The British have a proverb: "There is nothing better than old friendship and old wine." But if you don’t have the opportunity to buy a bottle of wine from 1929 (they say that this year the red burgundy turned out to be surprisingly tasty and fragrant), do not despair. And if you are not a connoisseur of vintage wines, then buying old drinks is not worth the risk. And who said that young wines are not worthy of the attention of gourmets? The main thing is to know where and how to choose.
Today, many regions are claiming the title of homeland of winemaking. Almost every ancient civilization had its own god of winemaking: the Greeks Dionysus, the Romans Bacchus, and even the ancient Egyptians had a vine god - Shai.
There are many theories about the emergence of winemaking, but official science is inclined to think that the inhabitants of the East began to make this drink first. On the territory of modern Iran, archaeologists have found a jug with the remains of wine, which is almost 7 thousand years old. Researchers suggest that this drink was made from cultivated grapes, very similar to those used today. It is known that in Ancient Greece almost 5 thousand years ago they also engaged in winemaking, and in the territory of modern Armenia, archaeologists have found the ruins of a winery that is more than 6 thousand years old. But more recently, a ceramic vessel dating to the VI millennium BC, with the remains of wine from a cultivated vine, was also discovered in Georgia. Therefore, researchers suggest that already 8 thousand years ago, winemaking in this region was at a highly developed level. In support of the theory that Georgia is the homeland of winemaking, the fact that today there are almost 500 varieties of grapes, including wild grapes listed in the Red Book, is growing on the territory of the country. By the way, the word "wine" is of Georgian origin - from the Georgian name of the drink is "guinea" (and "guivili" translates as "fermentation"). In addition, they say that mention of Georgian winemaking is still in the ancient Assyrian, Byzantine and Greek records.
Wine is a fermented alcoholic drink that is obtained in the process of full or partial fermentation of grape juice (sometimes other fruits are used, but only grape wine is considered to be real). Distinguish between natural and fortified wines. The former are notable for their small strength - 9-16%, while for fortified people this indicator is kept within 16-22%.
Wine is one of those products for which it is difficult to apply a single classification system. Oenologists (people who study the processes of creating and storing a drink) have devoted decades to this problem. As a result, several classifications were created at once, taking into account the raw materials used to make the drink, the percentage of ethanol and sugar, color, product quality and other characteristics. Below we consider the most common classifications.
By type of raw material
This is the easiest way to break all the wines into groups. The classification is based on the type of fermented raw materials. Within this system, wines are distinguished:
- grape (exclusively from grapes);
- raisins (from dried or dried grapes);
- berry (from different types of berries);
- fruit (from apples, pears and other fruits);
- vegetable (from flower petals, the juice of melons or other plants).
By grape variety used
It is known that in winemaking use berries of different grape varieties. And depending on which and how many varieties were involved, the wine can be:
Varietal wine is made from grapes of one variety, and the year of harvest is indicated on the label (sintage). For seperated wine in a certain proportion take a mixture of different grapes. For the production of blending drinks, two or more batches of wine material from different grape varieties are used.
Within this classification, the grape variety (dark or light) used to make the drink is taken into account. Thus distinguish wines:
White products include light tones: from pale straw to amber. Over time, these wines can become darker (like heavily brewed tea). Red and pink are wines from light ruby to deep garnet color. Over time, these varieties may lose a little brightness and produce a precipitate (including from natural coloring components), which, in principle, is not a defect in the product (during decantation, the drink is easily cleaned of sediment).
Depending on the aging time, which in turn affects the aromatic and taste characteristics, the wines are divided into:
Within this classification, branded and collection products are considered to be the best. A feature of vintage is that they are made in certain regions from the same grape variety. Collection wine - a product with an aging of several years (sometimes decades). However, drinks older than 40-70 years usually lose their gastronomic value. Although not without exceptions. For example, there are cases when wines, even after 70 years, were not lost in taste. In particular, we are talking about drinks from the crops of 1945 and 1947, made in Bordeaux. Or another example: in Jura (province of France) they create a drink from Savannin grapes that do not lose their qualities even after a century.
The oldest surviving wine is Rüdesheimer Apostelwein, harvested in 1653. However, it is no longer suitable for use. But the drink of the same brand, stored in a barrel in Bremen, from the harvest of 1727, they say, there is still nothing even.
True, another thing is mentioned: this ancient drink retained its “edibility” only because each time a certain amount of wine was drained from a barrel, the same amount of young wine was added to it. So the Rüdesheimer Apostelwein is already not quite from the 1727 harvest. But in the Crimea community "Massandra" boasts several bottles of this Jerez de la Frontera, born in 1775.
