Let’s understand and appreciate wine – an essential element of fine living.
This delightful and classy drink has its origin in the humble grapes, which are fermented to create wine. Though French wines like Bordeaux and Burgundy remain classics, Italian, South African and Californian wines are gaining in popularity.
Wine can be judged by several criteria for distinction – name of shipper / producer (like Sula vineyards, etc.), area or region of production (Alsace, Bordeaux, etc.), year of production, the kind of grapes from which it is produced (chardonnay, barbera, etc.) and the aroma or “bouquet” of the wine. Each wine-producing region has its own vintage years when the crop is exceptionally good, resulting in extremely superior quality wines, and steeper prices. Generally, the older the wine, the better is its quality and higher the price.
The type of wine determines the food it should be served with and the kind of stemware used. Red wine, for instance, should be served at room temperature with red meat and in relatively smaller wine glasses with broad rims. White wine, on the other hand, should be served chilled, with white meat or seafood, in glasses that have narrow rims.
Sparkling wine, made from a mixture of black and white grapes, and infused with carbon after fermentation, has a unique bubbly nature. Sparkling wine made in the Champagne district of France is called champagne.
Wine has 11 to 14 per cent alcohol, and should ideally be stored in cool, dark places, tilted at and angle. Fortified wines are mixed with brandy, resulting in higher alcohol content and stronger flavor, common ones being port, sherry, etc.
While shopping for wine, the criteria for distinction should be kept in mind. Once the right wine is selected, and the suitable accompaniment determined, it’s time for celebration!