What is Wine?
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made with the fermented juice of grapes. Technically, wine can be made with any fruit (i.e. apples, cranberries, plums, etc) but most wines are made with wine grapes (which are different than table grapes). Speaking of differences, the difference between wine and beer is that beer is made from fermenting brewed grains. So very simply, wine is made from fruit and beer is made from grains. Of course, there exceptions –that push the boundaries of beer,–but that story is for another time.
What are Wine Grapes?
Wine grapes are different than table grapes: they are smaller, sweeter and have lots of seeds. Most wines are made with a single species of grape that originated in Caucasus called Vitis vinifera. There are thousands of different varieties within the Vitis vinifera species–the most common is Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Origin of the term “Vintage”
Wine grapes take an entire season to ripen and thus, wine is produced just once a year. This is where the term vintage comes from: “Vint” stands for “Winemaking” and “age” implies the year it was made. So, when you see a vintage year listed on the label, that’s the year the grapes were picked and made into wine. The harvest season in the northern hemisphere (Europe, US) is from August–September and the harvest season in the southern hemisphere (Argentina, Australia) is from February–April.
Non-Vintage (NV) Wine
Occasionally, you’ll find a wine without a vintage listed on the label. Typically, this is a blend of several vintages together; and in the case of Champagne, it will be labeled with “NV” which stands for “Non-Vintage.”
A single-varietal wine is made primarily with one type of grape. It’s common to see these wines labeled by the name of that grape variety. For example, a bottle of Riesling is made with Riesling grapes. It’s useful to note that each country has different rules for how much of the variety should be included in order to be labeled as a varietal wine.
A wine blend is a wine made with a blend of several grape varieties. Blending is a traditional method of winemaking, and today there are several famous wine blends produced in classic winemaking regions. Just so you know, most wine blends are mixed together after the fermentation (and aging) is complete. When grapes are blended and fermented together it is called a field blend. A famous example of a field blend is Port wine.
Adapted from article posted on WINE FOLLY, by Madeline Puckette.
Original article found here: http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-wine/
The US offers a very diversified range of grape varieties, which reflect a long tradition of seeking superior cultivars. In addition, US wine makers explore new fermentation processes and blending formulas.
In contrast, old world vines reflect more traditional grape varieties and fermentation methods. For this reason, many old world wines mirror each other in style and taste.
Because US wine makers explore more options, their wines are more unique and innovative. They don’t let the ‘old rules’ for making great wine limit the possibilities.
While they are experimenting with new vines and grape varieties, the best growers are also reaching for the best qualities possible. We have found GREAT WINES come from perfectly combining traditional wine making methods and newer technologies.
Why buy USA wines? Because nowhere else will you find such harmoniously fruity and complex GREAT WINES.
Group of friends tasting wine at a cellar with a sommelier
The ability to sniff out and untangle the subtle threads that weave into complex wine aromas is essential for tasting. Try holding your nose while you swallow a mouthful of wine; you will find that most of the flavor is muted. Your nose is the key to your palate. Once you learn how to give wine a good sniff, you’ll begin to develop the ability to isolate flavors—to notice the way they unfold and interact—and, to some degree, assign language to describe them.
This is exactly what wine professionals—those who make, sell, buy, and write about wine—are able to do. For any wine enthusiast, it’s the pay-off for all the effort.
While there is no one right or wrong way to learn how to taste, some “rules” do apply.
First and foremost, you need to be methodical and focused. Find your own approach and consistently follow it. Not every single glass or bottle of wine must be analyzed in this way, of course. But if you really want to learn about wine, a certain amount of dedication is required. Whenever you have a glass of wine in your hand, make it a habit to take a minute to stop all conversation, shut out all distraction and focus your attention on the wine’s appearance, scents, flavors and finish.
You can run through this mental checklist in a minute or less, and it will quickly help you to plot out the compass points of your palate. Of course, sipping a chilled rosé from a paper cup at a garden party doesn’t require the same effort as diving into a well-aged Bordeaux served from a Riedel Sommelier Series glass. But those are the extreme ends of the spectrum. Just about everything you are likely to encounter falls somewhere in between.
Adapted from article posted on WINE ENTHUSIAST, by Paul Gregutt.
Original article found here.
Many people, myself included, count wine as one of the joys in life. Cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel, nebbiolo, sangiovese, cannonau … the list goes on and many seem like dear friends. We all know that there’s a line between enjoying some wine and suffering the terrible consequences of alcoholism, but where do you draw that line? Do you have a second, third or fourth glass? Do you drink regularly? As I have to counsel patients on these questions, and deal with my own oenophilia, I turned to science for some answers.
To understand the connection between wine consumption and health, it helps to have an appreciation of the U-shaped curve in medicine. Many aspects of our health can be described by a U-shaped curve, which is the idea that too much or too little of a behavior can be unhealthy, and the sweet spot (at the base of the U), is where you tend to have optimal results. This is true for blood sugar, blood pressure, how much you exercise, and how much you drink.
What you need to know about wine and health:
There is no doubt that the U-shaped curve of drinking for health is also a slippery slope that can lead to abuse. The American Heart Association advises people not to start a drinking habit for health gains. Nonetheless, for those that enjoy an alcoholic drink, a daily 5-ounce glass or red wine (or two) has scientific support.
Is drinking for everyone? Clearly not and you should listen to your body. If alcohol doesn’t agree with you for any reason, skip it and work on other health prevention measures like diet, exercise and stress management.
Pinot noir is generally credited with having the highest concentration of resveratrol, while cannonau from Sardinia gets a nod for the exceptional longevity on that island.
Long ago, Benjamin Franklin said that “wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” If you will stick to the “sweet spot” and recognize that the dose makes the poison, it may make life longer too.
Adapted from article posted on MINDBODYGREEN, by Dr. Joel Kahn.
Original article found here.