Term applied to a wine with a gustatory and olfactory persistence of less than 2 seconds.

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Slightly sweet

Term applied to a wine with a very faint sensation of sweetness. Normally, such wines have a residual sugar content of 10-20 g/l.

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Soft

Term applied to a wine with a marked sensation of softness due to a good concentration of glycerine and alcohol. Normally, such wines are well-structured and mature. They will be ready to drink 4-8 years after their production. The evaluation may also be extended to wines that contain 5-10 g/l of residual sugar.

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Sugars
A sweet taste is determined by the presence of sugar in the wine. A wine may be classified on the perception of sweetness as:
Dry - Slightly sweet - Medium sweet - Sweet - Cloying.

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Sweet
Term applied to a wine in which the sensation of sweetness predominates. Such wines a residual sugar content of 50-100 g/l. Typical examples are naturally sparkling sweet dessert wines, including Oltrepò Pavese Sangue di Giuda and Brachetto d’Acqui. Some wines may have as much as 100-160 g/l, as is the case with dried-grape or liqueur-sweet wines.

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Tannic
Term applied to a wine with a distinct sensation of astringency. This is a characteristic of young red wines in general, or wines for which further ageing is foreseen.

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Tannins
Tannins belong to the polyphenols and are responsible, as far as the gustatory aspects of sensory analysis are concerned, for the sensation of astringency, which is perceptible because these substances leave the mouth relatively dry, rough and puckered. Tannins remove water from the mucus of the tongue and mouth, simultaneously precipitating mucin. A wine may be classified on the basis of astringency as:
Flabby - Not very tannic - Fairly tannic - Tannic - Astringent.

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Thin
Term applied to a wine with anomalous, insufficient structure. Normally, such wines have been obtained using inappropriate vinification methods, or from grapes seriously damaged by fungi, for example after persistent autumn rain.

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Very intense
Term applied to a wine with perceptibly deep, intense gustatory and olfactory sensations, determined above all by smell-related components and high extract content.

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Very persistent
Term applied to a wine with a gustatory and olfactory persistence of more than 8 seconds.

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Warm
Term applied to a wine in which there is a definite impression of warmth. Normally, these are well-structured wines with a high alcohol content (12-13.5°), and in which the alcohol is not supported by the other components.

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Weak
Term applied to a wine with modest structure due to the scarcity of gustatory components. Normally, such wines should be drunk young.

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Well-balanced
Term applied to a wine with an appropriate relationship of balanced sensations of softness (sugars, alcohols and polyalcohols), in accordance with the wine type under examination.

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LIVIO FELLUGA S.r.l, Sede sociale Via Risorgimento 1, 34071 Brazzano - Cormons (GO) - Italia
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