Wine is basically fermented grape juice. Grape is the main fruit used in making a wine since it has high sugar content. The art of winemaking originates from different early civilizations such as Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Over time, wine making was enhanced through new, better and improved techniques. Wine is not just a simple beverage. It makes a link between the world of art and science which results to the satisfaction of every single part of our senses. Wine satisfies the mouth with various flavors, the nose with evocative aromas and the eyes with a variety of colors.
Wine is made from only one species of grape, Vitis vinifera and only few varieties are used for wine making. Among the commonly used varieties are as follows: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. Each variety has particular unique characteristics. Wines can be distinguished by its color, body, alcohol content, aroma and flavor.
The color of the skin of the grape dictates the color of the wine. In making red wine, the entire pressed fruits are utilized including the skin for fermentation. During the fermentation process, the pigments leech out of the skin and imparted on the wine.
In making white wine, only the juice extracted from the fruit is utilized in fermentation resulting to a clear and white color. In making rosé wine, the skin is removed before fermentation resulting to a light pink color. The color of the wine also tells what variety was used in making the wine and how a wine was made. Its color also gives a clue on how old the wine is.The body of a wine refers to the amount of alcohol the wine contains.
The more alcohol the wine contains the fuller its body. The body of a wine also refers to its fullness and total mouth feel. A light-bodied wine has less concentrated flavors and has a mouth peel similar to water. Meanwhile a full-bodied wine would be conspicuously more concentrated and would feel like milk.The acidity of wine refers to the tartness or sharpness of the flavor of the wine. The wine derived its acidity in the grape’s natural acids and the acids that formed during the fermentation process. When a wine has too high acidity, its flavor is too aggressive and tart.
If a wine has too low acidity, it tastes bland and flabby. Acidity does not only affect the flavor but also its shelf-life and freshness. Acids act as preservative on the wine, it inhibits microbial growth during and after fermentation and acids allow the wine to age gracefully.
Moreover, it is the acidity of wine that determines what type of food that should be paired with wine.The sweetness or dryness of wine refers to the amount of residual sugar present on the wine. The sweetness of wine will depend on the acidity and alcohol levels as well as the amount of tannin present on it. Fruity or sweet wines are wines which have high sugar content, thus fruity wines are often called dessert wines. Meanwhile, wines that have no perceptible flavor of sweetness are classified as dry wine. The sweetness and acid content of content of wine are believed to be connected to each other. High amount of sugar reduces the bite of acids; meanwhile acids maintain the sweetness of wines and keep the wine from being syrupy.
Tasting the wine is the most exciting part of exploring the world of wine. The reactions of the mouth as it hold the wine is called the palate. A sip of the wine will do in order for the aroma to permeate through the upper airways. It is in this that the wine is truly tasted.There are various types of wine and these are as follows: red wine, white wine, rosé wine, sparkling and dessert wine. Red wine obtained its color from different varietals of grape that have deep purple, reddish or blue peel color. The color of red wine may range from red to purple, the more blue or purple the younger it is.
Grapes have a natural substance found in the seed, stem and skin of the fruit; the substance is known as tannin. Tannin is responsible for the astringent sensation of red wines. Some red wines also have bitter taste and this can be attributed to the chemical compounds present on the skin of red grape.Red wines can be classified in terms of body-type. Light bodied red wines have small amount of tannins.
Light-bodied wines are generally fruity and can be paired with less flavor-filled foods. The top light-bodied wine varieties are Pinot Noir, Gamay or Beaujolais Nouveau, and Bardolino. Pinot Noir originated from Burgundy. It has light to medium body type and typically has soft tannin. Pinot Noir’s color ranges from light to medium red. Pinots usually taste dry with a touch of sweetness.
It is smooth and silky texture and it has a subtle aroma. The aroma and flavor profile can vary from place to place. Pinots Noirs can be paired with variety of food such as steak, tenderloin, duck, lamb, bouillabaisse and roast beef.
It can also be paired with pasta with red sauce (tomato-based) and spicy foods. Meanwhile, Beaujolais has light to medium red color and originally Beaujolais and Loire Valley in France. It has grapey or strawberry-like and fruity flavor and elusive aroma. Beaujolais goes nicely with duck and escargot as well as foods with tomato sauce. Bardolino on the other hand is garnet in color, dry and has slightly sweet taste. It is made from the mixture of various varieties such as Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara and Negrara grapes. Corvina provides color and body on the resulting wine, Rondinella is responsible grassy flavor, Molinara provides fragrance, while Negrara provides softness and freshness on the wine. Bardolino is best served chilled and best served with seafood, light meat entrees and pasta with red sauce.
