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Wine FAQs
What is wine? Can wine be made from other fruits except grapes?
Wine is an alcohol based drink obtained by fermenting the grape juice. Technically it is possible to produce a similar beverage from other fruit juices but legally those efforts won’t be labeled as wine since by definition wine is a natural product obtained from grapes.
How does wine get its colour?
Grape juice or ‘Must’ is always devoid of colour. Wine receives its colour from the grape skin which contains the pigments (anthocyanins). The longer the juice remains in contact with the skin during fermentation, the darker the shade of wine becomes.
What are four Ss of wine tasting?
The four Ss are: See (the colour & clarity), Sniff (swirl the glass & take a good sniff), Sip (of course slowly!) and Swallow or Spit (spitting is a good idea if you don't wish to consume too much alcohol).
What are the four building blocks of wine?
Grape sugar: Fermented into alcohol, it gives the wine its richness and fruitiness. Acidity: It keeps the flavour of fruit lively on the palate, specially in a white wine. It gives structure to reds to age well. Without acidity, a wine becomes dull and tasteless. Tannins: Tannin helps red wines last long and mature with age. Alcohol: It gives a wine weight on the palate - a German wine with 7% alcohol will taste light but a chunky Californian Zinfandel with 17% will be more than a mouthful. Good quality wine will never leave a burning sensation.
What is a 'good wine'?
There is nothing as good wine or bad wine. It is just that one likes a particular wine and dislikes another. While assessing a wine it is, therefore, crucial to keep in mind one's personal preferences.
Why do some wines smell of rotten eggs?
Sulphur is added to wine as a preservative. When wine is not properly stored, the Sulphur turns into hydrogen sulphide, which reacts with alcohol to produce mercaptan which produces the smell of rotten eggs.
What is 'Nosing the wine'?
'Nosing' is an important step while judging a wine. The first nosing is done by keeping the glass still and upright on the table and by sticking one's nose as deep as it is possible in the fume chamber of the glass.This helps to gauge the natural aromatic intensity of a wine before swirling which would liberate and accentuate the whiff.
What is racking?
As a wine matures, sediments form naturally. These particles can create undesirables flavours in the wine. Racking, which may follow fining, involves draining or pumping out the wine into a clean vessel, where it continues to mature.
What is called aftertaste?
The word 'aftertaste' means the same as length or finish. The taste of wine lingers in the mouth even after swallowing. The longer the pleasant aftertaste lingers in the mouth, the finer the quality of wine.
How much wine should we mouth for tasting?
One generous tablespoon full of wine is enough to get the idea about its taste and flavour. Less technically, it is one sip.
What we understand by the following terminology: fat, flabby, meaty, hot, rich, long or short?
Fat: Wine made from ripe fruit and is full of flavour. Flabby: Wine lacking acidity, which will deteriorate further with time. Meaty: Wine with a dense and thick texture. Such that you almost imagine you could chew it. Hot: Wine with too much alcohol for its flavour to express itself. Rich: Wine with plenty of flavour and high alcohol content. Long: Wine whose flavour lingers on the palate much after it is swallowed. Short: Wine whose flavour fades fast on the palate.
What is the general order for tasting wine?
Wines are tasted in an ascending order of maturity and their impact on palate. A younger wine should be tasted before a matured one, lighter ones before giant ones, dry wines before sweet ones and low alcohol wines before high alcohol ones. If served the other way round, the preceding wines would make the following ones appear dull and bland.
What are the ideal temperatures for serving red & white wine?
Whites go between 60C-120C while reds are ranged between 140C-180C. The rule of thumb about ideal serving temperature says that any wine having more character, flavour and body can be enjoyed at a relatively higher temperature.
Do wine age inside the bottle?
Yes, unlike cognac or whiskey, wines do age inside a bottle. However, only 12% of all variants of wines are worthy of maturing or aging over time.
How much wine should be served?
When serving from a bottle, one should try and fill one-third of a glass for white wines and slightly less than half a glass for red wines. In case of glasses having extremely large bowls, these amounts should not exceed 100ml. in either case. A standard portion of a glass of wine is 125ml, thus giving us 6 glasses from an average sized bottle (750ml).
Once opened, how long will a bottle of wine last?
A bottle once opened should be finished within the next 2 working days (under proper storage conditions). A standard portion of a glass of wine is 125ml, thus giving us 6 glasses from an average sized bottle (750ml).
What is Aeration?
Exposing the wine to oxygen during the winemaking process helps to round, soften and age it slightly. It also allows the yeast some necessary oxygen to grow and do its job properly. This must be done carefully so as not to oxidize the wine and ruin it completely. Aeration is also associated with decanting or giving the wine some breathing time before drinking
What is 'Aging'?
As a wine ages, tannin, one of the natural chemical components, binds together and makes the wine taste smoother. The flavours of the wine mellow down and often take on a nutty, smoky or dried-fruit character, depending on the type of wine. However, Not all wines are meant for aging. In fact, most are made to be consumed within a year or two of their purchase.
What is Angular wine?
Angular wine is young and has a tart taste or flavour. This is the opposite of a round, soft, supple wine.
What is Appellation system?
Appellation system is recognizing the area where grapes are grown and made into wine. Appellations are used to identify most of the wines of France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal. Often laws that govern the type of grapes used, yields and other aspects of winemaking are based on the appellation system. New World countries such as the United States and Canada are embracing a voluntary appellation system as a means of differentiating wines from various regions.
