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A Brief History of Wine
"Pinot needs constant care and attention, it can't thrive if neglected.” (Film Sideways)
‘Wine is an alcoholic beverage that is made by fermenting grapes or grape juice. Wine-like beverages can also be made from other fruits or from flowers, grains, and even honey.’ (Wikipedia.org encyclopedia online)
Wine, has been firmly established at the heart of civilization since ancient times. Wine is thought to have it’s origins in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. Among the first cultures to cultivate wine was the Egyptians, Greeks and Europeans. In ancient Egypt, wine played an important part in ceremonial life. ‘The ancient Greeks drank to the God Dionysus, in order to forgot about there worries a tradition they inherited by the Romans, who drank to their god Bacchus.’ (Wines of the World. Susan Keevil. Pg.15).
Wine, has been and is an important drink in religion. In Christianity for example, wine symbolizes Christ’s blood. The representation of wine as blood has Greek origins, pre-dating Christianity. Wine, as a blessing is part of the Jewish ritual.
One of Christ’s great miracles was turning water into wine at a wedding. (A great host indeed.)
In the 16th century, Europeans set out into the new world, there culture which included religion and their wines helped influenced other Countries to embrace this magical drink. Being clean and safer to drink than water, wine was consumed to great amounts. In France, a bottle of wine can be cheaper than a bottle of spring water even in modern times.
‘At the end of the 20th century the world had over 8 million hectares under vine and was producing nearly 300 million hectoliters of wine. Wine now, is now made virtually all over the world.’ (Wines of the World. Susan Keevil. Pg.10). However with that being said results may vary. Wine experts consider the best tasting wines, is from countries such as France, Italy and Spain. One of the worst tasting wines I ever tasted was wine from Bolivia in South America, the taste was too sweet. This may have to do with how wine is cultivated, and how the weather and climate affect the grapes in the vineyard.
Now we drink wine to Gods and Devils, The Romantic drink of choice for lovers, celebrations, formal occasions or no good occasions, to good and bad times and sometimes we drink wine for no other reason but to get elegantly wasted instead of just being “drunk” on Beer. Wine is a classy, timeless, tireless drink and it is hear to stay.
Three Wine Regions in France
France is arguably the most famous for cultivating wine in the world. France has a large selection of wine regions and vineyards; its warm Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal place to make wine.
One of France’s, great wine making district and most famous is Bordeaux, it is an empire with nearly ‘120,000 ha of vineyards producing 6.5 million hectoliters of wine a year, including many of the worlds most prestigious and expensive examples. Chateaux Margaux, Lafite, Haute- Brion, and Cheval Blanc, to name but a few, are the gilt-edged image of Bordeaux, but they are just the icing on a very large cake.’ (Bordeaux and Its Wines. Pg. 23. Robert Joseph)
For most, Bordeaux is about red wine and about 85% of its production is red wine. Three grape Varieties that are used to make wine in Bordeaux are Carbernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. My personal favorite wine from this region is the Haute-Brion.
Another, wine region in France is the Loire Valley, they have a lot of wonderful diversity in this region, they specialize in ‘Crisp, dry whites and good-value fizz to thirst quenching rose, light and food-friendly reds, and world-ranking sweet wines. The overall theme of wines from this region is one of harmony and easy drink ability.’ (Wines of the World. Pg.151 Susan Keevil.) Unlike the Bordeaux region, The Loire’s wines are majority white, 55% of the total volume while just 24% distribute red wine. The Others like Rose 14% and 7 % for sparkling wine. Two popular, grapes to make white wines in this region, are Melon de Bourgogne grapes and Sauvignon Blanc. While Cabernet Franc, is the red grape of choice of this region to make red wine.
One of my favorite wines from this region is the Cremant de Loire a sparkling white wine.
Another wine region in France is The Rhone Valley. Northern Rhone only grows one grape variety, that grape variety is called Syrah. Unlike the North Rhone, the wines of Southern Rhone are more full bodied warm wines. A, grape variety that grows here is the Greenache grapes. I do not have a personal favorite of this region as it is to the best of my knowledge that I never experiences wines from the Rhone Valley.
Preservatives in Wine
Wine, like most alcoholic beverages is not a natural drink. Long gone, our some of the simplistic ‘images’ that we have of cute white dressed school girls that are bare footed crushing on grapes on a sunny day. Wine is far more complex then that, Most Wine is made in laboratories with giant machines similar to beer making. Grape juice, not from concentrate can be a natural drink with nothing added no preservatives just from the grape vine to the glass. However, Wine on the other hand like all other alcoholic beverages is filled with chemicals and preservatives. Wine distributors; do not have to specify what ingredients or chemicals, additives or preservatives they use on the label of the bottle.
On the rare occasion, only a few alcoholic beverages ‘beers’ mostly and even more rare for wines, will simply say no preservatives added on the label. Usually speaking, preservatives and additives are not a good thing when added to food, as they are filled with chemicals and preservatives like MSG and BHT that are very bad for ones health. However with wine it is very important that one uses some preservatives as the longer wine is aged the better the taste. So, one must preserve the taste of wine by the aid of preservatives such as: Tartaric acid, Calcium Carbonate, Tannin, Pectinase enzyme, Bentonite and Potassium Sorbate. Tartaric acid (HOOC-CH (OH)-CH (OH)-COOH) is added in wine because it plays an important role chemically, and lowers the PH of fermenting any bad bacteria that could result in premature bad tasting. “Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) is added in wine to lower acidity.” (www.thehomebrewstore.com).
“Tannim, are present in wine stems and seeds and in the barrels used to age wines. Tannins can give a wine body; people sometimes describe these wines as “big.” When drunk young, high-tannin wines have a drying effect in your mouth. These wines can make it seem like your teeth have sweaters on them; the tannin is reacting with your saliva to create a compound that sticks to your teeth. Tannins are considered desirable in wines that are meant to be aged; over time, the tannins soften and add to the complexity of a well-aged red wine. For wines you intend to drink right away, too much tannin can be harsh.” (http://www.exploratorium.edu/wine/tannin_activity.html) Pectinase enzyme is used for fermentation using fruit (Grapes for wine) to break down the fruit cell wall structure and removing pectin. Bentonite sorbate is a fining agent that speeds clearing of wine by removing proteins that form pectin haze. While, Potassium Sorbate is used as a stabilizer also helps stop fermentation of the wine.
The Consequences of Alcohol
Drinking alcohol has been a large part of society for many years. People find that it is easier to meet people when they have had a few drinks. Drinking has also been used as way to get closer to some one. “We’ll talk over a six pack,” is something that people will say when they need to talk about something in western society. There are also many events that drinking has created. There are cozy bars “where everyone knows your name,” wine tasting parties, cocktail parties, and the high school favorite, house party. People have also used many different types of glasses to drink out of. There are too many different types of wine glasses to count, different types of cocktail glasses, and different beer mugs. All of them having a different purpose and make the drinking experience better.
However there are
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