Wednesday, November 21, 2012



With the wine into the mouth you can have two different sensations:


Active, which is located in the tongue and pasive, located in the lips and cheeks.

The astringency (dry and rough sensation), the temperature that the alcohol couse into de mouth ot the spicy flavour are touch reactions when we are tasting wine.
The most important is the astringency because it cause a worse result tasting the wines.


This one is the less important but it can give us lot of information during the tasting, for example the sound when the wine goes into the glass confirm us some other sensations from other senses like the density.

After this, as we explain at the beginning of the course, the most important is to practice and train the senses with easy examples and start getting knoledges, you will see with time your progress.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Hi Friends! After some time without posts now we restart full of energy with our tasting course. We are going to explain you two senses today: smell & taste. Both are extremely important in the tasting process and give us information to say i like or i do not like this wine so... LET'S GO :)


This sense give us information about the grape variety, winemaking process and ageing, barrels (oak) and evolution. As you know in the smell sense we have two kinds of information gived by the nose and the retronasal the part between the mouth and the nose

We will need two different words aroma if we speak about positive sensations smell for the negative ones.
First, through the nose we have the primary aromas and the inhalation is with the still wine or after shake it turning it slightly.

On a second step, we have to shake it more and we will have more aromas, the secundary aromas, from the fermentation.

Primary aromas from the grape and could be:

White wine:: Orange, lemon, moscato
Red wine: Blackberry, cherry, raspery, ...

Violet, rose, pine...
Rosemary, pine, green pepper...

Secundary aromas, will be produced in the fermentation process and they are inhalated when we shake strong the wine and through the retronasal. Some of them are saffron, pineapple, pear, apple, peach, strawberry, honey, ...

The terciary aromas, are produced during the ageing time knowed as BOUQUET and we have :
From Oxidation because of the contact between oak during its time into the barrel and the ageing into the bottle because of the NO oxigen in this period. Some of them are vanila, mushroom, toasted bread, nuts, cacao, coffe, caramel...

Thursday, August 23, 2012


In our vineyards in La Rioja-Spain, some time ago we could watch the "envero". It is a term used in viticulture referred to one of the most important stages in the grapes ripening. Basically it´s a change in the color; the red varieties change into a bluish color, and white ones turn yellow.

This change represents a transition to the end of the ripening, it takes place in the summer and can be considered the beginning of a countdown when we can start thinking about the harvest. That countdown  depends on grape varieties, climates and weather conditions. Grapes, as they grow on the vine, are undergoing morphological and physiological changes that allow them to accumulate substances such as sugars and acids, primary aromas and some phenolic compounds that are the responsible of the color, taste and structure of wines.

Not much time ago, winegrowers tasted grapes from the vines after "envero". Valuing the sweetness and the  acidity decreasing in grapes, they decided the best moment for harvest. Today, even without despising this technique, we can check acidity and sugar content in grape and we are able to decide more accurately, parcel by parcel, the begining for the harvest every year.

Monday, July 23, 2012


We continue with our tasting course and we will try to be a professional sommelier.

In this point we will go step by step, sense by sense analyzing the wine

Depends on the experience each one can choose the best order and follow its own routines:

Sight eye, Smell, Taste, Touch and Hearing Senses

Sight eye
It is the first sense, and we look 3 important characteristics: Colour, Intensity and cleanliness.

The wine should be looked in the glass, first settle and through the light trying to appreciate the cleanliness, colour and brightness…

Later round the glass and look the wine, a fluid wine is like water and a dense one like syrup.

After shake it, we will see “tears” on the glass’s wall and this will be more or less alcoholic % and glycerine content, very relevant in this part of the tasting.

The Colour should be analyzed tilting the glass 45º and above a white background to see better the colours. The colour is very close to the age of the wine. If lighter and brown it is older than blues and violet.

Have a look to the different colours depends on the age:

The cleanliness depends on the transparency of a wine and the decants, clarified and filtered.

We will continue soon with another sense and different points to be a professional sommelier and to do a taste with friends!


Monday, July 9, 2012


Hello friends, then, we continue with the tasting process and the technique to be a professional somelier /taster.

1. First we open the bottle and fill the glass about 1/3.

2. We look at the wine and use the light or a white background to check the aspect , smell, lightness, …etc.

3. We should shake the glass very slowly and hold the glass by the bottom.
Smell the wine to get the volatile smells.
After that you should shake strong to get the heaviest. You should repeat this a few times to see as much as possible

4. Now you have to introduce a small sip and keep it in your mouth for a few seconds (5-6) to warm the wine and give it a temperature around 35ºC.
Alter this, you have to move the wine around all your mouth to impregnate the taste buds.

5. With the wine in your mouth you have to suck up some air and pass it through it. The air will be expel it through the nose.

This process is called retro-nasal and the wine smell it is similar to the smell that you get in the glass but usually you get some news because of the warming in mouth.

6.After you should drink or expel the wine. The aromatic and mouth sensations do not disappear after it. Some of them keep in because of the persistence. As much time as it keep it, the qualities of the wine be better. In some wines of high quality this is around 10 seconds.