What do you mean by AVA?
AVA means American Viticultural Area. A delimited, geographical grape-growing area that has officially been given appellation status by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Two examples are Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.
What is 'Ampelography'?
Study of grape varieties.
What is 'Astringent' effect?
A dry, mouth-puckering effect derived from high tannin content that softens and mellows down as the wine matures. This effect is similar to drinking over-brewed tea or chewing on a grape stalk.
What is 'Austere' wine?
'Austere' wine is a dry, hard, and acidic wine, that lacks fruit flavour, as well as character.
Who & where is Bacchus?
Bacchus is the Greek god of wine. It is also the name of a grape variety grown in Germany that is a crossing of Silvaner, Riesling and Muller-thurgau.
What is 'Blind' tasting?
'Blind' tasting is to taste wine without knowing the name of the winery, vintage or other label information. Both critics and consumers taste wine this way to evaluate it in an unbiased way. It is only after writing a tasting note and giving the wine a score that they look at these details.
What is 'Botrytis Cineria'?
Also known as 'noble rot', it is a good fungus that attacks grapes causing them to shrivel up. As a result, the grape juice has a higher sugar content and the flavour of the dessert wine made from this juice is more concentrated, complex and delicious. The most famous examples of these wines come from Sauternes in Bordeaux and the king of them is Chateau d'Yquem.
What is 'Bouquet effect'?
In the broadest sense, it is the odour that is created with the aging process of a wine. Namely, the smell formed by the slow oxidation of the fruit acids and alcohol.
What is 'Brix'?
Brix is the measurement of the amount of sugar in a liquid. Grapes gain more Brix as they ripen. The sugar converts to alcohol during fermentation and therefore the higher the Brix, the greater the alcohol in the wine.
What is 'Brut' Wine?
A dry champagne or sparkling wine is said to be brut.
What is 'Cloying wine'?
Cloying wine is an overly sweet wine that lacks balancing acidity and is unpleasant in plate and not refreshing at all.
What is 'Coarse' wine?
Although a coarse wine may be full-bodied, it is also harsh in flavour and texture and often too tannic.
What does 'Cru' mean?
'Cru' is a French term meaning growth that is used in classifying vineyards. Often, but not always, 'grand cru' refers to the best wine.
How is 'Elevation' related with vineyard?
Elevation is the height of the vineyard either above from sea level or some local landmark, such as a valley floor.
What is 'Expectorate' meant for?
Plain and simple, spitting. It is the easiest way to taste a variety of wines without consuming too much alcohol.
How does 'Extra Dry' differs from 'Dry'?
Extra Dry is a sparkling wine that is slightly sweet. This is a bit confusing since 'Dry' means without sweetness, but 'Extra Dry' means slightly sweet.
What is 'Extraction' process?
Extraction is the process of taking the flavour, colour and tannin out of the grape skins during maceration when the grape skins are soaked in the grape juice during fermentation. The challenge is to extract the right amount of these compounds so that the wine is still balanced. Highly extracted wines are described as full-bodied, intense and alcoholic with powerful fruit flavors and tannins.
What is 'Flinty' wine?
The term 'Flinty' usually describes in dry white wines, such as Chablis and Sancerre, with an aroma of flint striking steel. This character is believed to come from the limestone soil in which the grapes were grown and is a positive attribute.
What type of wine is called 'Herbaceous'?
Herbaceous is a wine that has a green, vegetable smell. For example, Sauvignon Blanc is grassy when subtle, herbaceous when overpowering.
What are the 'Legs' in a wine?
After the swirling, as the wine falls back in the glass, it forms some lines. In wine terminology, these lines are called 'legs' that indicates the alcohol content or the sugar quotient. More legs mean the wine has higher alcohol content.
What is 'Magnum' bottle?
It is a large bottle equivalent to two standard 750 ml bottles, containing about two fifths of a gallon or 1.5 liters of wine or liquor. This is a dramatic size and just placing it on the table tells your guests that the evening is going to be a festive one.
What is 'Noble' grape?
Noble grapes are those that produce the world's finest wines, such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, riesling etc.
What is 'Organic Viticulture'?
It is an approach some winemakers take when they rely less, or not at all on synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. Those that meet certain criteria may be labeled as organic.
What is 'Pungent' wine?
A pungent wine has strong aromas that are often out of balance. Often, pungent wines are intensely sour, astringent and grating on the palate.
What 'Residual Sugar' is?
Residual sugar is the unfermented grape sugar in wine and is measured in grams against per liter of wine. The more the residual sugar, the sweeter the wine becomes.
What exactly Second Label or Wine is meant for?
This is a concept that started in Bordeaux but is now used in many winemaking regions. After the winery has made its first wine using the best grapes, it produces the second wine from grapes that are less ripe or grown in less prestigious vineyards. This wine is less expensive and can usually be consumed earlier than the first wine.
What is 'Stemmy' wine?
A stemmy wine results from leaving the grapes in contact with the stems too long during fermentation. It will taste harsh, bitter and astringent. These wines are also referred to as 'stalky' or 'green'.
What is Ullage?
Ullage is the small pocket of air in the bottle between the top of the wine and the cork.
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