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
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.
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
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.