This is also linked with a well-balance wine, when you have a long persistence and this is group and balanced is used by the professional sommeliers and tasters this expression.

During the tasting process we use the 5 senses and each one have to use them as better as possible but my advine is to shake very fase and smell it quickly to get all the aromas and do not lose but we will continue in our next post.

Keep an eye and we will inform you soon about the next step in the wine tasting. We are close to be a professional.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


We continue with our tasting course

Then, when we are ready, we will start with the tasting:

  • From the lightest to the hardest
  • From the weakest to the most alcoholic
  • From the driest to the sweetest


Firstly we should start the tasting with whites, continue with the roses and finísh with reds, starting with the younghest and continue with the aged ones. If there is any sweet, we will leave it for the end. 

The glass do not have to be filled more than the 1/3, reasons:

Example about the quantity

  • To shake it without problems
  • To smell properly the aromas that the wine dislodge
  • To see the colour because if we have too much wine, we can not see the colour clearly reflected in the other side of the glass, table, hand... 

We wish you are taking notes about these advices and you will use them in future tastings… Soon, we will post new secrets about tasting…


Thursday, June 7, 2012


The more representative picture about our winery is The Taster so we will post a guide about the Wine Tasting Process and we will try to teach how to do a professional tasting with family, friends …

First, we must learn to perceive the difference between taste or drink..

Everybody has ability to taste, however, nobody is born knowing and it is an activity that will be improved when you train, keep the senses and learn the techniques.

taster has to be relaxed, calm and focused. The best time to taste is in the morning, one or two hours before lunch. It is better to taste a little hungry and alone, and try to eat  neutral food like bread, crackers, breadsticks etc., Some people with a little bit of water may be enough.

Depends on the knowledge of the taster, tasting should not be in longer than an hour and to taste no more that 6 or 8 wine samples.

The tasting room should be a quiet place with a temperature of 20 ° and a relative humidity between 60 and 70% where the taster can be concentrated without noise if possible. Lighting should be ok too (halogen lamps or candles). It should not be used fluorescent lamps. It should have a white background where you can see different wine shades and brightness.In the beginning, we have to take all the material that we will need, wines, drinks, glasses…
The temperature of the wine must have her around:
White and Rose: 8/10 degrees
White and rose with aging: 10/12 degrees
Young red wines: 14/16 degrees
Aged wines, 16/18 degrees.

The glass is the most important instrument for the taster. Glass should be fine, colorless, transparent and smooth. The glass must be caught by the bottom to avoid getting fingerprints on the glass clouding vision and to warm the wine.

To start is enough, we will teach you more about the taste and the process that you should follow to taste as a professional.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


When we talk about "terroir" we are referring to a group of terms involved in the winegrowing. One of them is the weather. Obviously rainfall conditions, daily hours of sunshine or average temperature in a particular area, are characteristics that set the future qualities of the grapes harvested. Another factor is, of course, the vines. If an area has lighting or thermal conditions, some varieties of vines are suitables than others to offer the best  quality wines. We can talk about other factors, on the other hand very important, as the human activity, called viticulture, but it´s not part of the "terroir". Viticulture is the group of actions that human do in the vineyard to improve the final results we´ll obtain naturally. Into the concept of "terroir", we briefly discuss one of the most forgotten, but on the other hand, one of the most important factor that set the most important parameters of the wine. This is the soil. Soil characteristics, give the wine the  aging potential. In our area of ​​winemaking (Gimileo - Rioja Alta), we have one of the most popular and sought soils worldwide to get high quality wines: the calcareous clay soil.

Soil sequence in Viña Hermosa vineyard at Bodegas SANTALBA

The profile of this soil type is very simple and consists of an initial layer of gravel with abundant clay matrix. No more than one or two meters deep, appear the weathered rock. Weathering is the effect of rock disintegration by the effect of erosion phenomena, in this case is water and which also generates a draining effect, very interesting to avoid waterlogging into the vineyard. Under this rock appears the bedrock, or intact rock. This layer, with hundreds of meters in depth, is the real key for this soil quality, because the roots of the vines do not stop here, they look for cracks in the rock and they advance drilling through the rockAs result we have slow-growing vines, with hard conditions that offer high quality grapes. We have always said that this soil type is very simple, but more complicated is to find it in union with adequate rainfall conditions, sufficient sunshine and an appropriate thermal gradient. But this is very interesting and we´ll talk about in following chapters.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


SANTALBA team continue innovating in every way surrounding the world of Rioja quality wine, of course maintaining the traditional character that they always give to their wines.

So, thinking to close wine to younger people, SANTALBA has decided to implement in collaboration with A.E.C.O.C. (Association of Manufacturers and Distributors in Spain), a pioneer  smartphone application that reads the bar code in some wine labels, and allows to get information about the wine, the technical card, the pairing, etc...

The mobile application developed is called "eScan" and allows consumers to obtain information  capturing the bar code printed on the back label  with the smartphone. So far, the service provides information and products from other international companies like Danone, Eroski, Pepsico and Central Lechera Asturiana, besides Bodegas Santalba.