According to the method of preparation
Within this classification, drinks are distinguished:
- sweetened (sugar or honey);
- flavored (with plant extracts);
- fortified (with the addition of alcohol).
By alcohol and sugar content
The concentration of alcohol and sugar in the drink serves as the basis for one of the most famous classifications of wine. According to these characteristics, wines are divided into several categories and subcategories.
So, table wines (they are natural) can be:
The “dryness” of a wine is determined by the intensity of sugar fermentation in it. If sugar is fermented "to dryness", that is, completely, then the output is dry wine. As a rule, the sugar content in such a product does not exceed 0.3% and is not more than 4 g per liter of drink. Part of the alcohol in all wines from the table category is kept in the range of 8.5-15%. In semi-dry drinks, the amount of sugar can be from 4 to 18 g per liter, in semi-sweet drinks from 18 to 45 g, and in sweet drinks, at least 45 g of sugar is necessary for each liter of wine.
As for fortified, or so-called special wines, it is also customary to divide them into subcategories, taking into account the concentration of alcohol and sugar. Fortified wines can be:
The most alcohol (from 17 to 21% vol.) And the least sugar (from 30 to 120 g per liter) is found in strong wines. Sweet - this is from 14 to 20% vol. alcohol and about 150 g of sugar (per liter). On the labels of semi-dessert wines there is information about the content of 14-16% vol. alcohol and from 50 to 120 g / l of sugar. Fortified dessert wines are drinks containing 15-17% ethyl and 160-200 g sweetener. The sweetest are liquor. In a liter of such a drink there are from 210 to 300 g of sugar, and the percentage of alcohol varies between 12 and 16%.
The composition of all flavored wines includes about 16-18% alcohol and in the range of 6-16% sugar. But sparkling drinks according to the concentration of these ingredients are usually divided into:
- Brut (contains up to 15 g of sugar and 9-13% ethyl);
- extrabut (containing 9-13% alcohol and 3-6 g of sugar);
- brut cuvée (the percentage of ethyl is the same as in extra brut, and there is absolutely no sugar).
By carbon dioxide content
These are well-known sparkling wines. And this variety of drinks is of two types:
- saturated with carbon dioxide in a natural way;
- saturated with carbon dioxide by artificial means.
The first group includes champagne and similar wines, but produced outside the province of Champagne. The second group is the so-called sparkling or sparkling wines.
This classification is based on the rules for combining wines with food. Based on this feature, wines are:
- dining rooms;
The first serves "to the table", that is, to the main part of the meal. The second, as the name implies, is combined with desserts.
By country of manufacture
Even people who know almost nothing about the classifications and characteristics of wines will rather prefer a French or Italian drink than the "authorship" of another country. A noble grape drink is made in almost every country where climatic conditions make it possible to grow vines. And these are France, Italy, Spain, the USA, Greece, China, Australia, Argentina, Germany, Chile, Portugal, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Hungary and others. But still, historically, it turned out that in some countries the drink is better, in others worse. The whole thing is just the same in climatic conditions, soil quality and varieties of cultivated grapes, which are key points. So there was another classification. But for many years, products from France, Italy and Spain have been benchmarks for the whole world.
French wines. Winemaking in France has a long history. The French nobility and the monks from ancient times engaged in winemaking. Today, French drinks are considered the best in the world. The provinces of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne became famous all over the world precisely thanks to grapes.
Italian wines. The most famous wine-growing regions of this country are Piedmont, where red wines of barolo and barbaresko, white gavi, sparkling asti, Tuscany with its red chianti, and also San Gimignano, who gave the world white wine of vainaccia, are born.
Spanish wines. Spain is one of the three world leaders in winemaking. In this country there are more than a hundred certified wine regions. The most popular are wines from the region of Rioja, Priorat, Ribera del Duero, Penedès. And of course, the most famous Spanish wine is a white fortified sherry made in southern Andalusia.
If we talk about Russia, then on the territory of the Krasnodar Territory they were engaged in winemaking in the IV century BC. True, in those days there was an ancient Greek colony of Fanagoria. Later, during the time of Peter I, vineyards were laid on the Don. In the 19th century, several wine-growing regions were formed in the Russian Empire: Bessarabian, Don, Crimean, Caucasian, Astrakhan-Ural, Turkestan.
How to serve and drink wine
The use of wine is a science. Do you think that the glasses for all wines are the same? You are mistaken! As there are varieties of the drink, there are so many special vessels. Wine connoisseurs claim that all this glass variety helps to better open the bouquet of the drink. And by the way, about the bouquet. To feel all the advantages of wine, you still need to know which food to combine different varieties of the drink with.
