One often attributes human characteristics to wine.
A wine can be robust, opulent, tenacious, even elegant, profound or flirtatious.
At Ta’ Betta we playfully describe a wine, or even a specific vintage, in terms of the personality or character it evokes: be it young or old, open and ready or still closed on the nose, be it masculine or feminine, rough or refined.
Choosing the names of our wines was perhaps one of the most challenging tasks we faced. We wanted the names of the respective wines to convey something about the character of the wines per se, which in and of itself speaks for this terroir and school of winemaking, but also to say something about our roots, our heritage, the Maltese islands we call home.
The Maltese islands invite you to travel through time: to visit prehistoric temples which significantly predate the pyramids; to experience a culture created in a melting pot of others who left their mark over time: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, the Aragonese, Angovese, up until the King of Spain passed on Malta to the Knights of St. John in 1530 for the price of a single peregrine falcon a year.
It is at this point that Malta experienced its renaissance: from a modest fiefdom off Sicily, the Knights transformed it into the southernmost fortified bastion of Christendom and adorned it with wealth and prosperity manifest in the baroque city, Valletta.
The protagonists of this period a string of Grand Masters spanning three hundred and fifty years gave Malta stature; each Grand Master leaving his distinct mark, each with his own character and appellation.
This youthful Syrah Rosé is a fresh, dry, medium-bodied wine, fermented in cast stone vats, benefits from a light passage through 500-litre oak tonneaux which contribute further to its overall structure and personality.Read More
This oak-fermented Chardonnay, produced against all odds, is a complex wine which conveys apricot, white fig and vanilla to balance the acidity and alcohol.Read More
This opulent blend of Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon typically conveys cassis, strawberry and red forest-fruit, with undertones of chocolate and caramel.Read More
This robust blend of Syrah with Cabernet Franc typically conveys forest-fruit on the nose with undertones of tobacco, black and bell pepper.Read More
The ageing potential of wine depends on three main components: acid, alcohol, and fruit. It is not the abundance of any one component which matters; it is the harmonious balance and interplay between them which is determining!
During fermentation and as wine ages, the acid interacts with the alcohol in a process known as esterification. Esters can contribute positively to the aroma of a wine. In low concentrations these compounds are perceived as generically fruity or floral and can boost the awareness of the innate fruit and floral characteristics of the grape varietal.
Although the acid and alcohol give wine legs to run its course, at the end of the day the esters will enhance the nose, but the fruit must carry the palate. In a good balanced vintage, as wine ages, the “hard” components – acidity and tannins – balance and integrate well, with the “soft” components – sweetness, vanillin, fruit, and alcohol. Wines are often fermented or aged in barriques as these impart tannins as well as vanillin to enrich their stature and character.
Even after bottling, wine is often said to be alive, and it changes with age as the esters produced in the interplay between acid and alcohol will themselves continue to react with the alcohol to convert into other esters in a process called transesterification. Red wine tends to take on a brownish hue, white wine takes on a yellowish tone with age, and when such are ‘balanced’ they tend to gain in complexity and profoundness.
At Ta’ Betta every decision taken in the vineyard, be it choice of clones and rootstock, pruning system, yield control, or timing of harvest, as well as in the winery during winemaking and ageing, is driven by the quest to make fine balanced wines with ageing potential.
the character of the
Wine is not made in the winery, but, mostly in the vineyard: the fruit of the vine reflects the story of the terroir, the weather cycle that year, the heat, light, rainfall, the health and grooming of the vines. One can never make good wine from poor grapes, one can never make authentic wines by using chemistry to cover up shortfalls or to bolster nature’s yield.
A good wine-maker should know how far to go to bring out the character of a grape varietal, of a vintage, to reflect what happened in the vineyard that year. Not all years will yield the same character, indeed that of itself creates the scope of vertical tastings as a narrative of time past.