Feel free to contact us either by email or by phone, or or request a quote!

Notas Basalmicos? It’s not what you think…

Notas Basalmicos? It’s not what you think…

Rosemary

The Spanish have very few adjectives when it comes to taste and smell. Really, it’s true! Going to tastings, I always find the descriptions to be somewhat narrow and simple compared to some of the more outlandish ones I hear when tasting wine back home. That’s not to say that there aren’t very precise tasting notes out there; but for example, in Spanish you have the word acidez, which in English translates to sour, tart and acidic. Now, while these are all in the same ballpark, they are by no means the same in feeling. Each one has its own way it can be used and its own connotations.

That said, there is one tasting note descriptor that I ALWAYS hear used to a point that I sometimes roll my eyes and laugh thinking that every wine needs to be labeled with it. The word is Basalmico. “Notas Basalmicos” is what I frequently hear, and although I have agreed on many occasions, there are times when I simply have to bite my tongue thinking the winemaker is off his rocker. Well, I now know it wasn’t their lack of vocabulary that was the issue. It was my lack of understanding.

I’m the victim of what foreign language learners call, False Friends. In any language, there are words that while they look and sound alike, actually have nothing to do with one other. These are words that we only discover when trying to sound more fluent than we really are, but adding a Spanish accent to what appears to be a Latin based word. Examples include:

So what is Basalmico? It really is describing balsam like aromas: rosemary, thyme, and rough herbs, very broad and wide scope of flavors/aromas. In English/French, the word Garrigue has similar meaning, though not really used very much outside of the wine geek hardcore! As most of you have already guessed by now, what I assumed “basalmico” to mean was Balsamic vinegar aromas which typically convey a dark deep almost molasses like flavor, is not accurate. Both of which I find in many wines as I taste my way through Spain.

Anyways, I now have a new adjective that I can better use as I travel around Spain tasting wine; although I do wonder what other false friends I might be using without knowing it!

Cheers,

Ryan Opaz

Highlighted Tours

Private Porto

Wine

Port Wine Tour with Ryan Opaz

Eager to taste a wide range of spectacular Port wine with a Knight of the Port Wine Brotherhood? Are you...

Learn More
Private Lisbon

Food

Lisbon Culinary Experience

Meet the passionate people crafting old-school Portuguese food deep inside Lisbon’s traditional neighborhoods. Visit the traditional hole-in-the-wall bakeries famed for their...

Learn More
Private Barcelona

Food

Barcelona Market Tour & Cooking Class

On this four hour Barcelona Cooking Class and Market Tour, you’ll have the rare opportunity to ease your way into...

Learn More
ALL TOURS