Medium-bodied red wine contains more tannin as compared to light-bodied wine. Medium-bodied wines are the most food friendly among the other body-type wines. These wines can be paired with a wide range of variety of foods. Some of the top medium-bodied red wines are Sangiovese, Shiraz and Merlot.
Merlot wines are soft, fruity and smooth texture. It has ripe and sweet plumy fruit flavor with a touch of vanilla flavor. It is perfect for blending with other wines, especially those with strong flavor and high tannin content, due to its sweet and mild flavors. Merlot wines can be paired with a variety of foods. It goes nicely with steak, tenderloin, roast beef, duck, tuna and pasta with red sauce. Meanwhile, Shiraz wine is usually dark red in color and has high tannins.
Shiraz has spicy, peppery, and smoky flavor with a touch of fruity flavor. Shiraz wine goes nicely with venison, duck, and salmon or tuna. Sangiovese wine on the other hand has medium tannin content and high acidity. It is medium ruby red in color and has an earthy and smoky aroma with a bitter aftertaste.
Full-bodied wines have the highest tannin content and most often has the highest alcohol content. When tasted, full-bodied wines have a thicker and richer feeling in the mouth due high tannin and alcohol content of the wine. The top full-bodied wines known are Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon originated from Bordeaux and it is one of the most popular wines in US. It can be distinguished by its full body and high tannic content.
Cabs color ranges from medium to dark red. When grape used in making Cabs wine is young it has mint and green bell pepper aroma. Mature grapes produce a wine with softer tannins and has strong flavor of blackcurrant. Cabernet Sauvignon goes nicely with meats such as steak, tenderloin, roast beef, lamb and pasta with red sauce. Zinfandel wine originated from Vienna, Italy. It has zesty, berry-fruity and peppery flavor and its color is red and bordering on black. Zinfandel goes finely with American dishes such as burger and pizza. It also goes well with steak, roasted beef, tenderloin, venison, lamb, spicy foods, chocolates and nuts.
Meanwhile, Cabernet Franc has a medium to full body type. It is dry (lack sweetness) and has a berry and fruity flavor. It can be distinguished by its herbal and smoky aroma.
Cabernet Franc goes well with red meats such as lamb, venison, spicy foods and pasta with red sauce.White wines are made by extracting the grape juice and/or including the skin of the green or yellow colored grapes of selected grape varieties. White wines come with a variety of colors which ranges from clear as water to a straw yellow. Young white wines are commonly green tinges in color while old white wines are golden in color.
There is almost no tannin present in most of white wines since the only source of tannin is the skin of the grape which is removed before fermentation. Tannin can only be present in white wines when the wine is aged in oak barrels but the content is definitely lower than that of red wines. Some white wines have astringent sensation.White wines can also be categorized into three in terms of body-type. Light-bodied white wines can be distinguished by its clean flavors and crisp acidity. Light-bodied white wines are refreshing on their own and very food-friendly. The top varieties of white wine are Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Chenin Blanc originated from France.
It can be distinguished by its honey aroma with scents of hay and through its pale to medium yellow color. Chenin Blanc wines have moderate to high acidity with a touch of viscosity which leaves an oil-like mouth feel. It goes nicely with salads, mild to spicy rice dishes, sushi, white meat and seafood. Meanwhile, Riesling wine typically has a pale straw color and has scent of lemon, flowers and pineapple originally from Germany. It has a fruity scent with a floral undertone. Riesling can be paired with appetizers, desserts, green salads and seafood. Dry Riesling is best paired with chicken, turkey and tuna or salmon while sweet Riesling goes well with ice cream and crepes.
Pinot Blanc on the other hand is a medium dry to dry white wine which originates from France.It has a light flavor with a trace of citrus, melon, pear and apricot and typically has high acidity.Pinot Blanc goes well with green salad, seafood, light-flavored meat, light to medium sauces and mild-flavored cheese (The Wine Pages).Medium-bodied white wines are generally light, fresh and subtle.
White wines typically go best with lightly sauced pastas and seafood. The top varieties of white wines are Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Grigio can be distinguished by its fruity flavor with a hint of sweet licorice. Some Pinot Grigio has subtle or citrus flavor (Colorado Wines). Pinot Grigio has a pale and straw-like yellow color with a touch of golden hues. It goes nicely with seafood, pastas and cheese cracker combinations. Sauvignon Blanc originated from France’s Loire Valley.
It is usually dry with notable acidity. It has herbal sensation with a hint of hay and mineral undertones. Sauvignon Blanc goes well with appetizers and soup as well as salad (The Wine Pages).Full-bodied white wines are full of luscious fruit flavors.
