Wine

Welcome to wine.co.uk, an invaluable source of information regarding all things wine. 


With around 70 different countries offering us their native collections of fine wines, it is no wonder picking the right one for that certain occasion can be a time consuming pursuit.  Whether you are a connoisseur or just enjoy a tasty tipple, the universal appreciation for fine wine is apparent. Wine producing countries take pride in their individual tastes, which were traditionally developed to enhance and compliment a region's signature dishes. A meal with carefully thought out wine choices can make all the difference to a dining experience, which is why there will always be a demand for variety. Learning more about the varieties of wine on offer to you will help you make a more informed decision when it comes to purchasing; however the best way to truly understand and appreciate different wines is to taste them.

What is wine and how is it made?

Wine is a beverage made from just grape juice and yeast. However, other types of fruit juice can be used and the wine is normally labelled as so. For example apple wine, or berry wine, although grapes are the norm. The grapes are then crushed and left to ferment using yeast. The yeast absorbs the natural sugar from the grapes and transforms them into alcohol. There are many factors that influence the individual appearance and taste of a certain wine, ranging from the type and colour of grape down the condition of the soil and climate. The colour of a wine is determined by whether or not the skin of the grape is used. The juice from all grapes is almost colourless or golden. It is the skin of the black grape that gives us rose and red wine. The tannin content of a wine can add to its texture and flavour. It is found in the skin seed and stem of the grape, and provides the wine with a woody taste.

Wine generally comes in five different forms. White wine, red wine, rose wine and champagne or sparkling wine, although others are available. These types of wine are then further defined by their flavours and are categorised by land of origin like Australian wine or South African wine. They are then sub categorised into a more specific region for example Californian or Rhone, and are then given names to identify the specific taste.  The quality of a certain bottle is stereotypically judged by the price, however everyone’s palate can be as unique as the individual. Getting your taste buds to adjust to a variety of wine types is the key to truly appreciating what the wine world has to offer.

You may come across the word ‘Varietal’ in reference to wine. This term is used to describe a wine that used only one type of grape and is not blended with another grape. The law states that varietal wines must contain a minimum of 75% of the grape it states on the bottle. Popular varietal wines are Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. A wine that is non varietal will be apparent from the label. It will contain a blend of more than one type of grape.

The factors that influence wine;

CLIMATE; The weather is a strong deciding factor in where certain grapes can grow. Warmer climates produce sweeter tasting grapes than cooler climates. 
SOIL TYPE; The properties of the soil and how it reacts in a certain climate heavily influences the grapes quality. Soil can vary in its abilities to retain water and heat.
YEAST;  The strain of the yeast used in the wine making process will affect its overall taste and aroma.
STORAGE; Temperature,  humidity levels, length of time and the container in which the wine is stored will all be influencing factors in the wines taste.

Types of wine;

RED

CABERNET SAUVIGNON   This full bodied red is probably the world’s most successful variety of red wine and is produced in most wine making countries as a result of its toleration of most weather conditions. The grapes are black with very thick tough skin offering protection from rainfall, and they tend to ripen mid to late season. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is the most predominant in the northern France region of Bordeaux and the most popular red wine produced in California. Its bold flavours make is a perfect accompaniment to red meat, cheese and chocolate sweets.

MERLOT  This is a medium bodied wine from the same grape as the Cabernet Sauvignon, but ripens earlier on in the season and has lower tannin content. Merlot is usually blended with another type of grape in order to reach its signature taste. Although produced in many countries, the best merlots are said to be from areas with a sunny and cool climate such as Bordeaux, Napa valley, parts of Italy and Chile. Merlot goes well with various Chinese foods like Peking duck, sweet curries and also beef.

PINOT NOIR This is known to be a complex grape to grow and rather difficult to ferment. The dark thin skinned purple grapes are clustered tightly together on the bunch resembling a pine cone. Its history dates back to the first century AD and is thought to have originated in Burgundy.  Even though the pinot noir grape is grown in many countries, it seems to prefer its native Burgundy region where it has the most consistent growth success. This wine has a silky texture and is a fantastic complement to lamb.

SYRAH OR SHIRAZ Well known as a very powerful wine, Shiraz is thought to have originated in the Rhone region of France. Although Syrah and Shiraz are from the same grape, the tastes can differ from one origin to another. As it stands, Shiraz is the most popular red wine in Australia. When young, Shiraz has a fruity taste and with age acquires a heavier velvety taste. This mid palate wine is great with pork beef and lamb.

WHITE

CHARDONNAY This versatile dry white is by far a wine makers dream, being the easiest grape to grow. With its ability to acclimatise to most weather and soil conditions, Chardonnay grapes are being grown all over the world. Its taste can be very diverse, ranging from light and crisp, to subtle fruit and vanilla flavours when left longer to ferment in the barrel. This wine is at its best when enjoyed with seafood but its elegance allows it to be enjoyed just as much on its own.

PINOT GRIGIO OR PINOT GRIS  Very similar to the Pinot Noir grape, it is normally bluish gray in  colour.( When translated, Gris meaning Gray in French, and Grigio meaning Gray in Italian.) However the grape has been known to vary from pinks to black in colour. Originating from the Burgundy region of France but widespread across the world, Pinot Grigio is very popular with Italian and American consumers.  Seafood is the best food match for this dry crispy white.

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