Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Most of what we eat and drink is in danger of becoming a mass-produced product, lacking any sense of place or individuality. Thank goodness therefore, for wines that change with each vintage and winemakers who truly believe in expressing terroir, as well as their own personality, in their wines. Unfortunately though, these individuals are in the minority and so are some of the world's more unusual, yet fascinating grape varieties.

What a shame it would be if growers in parts of Spain, for example, increasingly felt under pressure to grow non-Spanish varieties, in preference to Tempranillo. If the Portuguese shifted the emphasis towards international grapes and used a standard recipe in order to satisfy the marketers and accountants, would it matter? Do we care? Appreciating wine comes in many forms, but surely one of the great pleasures is to find the unusual, the unexpected and a flavor sensation that lives in the memory.

Buying a bottle from a conscientious grower, so proud of their product, can help safeguard their future and the war material that they have at their disposal. As more and more multinational companies flex their financial muscle in the world of wine, sadly we can expect to see more brands dominating shelf space and wine lists. On a positive note, wine tourism appears to be increasingly popular, bringing together the liquid in the glass and the culture, often interacting in some of the world's most stunning visual locations.

Some wine styles, for example aromatic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, are intense and lively on both the nose and palate. Expect to be able to identify lots of fruit and primary aromas. Wines that have matured or developed in the bottle may have a bouquet and flavors such as those associated with dried fruits (prunes, figs, etc.), along with savory nuances. Lurking among all this complexity there should still be hints of fruit. Some wines over a decade old (for example, German Riesling) will surprise you with their amazing vitality and youthful tones.

Lots of fuss can be generated when the virtues of a vintage are discussed and in some cases this is justified. As a generalization, if a wine is made from grapes growing in a cool or marginal climate, then vintages can matter. In warmer climates, where there is better consistency in weather patterns, the change affecting quality are far less significant.

Storage conditions are important if wine is to be kept for any length of time as the conditions affect how the wine ages. Put your wine rack in the best possible place in your home and you will know you are doing all you can for your wine.

When a recipe calls for white wine, what kinds do I use ?

There are so many grape varieties. The first rule of thumb: Never cook with a wine that you wouldn't drink. If it doesn't please you on its own, it won't when it's mixed other things too! A medium-dry white wine of any varietals should suit you for most purposes. Otherwise, try to use a wine that complements the taste balance of the dish in a subtle but not slavish way. If a dish features sour flavors, try a fruity wine with more residual sugar; if it features sweet flavors, use a drier, more acidic wine. If the wine will be reduced by simmering or boiling, then don't use one that is very tannic or very acidic to begin with, or the end result may be too astringent or sour. However, should this happen, adding a little salt can help curb the sourness.

White wine is great served at 13C with hot first courses, fish or poached seafood, or cooked with cream and with charcuterie. It's best to open the wine 1 or 2 hours before serving.

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  1. Champagne and Sparkling Wines

  2. Cooking with Wine

  3. How to Choose Wine for Food

  4. Shopping Tips for Wine

  5. Rose Wines

  6. Wines - Glossary and Reference

  7. Wine - Using Oak

  8. Wine - Vintage Ratings

Fortified Wines - Wines which have had extra alcohol added during their production. Sherry is fortified after the juice has fermented to the extent that all the sugar has been used up. In the case of port, fortification takes place during fermentation.

  1. Madeira

  2. Port

  3. Sherry

Grapes - Wine

  1. Chardonnay Grape Wine

  2. Chenin Blanc Grape Wine

  3. Different Types of White Grapes Wine

  4. Riesling Grape Wine

  5. Sauvignon Blanc

  6. Semillon Grape Wine

  7. Varieties and Characteristics of White Grapes Wine

Red Grapes - Wine

The right wine enhances the food, and the right food enhances the wine. Red wine tastes great at 15-16C with red grilled or roasted meat, with game birds and not-too-strong cheese. Although dessert is usually accompanied by port wine, you can have it with a sweet red wine too. Do whatever feels right and tastes right!

  1. Cabernet Franc Grapes Wine

  2. Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes Wine

  3. Different Types of Red Grapes Wine

  4. Different Varieties and Characteristics of Red Grapes Wine

  5. Merlot Grapes Wine

  6. Pinot Noir

  7. Syrah (Shiraz)

Wines by country - A quick glance at the shelves in a supermarket would make anyone think that wine was made all over the world. However, this is not the case as grapes require warmth and water in order to thrive. Of course, there are many other factors affecting the final quality of wine.

Different countries, and indeed different regions, have acquired reputations for certain types of wine. For years, France was regarded as the true home of quality wine but now Australian and Californian vintages are among the best regarded.

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Chile
  4. Germany
  5. Italy
  6. New Zealand
  7. South Africa
  8. Spain and Portugal Wines
  9. United States of America
  10. Uruguay

French Wines - French still sets the standards by which most of the world's finest wines are judged, but as far as store sales are concerned, Australian wines are rapidly moving into pole position.

In contrast though, pick up almost any international wine list in a restaurant and French wines still dominate. It will be fascinating to see if French wines can fight back over the next decade.


The system of Appellations d'Origine Contrôlées (AC) used in French - which defined the region in which a wine's grapes are grown, the varieties used and the manner of production - may have its restrictions but it is still the first piece of information many people look for on a label. Vin de Pays, the lowest category of French wine, does not follow strict AC rules, but today it can hold many a pleasant surprise and bargain for the wine lover.

  1. French Alsace Wines

  2. French Bordeaux Wines

  3. French Burgundy Wines

  4. French Champagne Wines

  5. French Languedoc Roussillon Provence Wines

  6. French Loire Valley Wines

  7. French Rhone Wines

  8. Understands French Wine's Label

Wine Racks

  1. How to Store Wines ?


  1. Roasted Mussels with Tomatoes, Basil and White Wine


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