7 Pieces Of Basic Knowledge On Wine Everybody Should Know
Humankind has known wine from 7000 BC – since then, we have been improving winemaking and drinking experience to the finest level. You can find people around the world drinking and enjoying wine. It has become quite a mandatory drink for occasions and festivals etc. The culture around it is quite exciting to follow.
Wine is much of a broader subject to understand for a common person; let’s leave that topic for wine experts, scholars, and fanatics. Yet! The whole wine drinking, tasting, and making can be a quite intimidating experience for the rookie drinkers. Everyone should know the basics of wine to make your drinking experience worthwhile. Here are seven pieces of basic wine knowledge everyone should know.
‘Grapes’ are the most crucial ingredient of the winemaking procedure! The grapes you see at supermarkets are not the ones that go in winemaking. Wine grapes are smaller with thicker skin and have seeds in them. They are much sweeter than regular grapes. There are astonishing 1,300 wine grape varieties, yet only 100 makes it to the top vineyards in the world. Popular varieties make up 75% of total wine production in the world. Some of the top varieties of grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Garnacha, etc.
Colour is the most determining factor in any drink that includes wines too. ‘Purple’ and ‘black grapes’ yield red wines – whereas ‘green’ ones produce white wines. Another factor is the whole fruit and juice of grapes goes into red winemaking – whereas in white wines is made only from grape juice. The fermentation process is part where distinct colour develops.
The famous wine brand Stella Rosa has a variety of wine colouring from ‘black to pink,’ having various sweet flavors developed from different fruit infusions. There are a few wines that have ‘golden’ colouration, and some are even orange. Don’t be mistaken ‘orange’ wines are not made from oranges, but it is all about the discrete fermentation process that gives out the unique colour.
The region where wine grapes are grown plays the most important part in winemaking as it is the determining factor in how the wine turns out in the end. Soil variations, climate, temperature, sunshine, humidity changes, and many such differences play an essential role in flavors of wines. ‘France’ tops the list in wine-producing regions followed by Italy, Spain, United States, and China.
Grapes grown in warmer regions produce sweeter wines, and cold regions produce rather tarter wines. Soil profiles also make a difference in wine production like – sandy soils will yield less acidic and softer wine, whereas clay soil will produce wines with bold and deep flavors. The most preferred profile is loamy soil, which surprisingly produces flavorless wine. Grapes grown anywhere in the world can go into a sparkling wine with carbon dioxide bubbles. Yet sparkling wine produced from the northeastern region of Champagne, France, is ‘Champagne.’
The wine-producing regions are present all over the world. Yet, these regions are further divided into two worlds – “Old World” or “New World.” Regions with a long and deep history of winemaking like European and Mediterranean regions are part of the Old World. As the name suggests, the newer wine-producing regions like the United States, Chile, and Australia are part of the New World.
Tasting wine holds another level of studying and drinking wines on wine! But let’s keep it simple and basic. We have now known that environmental factors play such an important role in developing flavor and taste that goes in winemaking. Different wines have their own rare and unique flavor profiles – at a point, there are so many wines in the world today, you can’t pick one out of all.
It might come to surprise you wines are usually flavorless – the later processes of mixing fruits, flowers, spice, and infinite flavors, which gives the wine the taste it has. The art of winemakers producing fine winemaking comes into play here.
Here are a few examples of tasting profiles – Cabernet Sauvignon wine (Red) has dark, black cherry, plum, ripe fruits, spicy, and vanilla notes. In contrast, Chardonnay wine (White) has rich tropical fruity and citrusy notes. The correct way of tasting wines is just a few steps but holds much of the meaning. Let’s follow the steps –
- The first step is looking at your wine and notice colours and viscosity by your eyes. It will create an image for you how your wine will taste eventually.
- In the second step, you must have watched countless videos and movies – the swirl. Swirl your wine to open up its flavors and aroma. This activity will mix the air with the wine, helping dissipating overwhelming alcoholic smell and vapors. Don’t overdo the swirling.
- The third step is to smell your wine to know what unique profile it has to offer you.
- The fourth step is to take a small sip of your wine and let it move around your mouth and then swallow. Sipping will let you know the wine’s flavor profile, and then you are ready to drink.
Reading labels on wine bottles can be confusing for any beginner. That’s where the Old World and New World wines differentiate in label making. New world winemakers directly list the varieties of grapes used in winemaking and region of production, making it easy to understand.
The Old world regions winemakers typically acknowledge that their consumer is familiar with region and varieties. For example –
- Old world wine labels read – 2011 Les Roches Touraine Blanc
- New World wine label reads – 2011 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc
People have been drinking wines straight from the bottle, in cups, or unconventional glass; it is your choice! Wine serving has its ways; there is dedicated glassware for different wines. Let us look more into the basics.
Typically red wines are served in taller glasses with big bowels and more full mouths; White wines in a narrow glass with smaller mouths; Sparkling wines and Champagne in flute shaped glass with a slender bowl and long stem. The temperature of wine serving is crucial too – white wines at 7⁰-10 C, red wines at 10⁰- 15⁰ C, Sparkling wines at 7⁰ C.
Food pairing is essential – you shouldn’t drink wine without food, or you may have a bad hangover. That’s one reason another reason is proper food will help digest wine and will help you to get enhanced flavors and enjoyment of the whole drinking process.
The rule is red wines pair best with red meat such as steak—white wines pair with light meat like fish, chicken, eggs, and vegetables. Sparkling wines and dessert wines go with sweet foods. Many wines will print food suggestions on bottle labels; you can refer to them too.
We can safely assume wine is larger than a life concept, and mainly it was firstly produced for sheer enjoyment is amusing. Enjoying wine is part of knowing the beverage deeply. You will have to drink many wines to know which suits you! We hope the above-mentioned basics will help you to get your favorite wine soon.