Jordi Mur, A.E.C.O.C. CEO has said that "eScan is an example of the great quality offered by the traditional bar code and its enormous potential in combination with mobile technology". He added that "this is the way to get the online communication between businesses and consumers, offering advantages to both. The enterprises hav the opportunity to communicate directly with 10 million potential consumers, while consumers can get good information, truthful  from the source wherever you are".

Laura Ijalba, head of the Finance and Marketing Department at SANTALBA has helped to implement "eScan" in her winery. She has said that "the application also offers advantages in terms of marketing, allowing consumers easy access to specials, recipes, pairings and information about SANTALBA wines".

The development of "eScan" has been made possible by a partnership between the companies SANTALBA, A.E.C.O.C. and Scanbuy, which has adapted the application called "bidi" for smartphones "enabling the reading of the traditional bar code and giving access to product information provided".

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Do you know what´s a "guardaviñas" in spanish? We're not talking about a person, but a rural building. Since the late nineteenth century, farmers in La Rioja have raised a kind of huts made with stones and with many utilities in their daily work in the vineyards. It is a circular structure with vertical walls and converging at a central point by a dome. Some, the biggest, have an opening at the top of the dome in order to let out the smoke when they cooked inside.

The "guardaviñas", also called "chozos" in spanish, were used as shelter during the cold winter, shaded in the summer,  as a storehouse for winegrowing tools, and even they were an burglar alarma because if there were a "guardaviñas", could be one person inside. Normally, a tree was planted right next door, to enhance the shadow over the hut during the summer and to tie the animals while the winegrower was resting inside. The "guardaviñas" were built with the stones founded plowing in vineyards, mostly pieces of sandstone, so typical and common in this part of La Rioja.

Anyway, two weekends ago riding our mountain bikes my brother an i were surprised by a rainfall so typical in this season. Fortunately, the stronger it was raining we saw a "guardaviñas" on the vineyard next to the path and we do not hesitate to shelter inside. Then, although we had seen it so many times, we really realized that  when there were no cars, no tractors and when winegrowers spent lot of hours working in the vineyards, these "guardaviñas" offered them an important role: a rudimentary but necessary shelter to adverse situations.

Raining outside, we took our sandwiches and we ate relatively comfortable sitting on some rocks inside. The while we spent in that beautiful hut, we appreciated that the current owner had kept it so clean and well maintained. We want to congratulate to all those winegrowers who have now a "guardaviñas" in their vineyards, preserved and well maintained. After all, the "guardaviñas" or "chozos" are a symbol for Rioja wine.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Today we will show you the Aging Room.

The barrels are French and American oak. This room is underground so that keeps the best temperature for the wine.
They are piled up in the traditional way with wood wedges and as a curiosity, you can see a small hole in the front part of the barrel.

That is to decant (change the wine from one barrel to another) the wine in the traditional way as well. Each 6 months we do this process in Bodegas Santalba and in another post we will explain you these kinds of peculiar methods that we practice in our winery. That is the difference in Bodegas Santalba, the quality is very important for us, so we care all the details that make the wine better.

Also you can show this glass in the aging room,

It has a special meaning, the development that the wine is having during its life.

Firstly you can see a grape, that is the beginning … The Tempranillo grape, the most typical grape variety in our region, D.O.Ca. Rioja.

From that grape we obtain the young wines with its typical colour, violet, purple…

After that, when the time goes by, the wines in the ageing process have a different colour, red and ruby.

Finally, the wines with a long ageing process have a russet colour and you can show it in the outer part.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Today, we start our post with a great sentence from a very popular philosopher and enssayist, José Ortega y Gasset.

“Wine give brilliance to the countryside, excite the hearts, light the eyes and teach to the feet the dance”
( In Spanish; ”El vino da brillantez a las campiñas, exalta los corazones, enciende las pupilas y enseña a los pies la danza.”) We will show you that everything is here, in Bodegas Santalba.

Fist of all, “The wine give brillance to the countryside..”

Look at this photo, we have took it this morning and it is our organic vineyard Viña Hermosa, awsome.

Viña Hermosa Vineyard - Bodegas Santalba

This vineyard is really special for us, because its grapes, our concern for the respect for the enviroment, the wine that we obtain from these vines… lots of reasons that make it extraordinary.

Wines with heart - Bodegas Santalba
Following with the sentence, “…excite the hearts”, the wine organic Santalba is obtained from this vineyard, is the one with the highest level of Resveratrol in the world, and as you know is a healthy component for humans to prevent heart illness and some other more. Also, the reason for our Blog’s tittle… The vineyard care with natural and organic products makes a  free toxic waste wine.

““…light the eyes” Always is a good moment to enjoy a glass of wine with friends, family, work-mates. Wine is always linked with satisfaction and happyness. Any moment is perfect to open a bottle of wine and say cheers!!!

Finally, “…teach to the feet the dance” there are not words to explain this part of the sentece so i’ll finísh wishing you a nice day!!!