From wine connoisseurs you can often hear that this divine drink should not be drunk, but savored. This process can be described in several steps. At first, when the glass is only brought to the mouth, the drink should only touch the upper lip. Only after that it is advised to open your lips and draw in a little drink. But immediately swallowing wine is considered bad form. To begin with, it is customary to “weigh” it in the tongue (this will reveal the taste of the drink) and only after that you can swallow.
Drinking wine is taken from a 2/3 or 1/3 full glass, which, according to etiquette, should be held by the leg. Most often, wine glasses have a cut ovoid or tulip-shaped and a thin leg of medium height. By the way, the tulip-shaped shape of the glasses better than others allows you to delay and concentrate the wine aroma in the vessel. Sparkling wines are usually served in tall cone-shaped glasses known as champagne. This form allows wine to play longer. White varieties are usually served in large bell-shaped glasses (with a wide top). For reds, slightly rounded tulips are chosen. Semi-sweet varieties of the drink are usually served in wide open glasses, and fortified - in narrowed to the top. Dessert and liquor are poured into small conical-shaped glasses, while Madeira and sherry are poured into cylindrical ones.
As for uncorking wine bottles, white varieties are opened immediately before pouring into glasses, and red varieties are opened 30-40 minutes before consumption.
As an aperitif, it is customary to serve vermouth, sherry or madeira before eating. The classic combination to white wines are seafood, low-fat fish and poultry. Reds are served with meat and mushrooms. Pink is usually combined with delicate snacks. Semi-sweet go well with vegetables and seafood, and semi-dry and dry wines are suitable for almost any dish. Sparkling as well as desserts are advised to combine with fruits, sweets, cookies, mild cheeses.
Before serving, any drink should be properly cooled. I must say, for each type of wine has its own correct temperature. For red varieties of a drink with a high content of tannins, room temperature is ideal, that is, 18-20 degrees. Red varieties with a low content of tannins love 14-16 degrees of heat. Before serving, white wines are cooled to 12-14 degrees, and sparkling wines are cooled to 6-7 degrees.
|Light cold appetizer||Bordeaux, Moselle|
|Spicy salads, meat snacks, ham, tongue||Vermouth, white natural|
|Oysters, Lobsters, Spiny Lobsters||Dry champagne, white sparkling|
|Hot snacks, snails, pate||Dry red sparkling|
|Turtle soup (wine is served only for exotic soups)||Sherry, Madeira|
|Fish sauce||Champagne, Sauternes, Riesling, Barzac|
|Fatty fish||Red burgundy|
|Hot meat dishes||Dry red|
|Game, dark meat||Bordeaux, Rhine|
|Liver||Sparkling, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Sauternes|
|Vegetables, mushrooms||Red table|
|Asparagus, artichoke||Dry White, Champagne, Muscatel, Rhine|
|Sweet dishes||Dessert, Muscat, Cahors|
|Fruit nuts||Dry sparkling wine, champagne, port, butcher, tokay|
|Ice cream sweets||Dry sparkling champagne|
How to choose the right quality wine
Many people mistakenly believe that the main criterion for choosing a good wine is its cost: the more expensive the product, the better it is. But in practice, this rule does not always work. And to buy good wine, you will have to pay attention not only to its price.
Where to buy
A truly good drink, as a rule, can only be bought in specialized stores or wine boutiques. In such places, not only a larger assortment, but also a guarantee that the wine bottles were stored in the correct conditions and in the correct position, subject to the optimum temperature. And these are the key points that affect the quality of the product.In addition, in specialized stores it is almost impossible to get fake, and consultants will always help you choose exactly the product that you need.
In which container
Today, in many stores you can see wines not only in glass bottles, but also in plastic, tin or cardboard containers. But if you want to buy a really good product, then forget about other options and choose only glass bottles. If you choose wine for culinary purposes, then a drink from a cardboard bag is quite suitable.
What should be on the label
The quality of wine can always be found on the label. No, you will not find inscriptions like "bad wine" or "good" on it. But on the quality they will definitely be indicated:
- producing country;
- chateau or wine house;
- drink class;
- Importer (including his current address and telephone number).
But there is an important point about the composition. Even in the best wines, not all producers indicate the grape varieties used for the product. And they do not do this just for the reason that sometimes in the composition there can be a lot of varieties of berries.
Many are sure that good wine should be corked exclusively with cork wood material. In fact this is not true. A plastic option can also be, especially since such plugs do not allow outside air into the bottle. The main thing is that it should be quality plastic, odorless.
