Espresso and Wine: tasting similarities Made in Italy

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Have you ever thought about tasting a delicious glass of wine? And enjoying the flavor of a good espresso at the café in your town square?

Espresso and wine are two symbols of Italian excellence that have several similarities in the passion, methodology and dedication with which they are tasted.

In fact, tasting cannot be reduced to simply an enjoyable moment sipping a beverage, and this is exactly why institutions like INEI (National Italian Espresso Institute), IIAC (International Institute of Coffee Tasters), AIS (Italian Sommelier Association), ONAV (National Organization of Wine Tasters), FIS (Italian Sommelier Foundation), FISAR (Italian Sommelier, Hoteliers and Restaurateurs Federation) and ASPI (Italian Association of Professional Sommeliers) work with the utmost dedication to educate professional tasters, preserving and spreading this culture.

Above all, to briefly describe what “tasting” really means, we could say that the human body is an impressive instrument, unequaled when compared with other artificial instruments. This is because all of the sensorial organs present in the human body mean that humans can perceive the most refined sensations and emotions, which however the brain cannot fully memorize and transmit through language.

The objective of tasting is to delineate qualitative and quantitative sensorial profiles, understanding how the elements in the productive chain influence sensorial traits. In short, studying aromas, appearance and flavors, in a synthesis that involves sight, smell and taste.

When tasting a coffee, it is fundamental to be located in a favorable environment: good sunlight, absence of any particularly strong odors or perfumes, in a quiet area. In regards to wine it is also important to be in an area with light colored walls, quiet and without any intense odors or perfumes (like for example, sandalwood or violet), which would interfere with the senses of the taster.

The ideal temperature for tasting Italian espresso is 65°C, waiting just a moment after the last drop comes out of the machine, sipped from a warm cup, never boiling hot. In contrast to espresso, lower temperatures tend to accentuate the more aggressive notes in wine, attenuating the softer characteristics, which is why the ideal temperature for tasting white and sparkling wines is between 6° and 14°C, while for red wines it is from 16° to 20°C.

To what has already been said for both the beverages, the psycho-physical conditions of the taster should also be considered. The taster must be rested, relaxed, calm and in a good state of health (for example, a cold could significantly alter the ability to identify organoleptic properties in the beverage). It is also not difficult to understand the importance of having a “clean” palate, free from exposure to any aromatic substances during the preceding hours (like toothpaste or tobacco), to prevent any anesthetic effects.

The perfect time of day for an espresso is between 10am and 12pm, ample time after breakfast and before lunch, and between 4pm and 6pm, ideally served at the bar in a 50-75 milliliter cup, which does not disperse the cream and conveys the aroma up to the nose. In contrast to the popular idea that alcohol should not be consumed before 6pm, the best time to taste wine is also in the morning, because the human body is more rested and concentrated.

These are only some of the similarities that we encountered between espresso and wine, which we will discuss more in-depth during Bottiglie Aperte 2016, the wine event taking place at Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan from October 1 – 3.

Come and take a journey through the world of tasting espresso at the Astoria stand!