Wine 101: A Beginners Guide To Wine

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The French and the Italians have the best cuisines in the world—and they complement it with the best wine from the cellar. A brilliant red wine or a golden white wine, diners fully appreciate the meal with a glass of either wines. The tannin, aroma, and texture of the wines heighten or balance the flavor of the food, that is why each course may be partnered with a particular wine. Whether the wine is dry or sweet, there’s always a perfect partner for each bottle from the menu.

Wine, as defined in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is “the fermented juice of the grape. Of the grape genus Vitis, one species, V. vinifera (often erroneously called the European grape), is used almost exclusively. Beverages produced from V. labrusca, the native American grape, and from other grape species are also considered wines. When other fruits are fermented to produce a kind of wine, the name of the fruit is included, as in the terms peach wine and blackberry wine.”

The red wine is made from darker colored grapes, which give it a range of hues—from plum or violet to dark red and light red. The skins lend these wonderful colors that identify the red wine. Examples of red wines include the light bodied Beaujolais Nouveau (a young red wine), the medium-bodied Merlot, Chianti or Shiraz, and the full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Red meats are usually paired with the red wines.

The white wine, meanwhile, is made from grape varietals that have green, yellow or gold skins. While not technically white per se, the white wine has a beautiful light golden color that gradates from dark to light. Examples of the white wine include Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc. Seafood is most often paired with white wine although modern “rules” recommend otherwise.

There are also the pink wines, popularly known as the rosé (blush or rosado), which are made from red grape varietals. The rosé has a subtler flavor profile compared to the brilliant reds and is most often drank as a picnic wine. A refreshing glass indeed. Other wines include the Champagne and its coterie of sparkling wines.

While wine is often partnered with food, chefs have also turned to fine wine when cooking and baking. It adds a flavor dimension to coq au vin and sauces as well as cakes and desserts.

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