Everything you need to know about WINE.
Wine has always played a vital role in virtually every facet of our lives. It is there for celebrations and a simple, tasty meal. It has been there to commemorate special events, as part of our regular diet and even helps to honour long-dated customs throughout time. All of this comes from wine.
It was part of ceremonies of kings and the meals of the peasants working on the farm.
Wine is an essential part of dinner in many families, and especially Wine and dinner, dinner parties seem to go hand in hand. Have you ever gone to one and NOT been offered wine – or offered to bring it?
I like to have wine with dinner and been trying different types of wine to taste. Although I’m no expert when it comes to wine, I do know a LITTLE about them. There are also tons of information to be found, either on the internet or books and blogs.
Let's dive into some necessary first.
KNOW YOUR WINE
When I say basics, I mean some very basics. We’ll go through different wine types, which wines go with which foods and show you a Vintage Chart. So, without further adieu…
There are much more comprehensive lists and definitions out there. The bottom line about selecting the right wine is this: forget the rules. Use common sense.
Start by choosing a wine that you would drink by itself. Why? The bottom line is that most likely, most of the wine you’ll be drinking will be without food anyway. If you enjoy the wine by itself, you won’t go too far wrong if you have it with food.
Red And Whites And Everything In Between
The first thing is to consider different styles of wine. Most commonly, people know about red and white wine. Red wine comes from black grapes that have been fermented with the skin and the pips.
But, within this category of red wines, there are many choices. Some are light and mild, whereas others are more robust and full-bodied. You’ll find sweeter wines too. Consider a Pinot Noir wine which has a more fruity taste also it. Or, you can consider a New World wine which provides for a more modern type of wine.
In white wines, you also have the same differences. White wine is made differently. It is made of one or both of white or black grapes, but the only thing that is fermented is that of the juice, rather than the entire grape like in red wines. White wine offers many choices, too. You can consider a bone dry wine or a very sweet wine.
But, there are other types of wines to consider as well. For example, you have sparkling wines, roses, blushes and champagnes to try. Each offers a different and unique fermentation process. And, each offers its own unique taste and experience as well.
THE LANGUAGE OF VINO
People sometimes go to great lengths to make sure the right wines are served. However, conveying how you feel about the wine is a language all its own. A word that at times can make you appear to be, well, a snob (ever watch Frazier?)
I’ll attempt to clarify some of the terminology used to describe wine. If you feel foolish using some of the terminologies looks at it this way – it’ll help start a conversation that can be both fun and educational.
Another factor in the taste of wine is that of the locations where those grapes are grown. Some countries are much better known for their grape production and winemaking facilities than others. These regions are the most suitable based on their climates for growing grapes, but each area still offers some differences from the others out there.
The environment of that region affects this. Also, the type of harvest that is had also played a role. How ripe the grapes are at the time of picking will determine how dry or sweet the wine is.
Here’s just a few:
What makes wine offer these unique tastes and flavours? There are actually several things that make this happen. Of course, the most obvious of these is that of providing for a variety of grape choices.
Some wines are made from several types of grapes, while others are made from a single source. In some cases, you’ll be able to choose the type of wine that you are serving based on the name that depicts the area in which it has been made. Others are named for the grapes used in them.
As I’m sure you know, different grapes make different wines. I’ll list some of the most common types:
I know there are more than these, but I have found that these are the most common among the wines your average person drinks. The people I know, anyway.
Now that we have a familiarity with wines, grapes, and where many of the most famous wines come from, let’s go over some terms used when describing wines.
There are tons of descriptive terms associated with wines. So I won’t bore you too badly. Here are a few of the more famous words:
- Body : Broad term. Describes the wines “fullness”, or how much flavor.
- Complex : Describes wine that has a number of characteristics. Good wines that age well are usually described as complex wines.
- Neutral : As the name implies, there’s really nothing special, good or bad, about the wine.
- Dry : Wine that is not particularly sweet.
- Buttery : Refers to both flavor and texture. How it feels in the mouth.
- Nutty : Typically describes wine that has been exposed to the air. This can be good unless there’s too much oxidation. It’ll take on the flavor of Sherry.
- Supple : Wine with well balanced tannins and fruit.
- Acrid : Wine with too much acidity. Cheap red wine (or good wino wine, depending on your viewpoint.)
- Flat : Not enough acidity. Boring. Uninteresting.
Again, there are many more terms, but this will get you familiar with the more commonly used descriptions. With some practice, maybe you’ll even sound like an expert . . .
THE VINTAGE CHART
Use the chart to help determine the rating and readiness of some wine. Answers the questions: “Is it any good?” and “When should I drink it?”.
Vintage Chart courtesy of Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Wine glasses are essential without them, we may not enjoy the pleasure and joy of drinking wine.
Do you know that the stem of wine glass helps you to keep your wine cool when you hold it? Also, the round shape of wine glasses allows enough air to get into the wine to bring up the flavours.
Wine needs to breathe - many wines are stuck in the bottle for many years. Wine needs air to release its flavours. The roundness of the glass helps the air to get into the wine and move it around, and it concentrates the character so that when you bring wine up to your nose, you get the smell.
I hope this will helps to know your wine better and Enjoy your wine. If you have any suggestion or question please do not hesitate to shoot.