The top full-bodied white wines include Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay. Chardonnay, originated from France, has a rich citrus flavor with a hint of pear, apple and melon taste. It goes nicely with a variety of appetizers, pork and poultry dishes. Muscat has often sweet and fruity flavor with a fruity and musky aroma.
However, it does not show goods pairing with other food. Gewürztraminer on the other hand has distinctive aromas of rose petals, lychees and peaches and fruity flavor with an intense spicy bouquet. It is best paired with Asian foods, grilled sausages, and pork (The Wine Pages).The other type of wine that is made with less skin contact as compared to that of red wines is rose wine. The skin contact takes only a few hours which result to a pinkish to light orange in color.
Rose wines have high acidity with light to medium body-type. It has elusive aromas with a blast of red berry and mellow flavors. Rose wines goes well with a variety of appetizers, pork, poultry dishes and salty foods. The top rose wines include White Zinfandel and Rose Laudun and Edoardo Miroglio. White Zinfandel usually refers to Blush has fruity flavors with a hint of strawberry, rhubarb and bubble gum flavor.
It is generally pink in color with red raspberries and peaches aromas. Rose Laudun is made from dark grapes. It has fruity aftertaste with a mixture of raspberry and cherry aromas.
Edoardo Miroglio on the other hand has rich and fruity flavors with fruity aromas.Meanwhile, sparkling wines are wines with significant amount of carbon dioxide which makes it bubbling. Accumulation of significant amount carbon dioxide is a result of fermentation. Sparkling wines are more precious and complicated to make than still wines (non-sparkling wine).
The combination of its high acidity, low alcohol content and delicate flavor makes a unique palate tingle. It is considered as one of the most versatile wines in term of food pairings. Sparkling wines can be paired with a variety of appetizers, soup, dessert and meats such as chicken, turkey, flank steak, and pork tenderloin. Some of the tope varieties of sparkling wine are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc, all originated from France. Chardonnay Champagne is the combination of richness and complexity of Chardonnay wine with the fun and bright and sparkling personality champagne.
The champagne fills your mouth with tropical fruit flavors, apples, figs with a touch of oak. Pinot Noir champagne has dark red color with rich body and fine bubbles. It fills your nose with raspberry and spicy aromas. This champagne fills the mouth with berry, cherry and syrup flavors. It is best paired with fresh fruits, desserts, meats such as quail, duck and veal and spicy foods. Meanwhile, Chenin Blanc Champagne has high acidity with fresh citrus and mineral aromas. It can be paired with caramel, aperitif, ice cream and fruit desserts.
This champagne also goes well with sushi and seafood.The last type of wine is dessert wine, also known as sweet wines, is notable for its sweet flavor. It can be served with desserts or by itself. The alcohol content of dessert wines may range from low to high. Among the top dessert wines include fortified wines such as sweet port, sherry and Madeira. Port wines have color that varies from deep red to light gold.
Its sweetness may also vary from extra dry to very sweet. It goes nicely with cheese, nuts, dried fruit and desserts.Madeira is originally from Portugal. Madeira wines vary from dry to sweet wines which are usually paired with desserts. Sherry wines are originally from Spain which shows a distinct nutty flavor. Its color ranges from golden yellow to dark brown. Sherry wines goes well with nuts such as cashews and pistachios and nut dishes (Wine Lover Page).Wine is a very essential part in fine dining restaurant.
In ordering in a restaurant, it is a must to observe some etiquette. The wine list will be given to you by the sommelier or waiter, if not you can ask for it. In selecting a wine, there are so many considerations such as the type of meal you have. If you have various foods, it is better to pair white wine with lighter main and followed by the red wine with other main course.
When the wine is served, it is the sommeliers responsibility to uncork the bottle of the wine. When the bottle is opened, the sommelier will pour a little portion of wine on the host’s glass in order for him to inspect the wine. The host will tell the waiter for any flaws on the wine and if there are flaws the wine can be rejected. If there are no flaws, the waiter will then first pour wine on the ladies glass and then turn clockwise to the host.It is not always true that expensive wines have good quality than the others. There are cheap wines that are better than expensive ones.
The variety, aroma and flavor are believed to be the factors that dictate the quality and most often the price of a wine. Wines that are produced by known companies are more expensive as compared to never-heard companies. However, most of the time, price does not dictate the quality of a wine. We are not assured that the wine that we buy is the quality wines. Most of the time, it is the name or brand of the wine that we are paying and not its quality (Bordeaux 2006).