Wines are sophisticated enough to warrant schools devoted to teaching people how to distinguish one wine from another. The really skilled ones not only can recognize the brand of the wine, but can also accurately state the ingredients of the said wine. Apparently, going to these schools also seems to develop one’s English skills as the wine taster often recites poetry after tasting the wine. Beer has the same effect sometimes, although the words are slurred a little more. Unlike beer, however, wine can look like rocket science to outsiders, so here are a few basics on understanding wine.
Where Wine Comes From
If you’ve seen a cartoon where the primary character stomps on some grapes and pours the liquefied result into a glass, then you’re probably too old. Kidding aside, wine is the result of grape fermentation. Sometimes something else besides or in addition to grapes is used. For instance, fermenting rice makes rice wine, or sake. The fermentation process dictates the wine color and sweetness.
Wines come in different colors. These colors signify the different methods of producing the wine. For instance, the most common wines are red and white. White wines are produced by using green grapes while red wines are produced by using black ones. Sparkling wines, such as champagne, are produced with any grape type, but they undergo another fermentation process which causes the signature bubbles to form.
Other wine types include rosé and fortified wine. Rosé wine is the not-red-enough wine. Fortified wine is wine that’s backed up with spirits, making it a little stronger. In short, red wine equals red, white wine equals golden, sparkling wine equals bubbles, rosé wine equals pink, and fortified wine equals dark purplish colors. It’s important to note that a particular brand of wine doesn’t tie itself solely to a wine type. For instance, a Barossa Valley Shiraz is typically a red wine, but the same grape variety can be found in rosé and fortified wines.
Basic Wine Taste
Distinguishing flavors are best left for pros. Newbies should start with the basic taste – that is how sweet the wine is. Typically, the sweeter the wine tastes, the less alcohol it contains as some sugars weren’t converted into alcohol during the fermentation process. When someone refers to the wine as “dry” it means the wine isn’t sweet.
The biggest wine producer is France, which adds to the stereotypical picture of a mustached Frenchman holding a baguette on one hand and a wine bottle in the other. At any rate, when buying wines, take note of the top wine-producing countries. For instance, Australia produces excellent Shiraz wines.
That’s basically it. When consuming wine, just remember to drink in moderate amounts. Wine has its benefits, but even the best medicine can be poison when taken in huge amounts.
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