The wonderful world of wine: Facts about wine
Our favorite red wines are usually Italian, few will give more than 15$ for a good bottle, and the grape should preferably be Cabernet Sauvignon. The German Riesling is the ultimate favorite for white wines, and over ten years, the consumption of sparkling white wine and champagne has increased by over 50%!
There must surely be something to celebrate in our small country since the corks pop – or there has been a new and intensified interest in the various exciting types of wine. In recent years, there has been a pervasive tendency for us as a population to focus more on healthy food, raw materials, and high-quality enjoyment products. We defy the stressful world of work today and the urgent demands of being present everywhere – and put space and time to enjoy the simple, good life.
At the same time, very few people are particularly familiar with the world of wine and not least explore the many fantastic wine experiences that exist. Of course, we think this is a shame, so here we have gathered an excellent and witty introduction to the wine connoisseur’s universe.
The vine – A refined wonder
You know the beautiful pictures of the long rows of vines on the undulating, sloping surfaces of the vineyards, so let’s take a closer look at the vine genus (Latin Vitis).
There are about 70 subspecies of the vine, and the genus is naturally widespread worldwide. Vine is found in nature as a shrub and a vine, while the European subspecies from which we get grapes is called Common Wine (Vitis Vinifera). This is surprisingly enough to categorize as a deciduous vine – or it will probably not come as a surprise to those lucky to have a specimen of the climbing plant at home!
The vine prefers dry soil rich in humus and minerals, and the robust root system can spread several meters around the surroundings in search of water and nutrients. One should not be fooled by the older vine’s gray rough bark that flakes and thinks the plant is thirsty because the best climate for the fruit (or berries, more precisely) is dry and water-poor – otherwise, the seeds never ripen and thus do not the grapes. Pests from all over the world can quickly attack the vine, and the grapes are fragile compared to mold, so ever since the wine was domesticated, attempts have been made to breed more robust varieties. The vine has been refined in many types specially designed to perform optimally under the specific climatic and geological conditions, where they were produced and gradually refined in their time.
The grape varieties used to produce edible fruit are bred specifically for this purpose: to give a sweet, seedless grape with lots of pulp. The types used for wine production, on the other hand, must have completely different qualities and not least their characteristics in aroma and taste. Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, and Merlot are the widest varieties of blue grapes in European wine. Wine can easily be a mixture of several grape varieties. However, a minimum of 75-85% of one grape variety must be included to classify the wine based on this variety.
The correct word for the vineyard is French terroir. It is a valuable concept to work from, as there can be gigantic differences between soil quality, access to water, seasonal conditions, and more – even within small wine districts. For this reason, wine producers and connoisseurs go so far as to learn about the conditions for cultivating the various wines. Moreover, it can create very different results for the same grape variety, depending on whether the vines, for example, have stood on a south- or south-west-facing terroir or whether there have been very sloping cultivation surfaces for one wine but not another.
The size of the harvest for vintage can also significantly affect the final result, as both too small and too large crops affect the last taste and composition of the wine.
Popular grapes and often used concepts of wine
Let’s dive deeper into the facts about wine and the different concepts used in connection with viticulture and grape varieties. For example, we will use the most common blue grape variety, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Sauvignon originates in the southern French wine region of Bordeaux, but it has been widespread worldwide. It is characterized by being robust and always exhibiting stable traits – no matter where it is grown. The variety thus reflects both its inherent taste profile, while the local soil and climatic conditions give the wine its local distinctiveness.
Familiar with the vast majority of red wines on Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a relatively high tannic acid and phenols content, making it particularly suitable for long-term storage and barrel storage. The Merlot grape is the foundation for Bordeaux wines’ world fame and extraordinary storage potential.
The parameters and concepts used to classify the wine’s aroma, fullness, and taste are good to write behind the ear, as they are the “language of wine” – for how to talk about something that speaks so much to taste and fragrance as well as offering difficult-to-describe visual and tactile experiences?
First, you look at the content of tannic acid (tannin), various fruit acids, and phenols, which help determine how acidic the wine is and how high an alcohol percentage it can have. In addition, the tannin content determines how long a wine can ferment and how long it can be stored, and thus it also has a bearing on how light or dark a wine ends up with.
A Cabernet Sauvignon is a relatively dark red wine, and the high tannin content in the finished wine gives a weight, which is described as the body. The body of the wine is also affected by the relatively high alcohol percentage of 13-15%. The alcohol content is therefore used, among other things. Expression is “a wine with weight,” as opposed to “a light wine,” which is often heard in connection with white wine, which has lower alcohol percentages. As this type of red wine, as mentioned, has very high acidity and therefore is often stored for a more extended period, there is also no more incredible sweetness in the wine – the red wine is to be classified as dry, i.e., astringent. The opposite is young sweet wines, which have a low tannin content, do not last long, and are often classified as fresh and berry-like.
As this particular grape variety is grown worldwide, it should be mentioned that the warmer the area in which it is produced, the sweeter the grapes become. The sweeter the grapes, the shorter it needs to be stored, and therefore a vast difference in the storage potential of, for example, top French wines on Cabernet Sauvignon and the more “everyday” wines from, for example, South Africa.
Always safe quality at your wine retailer
First of all, the transport of the wine from the producer is often a critical period in the life of the wine, as temperature, pressure, vibrations, and more, in the worst case, can cause the wine to oxidize and lose body, color, and taste. Second, despite courses, sales staff do not have the vast knowledge and dissemination opportunities, and customers often end up going for price and “what we know” reasoning. It’s a shame because you miss out on new wonderful wine experiences that open up new horizons.
Therefore, do yourself a big favor and buy your wine from wine retailers who have a check on everything from transport to the qualities of the individual varieties – life is too short for mediocre wine!
Please remember to drink responsibly! This post isn’t meant to make you sick due to the over-consumption of alcohol. PartyPingo does not encourage irresponsible drinking of any kind. Stay safe, everyone!
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