What type of drink to choose
The main axiom of sommelier: you want to taste the taste of natural wine without impurities, then choose exclusively dry drinks. The production technology of sweet, semi-sweet, semi-dry and fortified wines, as a rule, is not very different. In all of these options there are impurities of alcohol and sugar.
How to deal with the price
And now it's time to talk about the price of a quality drink. Good wine is expensive, but its price may depend on various factors. For example, a good young man will be cheaper than a drink with a story. In addition, the wine region affects the value of the goods.
People knew about the healing properties of wine in ancient times. The Greeks used this drink to treat rheumatism and as an antiseptic, the Romans drank it to increase appetite, strengthen the body and improve sleep.
For many years, scientists have been exploring the beneficial and dangerous properties of wine, especially red. Although in recent years, it has been increasingly said that white and red wines have almost identical properties. Some attribute to this drink almost miraculous properties, while others, on the contrary, consider it dangerous to health. But still, many experts, independently from each other, make discoveries confirming the benefits of wine for human health. By the way, data from some studies indicate that people who consume wine are less susceptible to liver disease than lovers of other types of alcohol. And some scholars suggest that 2-3 glasses of red wine per week can be an excellent prevention of diabetes, stroke, seasonal colds and can even protect against acne and caries.
The vitamins, minerals, tannins contained in the drink strengthen the body and improve the functioning of almost all organs and systems.
Reduces the risk of depression and dementia
This conclusion was made by Spanish researchers, having studied the effect of wine on the organisms of 2,822 women and 2,683 men aged 55 to 80 years. Researchers observed participants in the experiment for 7 years, annually collecting data on their mental health and the amount of alcohol consumed. It turned out that people who drink from 2 to 7 glasses of wine a week are less likely to develop depression.
In addition, scientists have found that consuming moderate portions of wine improves blood flow to the brain and its functioning. It is believed that people who consume this noble drink are almost 23% less likely to be senile dementia than their peers who have never consumed wine.
Speaking of the brain. Experts believe that small portions of wine will benefit stroke survivors. And all because because of the consumption of this drink in the body, the concentration of hemoxygenase, an enzyme necessary to protect brain cells from damage, rises. And this is exactly what people need after a stroke.
According to British researchers, regular consumption of moderate servings of this drink can reduce the risk of bowel cancer by almost 50%, and researchers from the United States suggested that red wine prevents breast cancer in women and prostate in men. Dutch researchers also contributed to the study of the anti-cancer properties of wine. They found that a drink made from white grape varieties protects against lung cancer and is beneficial for smokers.
Improves the condition of blood vessels and heart
In the scientific world, it has long been said that small portions of wine, especially red, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A few glasses of drink per week contribute to the expansion of blood vessels and lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and prevent excessive platelet formation.
Slows down aging
Researchers at Harvard claim that wine has the ability to slow down the aging process in the body. Scientists explain this ability of the drink by the presence of the substance resveratrol contained in the peel of dark grape varieties. By the way, the same substance is found in all dark berries. In addition, scientists from London discovered procyanidin in red wine, which also has anti-aging properties. By the way, mankind knew about the anti-aging properties of wine more than a thousand years ago. And in the Middle Ages, it was assumed that monks live longer precisely thanks to the regular use of this drink.
Protects from sunburn
At first glance, this may seem strange, but it is. Spanish researchers have found that drinking wine reduces the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin. Scientists explain this phenomenon as follows. When UV rays come in contact with human skin, they activate free radicals, which as a result contribute to damage to skin cells. And flavonoids contained in wine inhibit the activity of free radicals, thereby protecting the skin from the harmful effects of sunlight.
Improves eye health
American experts after a series of experiments said that wine can protect against blindness. They believe this drink is useful in preventing diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
Harmful properties of wine
Although the wine is called a divine drink, in excessive portions it can be hazardous to health. Still, do not forget that any variety of this drink contains alcohol, and, as you know, in certain doses it acquires toxic and narcotic effects on the body. Drinking large amounts of wine can disrupt the central nervous system, cause stupor, and in some cases even coma. The regular use of even such a noble drink as wine can be addictive to alcohol. In addition, some researchers are confident that any alcohol increases the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Proponents of this theory are inclined to the idea that the statement about the benefits of wine for blood vessels and the heart is very exaggerated.
The benefits and harms of wine have been a topic of scientific debate for decades. But the truth is most likely somewhere in between. Wine is a noble and healthy drink, but on one condition: if not abused. By the way, British scientists have estimated that women should not drink more than 175 ml of 12 percent wine per day. For men, 250 ml of a drink with the same percentage of alcohol is considered safe.