Fun Facts about Wine
Did you know that wines are made of grapes, but not with the typical table grapes that are available in the supermarket? How about the benefits of drinking wine and the personality traits that you can guess through someone’s favorite wine? Or do you know what makes red and white wines different? If you didn’t, keep reading and you will appreciate wine more, and your friends will be amazed at how insightful you are about wine.
Who produces wine?
Wines can be found in every part of the continents in the world, where those produced in Western Europe and the Middle East are known as “Old World”, and others are called “New World” to refer those made in Americas, Australasia, Africa and Asia.
On the other hand, the biggest producers of wine in the world are France, Spain, Italy, United States (California), and China. Interestingly, although China is on the fifth place, it is the leading market for red wines. In addition to the flavor, the red color is deemed lucky in Chinese culture, and thus favored by the government.
Types of wine
Basically, there are three major types of wine, namely red, white and rosé. There are also the less popular ones, including orange and blue.
Each type of wine has different color as a result of the grape’s pigment known as anthocyanin that is found in the skins of red grapes. As the wine ages, the color becomes less intense that the older the wine, the paler and more translucent it gets.
What makes each type of wine different?
The color of the wine is determined by the contact that the grape juice has with the grape skins, that it also impacts the levels of tannins in the finished products. Thus, the longer the contact, the redder the color gets.
Because the color of wine is made from grape skins and not the juice, you can make a white wine out of red grapes by making the grape juice without contact with the grape skins.
Rosé, on the other hand, is produced similarly to other red wines, but the time it ferments with grape skins is shorter.
While for the orange wine, it is made by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the juice, resulting in a deep orange hue that is derived from lignin in the grape seeds.
For the blue wine, it includes a mix of white and red grapes mainly from France and Spain. To get the color blue, the producers add the dye indigotine and anthocyanin which is a pigment that naturally occurs in grape skins.
Pairing food with wine
When it comes to pairing in meals, heavier food goes along well with a heavier wine. Red wine is perfect for serving with red meat, while white wine is great with chicken or fish. When you want to pair wine with dessert, pick the sweet wine.
When you want to pair orange wines, try it with equally bold foods, such as curry dishes, Moroccan cuisine, Ethiopian cuisine, like Injera, Korean dishes with fermented kimchi, and traditional Japanese cuisine, including fermented soybeans like Natto. Orange wines are also great with various kinds of meats, ranging from beef to fish due to the high tannin and the nutty tartness it has.
For the blue one, try pairing it with sushi, although many don’t recommend it because the wine doesn’t taste well for them.
Benefits of drinking wine
Wine has no fat or cholesterol, so you shouldn’t be worried about its negative effects. Two recent studies concluded that polyphenols in wine that increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, boosting cognitive ability. Besides, grapes are known for the antioxidants it contains that it takes you 7 glasses of orange juice or 20 glasses of apple juice in order to get the same amount of antioxidants in wine.
As long as you drink red wine moderately, you reduce the risk of cancer while at the same time improving your longevity. Besides, it lowers your chances of having a stroke compared to nondrinkers. You can also lessen the chance of developing Type 2 of diabetes by 30%.
However, you need to take a note that not all red wines are the same, and some might be much better for you to consume than others. For example, Cabernet Sugvinon has more condensed tannins than Pinot Noir, but both have much less than Tannat, Petite Sirah, or Sagrantino. Here are some tips to pick the best one:
- Choose the dry red wines rather than sweet wines
- Red wines with lower alcohol, namely below 13% ABV are better than those with higher alcohol
- Red wines with higher tannin are more astringent and thus are better than low tannin wines
- For more health benefits, choose young red wines rather than the old ones although they taste better
Personality traits of wine drinkers
The survey of 2000 Americans aged 21+ concluded that wine drinkers were to be identified as adventurous, humble, and organized. They also are more likely to be early birds, listen to jazz and consider themselves to be “wine aficionados”.
Besides, the Commissioned by Coravin and conducted by OnePoll also found out that white wine drinkers were also more likely to be curious, sarcastic and perfectionists.
Here are some terminologies you might always hear or read and their meanings:
- Aeration : the mixture of oxygen into a wine to develop and balance its elements
- Appellation : the legally defined region from which the wine originates
- Astringent : the bitter, drying character of a wine with lots of tannin
- Blend : a wine made from more than one grape variety
- Body : the feel of a wine in your mouth, relating to weight and fullness
- Bouquet : the more nuanced aroma combinations detected in aged wines
- Bung/bung hole : The bung seals the bung hole, which is an opening in wine barrels used to add or remove wine
- Brix : the measurement of a grape’s sugar content when harvested.
- Claret : red wines from Bordeaux.
- Cuvée : you’ll see this on champagne bottles. It means the wine is a blend.
- Cooked : a wine that has been subjected to heat damage in storage.
- Dry : a flavour descriptor that refers to the effects of tannin on the palate in red wines, and a lack of sweetness in whites.
- Fining : the process of removing sediment from a wine with a fining agent.
- Fining agent : the material used to clarify a wine. Fish bladder, egg whites and clay are all examples of fining agents.
- Finish : the aftertaste of a wine.
- Lees : natural sediment that gathers during the fermentation process.
- Must : the juice that is gathered from wine grapes.
- Nose : the smell of a wine.
- Oenology : the study of wine.
- Oxidation : the process that occurs when wine is exposed to air.
- Plonk : bad-quality wine. To be avoided at all costs!
- Sommelier : a wine expert, usually with a certification.
- Terroir : the unique character of a vine’s surroundings, encapsulating climate, soil and topography.
- Vitis vinifera : the species of grapevine from which wine is made.
- Vintage : the year a wine’s grapes were picked.
A bottle of wine is more than just a beverage. It is a manifestation of history and science all at once. A bottle of wine is the perfect gift for almost any occasion. Pick your wine here, to have your own customized wine.