Wine for Beginners, Learning About Wine Enhances the Experience.
Wine for beginners. The idea here is to become comfortable with the subject. Of all the fermented beverages, wine seems to have more "moving parts" than any other. By these we mean that there are more variables, thus making it a rather complicated matter.
Some of the many things to consider are: the grapes, the weather, the fermentation, the aging, the different types of wine, the winemaking process.
It's All so Confusing!
The phrase "wine for beginners" implies that we have a long road ahead of us. But you know, you don't have to know everything at once. Wine knowledge, at its most enjoyable, should be a learning process, not cramming for an exam. The only exam here is your own experience and pleasure.
Ideally, learning about wine should be a lifelong experience, just like learning about living. Hopefully we will have something to learn until the last day we are on this earth, so relax and begin the process of wine education.
How does wine start?
You need the main ingredient, grapes. The grape variety, as well as the level of ripeness will have much to do with the end result.
Aside from the obvious factor, the color of the grape; each variety has different flavors. Just like a Valencia orange, and a Blood orange taste and look differently, so does a Riesling grape, and a Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The first one making a light fruity wine, the second one a full-bodies and bold wine. And between these two parameters there are a mind numbing number of variety of grapes.
Other factors that affect the main ingredient are: the regions where it is grown. What kind of weather affected the grape? What kind of soil was it grown in?
Fermentation, The Mystery That Turns Juice Into Wine!
This is the next important factor in winemaking. You may ask yourself "what is so mysterious about fermentation? It happens all the time, just look at the milk I bought last week!"
Fermentation is so common, and it can be so annoying when it spoils our food, that we overlook how complex and important it is. Though it has been happening since the Big Bang, it wasn't until the 19th century that it was really understood.
The trick to grape juice fermentation, and thus winemaking, is the way it is controlled in order to end up with a wonderful result.
Aging; Even in Winemaking, It isn't For the Faint of Heart!
I line that I have heard attributed to the great congresswoman Millicent Fenwick is "Aging is not for wimps" or something to that effect. I don't know if she really said this, but it is true of people and of wine. Aging wine is not for wimps because it takes knowledge and skill to do it right (I guess this is true of people, as well!).
Aging wine is part of the winemaking process. The winemaker determines how long the wine will age, and whether it will be done in a barrel or a stainless steel tank.
But aging continues once the wine is bottled. Because the bottle is a sterile environment, unlike a barrel; the components of the wine will interact with one another, becoming balanced and harmonious, the winemaker hopes.
This is the start of your wine education.
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Wine For Beginners, But A Lifelong Adventure!
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