We generally tend to think of wine as the ultimate point of sophistication. According to the Greeks and Romans, wine along with art and food were quintessential for good living, so who am I to argue. In my early wine experiences I often wondered how is wine made and how is it possible to have so many different wines. Wines in essence are grapes crushed into juice and slowly converted to alcohol through the addition of yeast. What happens is the sugars in the wine interact with the yeast and get converted to alcohol. I guess it stands to reason, the sweeter the grape, the higher the alcohol. There is lots of chemistry involved in this process which may be best explained by a chemistry professor which your lowly wine enthusiast isn’t able to. I am more concerned with the simple outcome of wine and its enjoyment rather than its intricate design and making at this point.
What gives each type of wine its unique profile is entirely dependent on the type of grape(s) or varietal (the term used by the wine connoisseurs) used to make it, where it grown and how it is grown. There are thousands of grape varietals that exist which I will simplify to the popular few you may typically see on your supermarket shelf, while perhaps oversimplify for the true wine connoisseur reading this column. We could broadly classify it into Reds, Whites and Sparklings.
The pronunciations are there for each so give it try. Say it a few times out loud just to allow it to flow off your tongue with ease. I said, a few times, so once more...There we go. Each wine has its own unique profile which will work best with specific foods.
By Jason Clarke
Gleaner Wine Contributor
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