Friday, June 24, 2011

What you didn't know about wines

Posted By Sayoni Sinha, Thursday 23 June 2011 1:14 PM IST

You have always wondered if your red wine would go well with tandoori chicken and if storing it after uncorking the bottle is a good idea. Craig Wedge, renowned wine connoisseur who is visiting at Renaissance Hotel, Mumbai bursts some myths.

Excerpts from the interview:

Why are so many red wines oak-aged?

Oak maturation happens in red wine 95% of the time and there is no partiality when it comes to country, region or variety of red grape.  It is a tool of the wine maker, and the key influences of oak such as colour, flavour, tannins and the texture of the wine, are dependent upon the winemakers use of the oak and the coveted finished product. I further suggest a distinction between the term maturation and aging. Term maturation used for the changes during bulk storage (oak Barrel) and aging used for the changes during bottle storage. 

What’s the difference between 'New World' and 'Old World'

Old World wine refers primarily to wine made in Europe but can also include other regions of the Mediterranean basin with long histories of winemaking such as North Africa and the Near East. The phrase is often used in contrast to "New World wine" which refers primarily to wines from New World wine regions such as the United States, Australia, South America and South Africa.
Also read: What you need to know about cocktails

How long will the wine keep after it is opened? 
Wine should be consumed within 3 -4 days after the bottle has been opened. Once a bottle of wine is opened, the oxygen in the air starts a process that initially softens the flavours and opens up the aromas of the wine. As this process (oxidation) continues over many hours and days, the wine is ultimately made undrinkable. 

What kind of wines improve with age?  

The ability of a wine to age is influenced by many factors including grape variety, vintage, viticulture practices, wine region and winemaking style. The condition that the wine is kept in after bottling can also influence how well a wine ages and may require significant time and financial investment. 
As a general rule of thumb, the following is the ideal guide.
Chardonnay (2–6 yrs)
Riesling (2–30 yrs)
Cabernet Sauvignon (4–20 yrs)
Merlot (2–10 yrs)
Barolo (4–20 yrs)
Chianti Classico (2–8 yrs)
Syrah (4–16 yrs)
Classified Bordeaux (8–25 yrs)
Grand Cru Burgundy (8–25 yrs)

Drinking wine has often been equated to an art. What is the right way of savouring it?
I am of the school of thought that there is no art to drinking wine.  I would probably classify that as the snob value which has no place in my world! I would suggest that there should be more an appreciation of what’s in the glass. The aroma, the flavour, the heart and soul of the winemaker and all of those wonderful little nuances that fill each and every glass are very much worth considering and subsequently appreciating..

Which wine goes best with Indian food?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food and wine marriage. I would suggest keeping your eyes and ears open and always be flexible when it comes to trying new things. As a great starting place, I would suggest for whites a Chenin Blanc from India’s newest sensation Fratelli Wines, or a Chardonnay from Chile’s Vina Caliterra. As far as reds go, the MTB Malbec from the Argentine producer Costaflores is a fabulous accompaniment to a spicy curry.

Does wine taste different depending on the glass it's served in?

Indeed it does. The shape and volume of the bowl, the width of the opening, the weight of the glass and the edge of the rim, all have an impact on the aroma profile and flavour components and the subsequent overall perception of the variety of wine being drunk. 

What food goes best with red and white wine respectively?

The days of red wine with meat and white with fish have happily disappeared. The gloves are off so to speak and the world of food and wine is waiting. Try everything with anything. Sometimes it will work, other times it will fail miserably, but I have to tell you that it is the journey that is important, not the destination. And It can be so much fun.

Why do some wines give you a headache?  
There are several factors that can contribute to this situation. Obviously I am going to state that it is because you have drunken way too much to start with. Sometimes poor quality or cheap wine has a crude alcohol content which contributes to those whopping headaches.Some people are even susceptible due to difference in growing regions, but more likely than not the biggest culprit is a sensitivity to histamines.       
What does it mean when a wine is sweet or dry?
Dry and Sweet wines are determined by the level of residual sugar left in wine after it has fermented. Other factors such as acidity, tannins and alcohol will affect the perception of what is sweet and what is dry.

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