“Wine … changing even as we taste it, delivers a message with meaning only in our response. If we are in the right key when we receive it, our eyes will shine and we shall radiate pleasure” – GERALD ASHER,
Wine lovers, we can drink wine all we want, share wine with friends and family, actually, do as we please with wine in our daily lives. This can make it rather easy to focus on just drinking this ‘precious liquid’, when in actual fact, so much more can be taken into consideration, before, during and after that sip.
Often we hear wine words being thrown around, varietals, unwooded, old world etc, let’s take a moment to pause, take a deep breath and understand a number of terms used in the world of wine. The next time you open your wine of choice, perhaps, several questions you’ve pondered on while enjoying your glass will have been answered.
This encompasses the fine art of looking after wine. I am an advocate for ‘buy wine and drink it,’ but if you have to store it, be sure you’re storing the right wine.
If, however for one good reason or another, the collector in you insists on buying more than required, and remaining bottles have to be stored, it is important to store them correctly to reduce any chance of spoiling your precious collection.
Don’t worry you don’t have to build a cellar. A dark cupboard in a part of the house with cool temperatures, minimal interference and good air circulation will suffice. Screw cap wines can be stored upright and corked wines are best stored on their sides to enable air and wine contact with the cork. What’s most preferable is to store the wines guided by their respective storage information to curb any possibility of keeping wines for too long.
Thanks to a dynamic world and innovative solutions, we even have wine storage refrigerators to make life easier for people like you and me.
Wooded vs Unwooded wines.
As wine lovers, we often hear these two terms used back and forth in the ‘world of wine’, and it’s worth a glass or two knowing.
Different types of oak to include, but not limited to French and American are used to mature wines adding structure, flavour, depth and bringing out the tannins in the wine.
Wood is used in barrel maturation in red wines and at times, white wines, the most common being Chardonnay. Whereas, unwooded is synonymous with stainless-steel fermented wines, commonly white wines where interaction with wood is totally excluded. This gives us all our fresh and lively white wines always a pleasure to drink young.
Old World vs New World Wines
It’s easy to ignore these two terms used consistently in detailed descriptions of wines and yet, they form an important aspect in your wine journey, and you’ll shortly understand why.
Old world wines define the wines from countries where the tradition of wine began. These include France, Spain, Portugual, Italy, Germany, in fact, to sum it up, Europe. Many of the wines from these countries are made to keep for long periods of time. So, when that collector in you, is pushed by an act of impulse, be sure to collect those wines that are made to keep for longer.
New world, is, put simply, the countries other than those in Europe and were colonies. Countries include South Africa, North America, South American wine growers, New Zealand and Australia. These wines make for good drinking when young, and where wines can be kept for longer, a maximum number of years will be indicated. Characteristics in Old World and New World wines are distinct such that comparing the same varietals will definitely put a twist to your next wine lovers wine club.
Over and above a wine label being information to tell you specifics relating to the liquid in the bottle, it serves as the broader way in which you can understand the wine. The country, the alcohol content, the vintage or whether it’s a non-vintage, the wine farm, who has made it, what food you can eat with it and the grape variety are some tidbits of information you’re guaranteed on finding on the label. This information will serve as an educational tool for the wine lover in you and provide you with information on the wine you have chosen to increase and augment your appreciation in wine.
Yes, wine lovers, drinking wine with understanding gives the inner you sheer pleasure that will drive you to a deeper level of understanding for bottles to follow. Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, and think deeply on the glass of wine in your hand. Welcome to wine incorporated and a wine cheer to your life and wine.
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About the writer:
Lebbie is a qualified passion-filled Wine Consultant who spends quality time with wine through travel, study, wine chat and of course sipping on wines.
? DID YOU KNOW?
The United States of America is the largest new world wine producer. (OIV data, 2018)