What is Wine?
If you are a fan of wine, you probably love learning about it just as well. The bad news is there is almost too much to learn about the fantastic alcoholic juice that we have been drinking since the beginning of time (literally, before Jesus). The good news is HHC is here to help!
-Wine is made from hundreds of different fermented grapes. Each one falls under their very own unique categories: Red, White, Rose, and Sparkling or Champagne.
-Fermentation is a simple chemical reaction, that releases the unique compounds in grapes.
-Because no grape is the same, the process differs due to the type, ripeness, quality, and blends.
-Wine always maintains a 10 to 15% alcohol content per bottle.
A Brief History:
The culture of wine in Europe predates the Romans: in ancient Greece, Wine was praised by poets, historians, and artists, and was frequently referred to in the works of Aesop and Homer.
To the Greeks, wine was considered the privilege of the upper classes. They even gave it it's very own god- Dionysus. He represented not only the intoxicating power of wine but also its social and beneficial influences. He was viewed as the promoter of civilization, a lawgiver, and lover of peace — as well as the patron deity of agriculture and the theatre. According to ancient Greek historian Thucydides, “the peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine”.
The grape varieties were first introduced to what is now Mexico by the first Spanish conquistadors to provide the necessities of the Catholic Holy Eucharist. Succeeding waves of immigrants imported French, Italian and German grapes. Then came a pest...
In late 19th century Europe, during the devastating phylloxera blight, it was found that Native American vines were immune to the pest. So, French-American hybrid grapes were developed and saw some use in Europe, but more important was the practice of grafting European grapevines to American rootstocks to protect vineyards from the insect. The practice continues to this day wherever phylloxera is present. Phylloxera are almost microscopic, pale yellow sap-sucking insects, related to aphids, feed on the roots and leaves of grapevines
This day in age wine in the Americas is often from Argentina, California, and Chile, all of which produce a wide variety of wines. Most of the wine production in the Americas is based on Old World grape varieties, and wine-growing regions here have often "adopted" grapes that have become particularly closely identified with them. California's Zinfandel (from Croatia and Southern Italy), Argentina's Malbec, and Chile's Carmenère (both from France) are well-known examples.
It wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century, American wine was generally viewed as inferior to that of Europe. However, with the surprisingly favorable American showing at the Paris Wine tasting of 1976, New World wine began to garner respect in the land of wine's origins.
Still Wine vs. Sparkling Wine:
The main difference between sparkling and still wines is that sparkling ones have dissolved carbon dioxide in them. But there's a lot more that you can learn:
-The bubbles effect is achieved during the second fermentation process. During this process, winemakers make a mixture of few grams of yeast and sugar which is added to still wine which produces carbon dioxide. The end result is a sparkling wine.
-Also, these wines have scents that make them smell like fruits because they contain the same sugar compounds as grapes. Which is why sparkling wines sometimes smell like pears, apples, strawberry, citrus and vanilla.
-Because of their specific flavor, sparkling wines are usually part of special occasions only, such as weddings, anniversaries, engagement parties or big sports and other TV events.
Wine is such a complex being, there is no way we could educate you about all of it in one post Look out for more educative articles on the different kinds of fermentation, the differences between grapes, and what you should order if a wine list looks confusing to you in future articles. And as always...