Wine Appreciation

Classify wines according to type and recognize their distinguishing characteristics.

Learn about the grapes used to make wine, and the winemaking process.

Familiarize yourself with the world’s leading wine regions and the types of wine they produce.

Read and understand wine labels.

 

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© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedCHAPTER 6WINE APPRECIATION© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedClassify wines according to type and recognize their distinguishing characteristics.Learn about the grapes used to make wine, and the winemaking process.Familiarize yourself with the world’s leading wine regions and the types of wine they produce.Read and understand wine labels.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHIS CHAPTER WILL HELP YOUWINE IN THE UNITED STATES: A BRIEF HISTORY Winemaking is the process of fermenting the juices of ripe grapes. The chemical reactions in this process are as follows: Yeast converts the sugar found naturally in the fruit into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide (CO2) escapes into the air or is trapped in bottles to produce sparkling wines and Champagne, leaving the juice and alcohol behind to be stored, bottled, and eventually consumed. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedNo matter where a wine comes from, it is identified by a combination of these elements: The producer is most often a winery, but wines are also made by blending different types of grapes from many different small vineyards. The vintage is the year in which the grapes were picked and the winemaking process began for that particular bottle. The varietal is the type of grape used.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTYPES OF WINEThere are three different types of table wines: red, white, and rosé.A table wine is the term used by the Federal Standard of Identity for wines that have an alcohol content of “not in excess of 15 percent by volume.”A still wine is a wine that does not contain bubbles.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTYPES OF WINERed wines tend to be hearty, full-bodied, and nearly always dry. Their color can range from a deep crimson to purple to reddish-orange or rust, depending on the type of grape used and the age of the wine.The term dry means the wine lacks sweetness.Red wines are typically not refrigerated, but are served at a slightly cool temperature of 60°F to 65°F, or very lightly chilled.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED WINESThey are generally more delicate in flavor than reds, and they range in flavor from very dry to very sweet.White wines range in color from pale straw, to bright yellow, to gold. The sweetest white wines usually are made to be served as dessert or with desserts. White wines are always served chilled—a good temperature is between 50°F and 60°F.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE WINESROSÉ WINESThey are made from red grapes, but the juice is removed from the grape skins earlier, leaving less color in the liquid. Rosé wines are various, attractive shades of pale red, pink, or salmon, and they are sometimes referred to as blush wines. They also are usually not fermented as long, leaving some residual sugar. The result is a wine with a lighter, fruitier taste, more like a white than a red.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSparkling wines come in red, white, and blush. Sparkling wines are often referred to as “champagne.” Only wine from the Champagne region of France can truly be called Champagne.Most winemakers respect this designation, which is law in Europe and regulated by the ECC. However, there is no law governing this outside of Europe. Sparkling wines are also known as Sekt in Germany, Spumante or Prosecco in Italy, and Cava in Spain.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSPARKLING WINESWine that has extra alcohol or brandy added to it is known as fortifying the wine.The government does not allow the word fortified to be used on the label to prevent consumers from mistakenly thinking that it is of some health benefit. Most fortified wines have an alcohol content of 17 to 19 percent. The legal limit is 24 percent.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedFORTIFIED WINESFederal Standards of Identity divide fortified wines into two categories: Aperitifs are also aromatized, which means that they are flavored with aromatic herbs and spices. They are sipped before dinner to stimulate the appetite or aid digestion of the upcoming meal. The word aperitif comes from a Latin word meaning “to open.”© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTYPES OF WINEThe dessert wines are designed to end the meal.They are rich, sweet, and heavy, and imbibed in small quantities like liqueurs. There are also late harvest wines, usually white, made from grapes that have been allowed to over-ripen on the vines, almost to spoilage, for maximum sugar content. These wines are not fortified, but they are included in the dessert-wine category.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTYPES OF WINEIn Japan, sake is a beverage made from rice.The sake-making process has more in common with beer brewing as the grain is fermented with water, but the product often has the characteristics of a delicate white wine.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSAKEPremium sake products fall into two major categories: A small amount of additional alcohol is added to honjozo sakes to give them a smoother taste.Junmai is pure rice sake and is further classified according to the percentage of rice hull that is originally removed in the polishing process.A third category, futsu-shu, is the “house wine” category of inexpensive sake.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSAKE CATEGORIESDepending on the country in which it is made, this distilled spirit is labeled shochu (Japan), soju (Korea), or shaojiu (China).No matter what the spelling, the word means “burned liquor.”It can be made from rice, barley, soba, or buckwheat, and even from sweet potatoes, tapioca, or chestnuts.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSHOCHUThe grape contains the natural sugar, the fruit, the liquid, and the acidity that gives the wine its taste and balance. The tannins in red wine provide taste and longevity. The color of the wine comes from the grape’s skin.Different types of grapes exhibit different characteristics and, therefore, become different-tasting wines.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE GRAPESDuring the fermentation process, the red wine gets its tannin.In wine tannin comes from the skins and stems of the grapes, and it acts as a preservative that enables red wine to age without going stale. Tannin can taste bitter when the wine is young. But it mellows with age and is considered an important component of good, long-lasting red wine.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED WINEWhite grapes are fermented without their skins.They are lighter in color and flavor and lack the tannins of red wines. White wines can be made from red grapes, since the juice is separated from the skin: The color does not leech into the juice. Because the tannins are missing, however, white wines generally do not last as long (age as well) as red wines.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE WINECabernet Sauvignon is possibly the most important and widely planted grape varietal in the world. It produces the greatest red wines of Bordeaux and the best reds in both California and Australia.Cabernet Franc is a close relative but is better suited, and most often used, as a blending grape.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSThe great Burgundy wines of France are made from Pinot Noir.This grape is also used to make some of the world’s finest Champagnes and grows well in Oregon and California.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSMerlot is an important red grape in Bordeaux, Italy, and California.Zinfandel is a red grape grown almost exclusively in California.It can be used to make everything from sweet, pink, fruity White Zinfandels, to thick, dark, full-flavored reds.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSSyrah in France and California, and Shiraz in Australia. In France this intensely tannic, full-bodied wine is often blended with other grapes in such well-known wines as Hermitage and Cote Rotie. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSThe Grenache Noir produces an elegant, lightly colored wine.Gamay Beaujolais is the name of the light, fresh, and fruity red wine made from the Gamay grape. This wine was first produced in the Beaujolais region of France, but now California wineries make similar wines and call them either Gamay Beaujolais or Napa Gamay.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSMourvedre Was probably originally native to Spain, where it is also known as Monastrell. California wineries may call it Mataro. No matter what the moniker, this red grape produces sturdy wines that are most often used in blending.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSTempranillo is the main red wine grape of Spain.In the Tuscany area of Italy, the Sangiovese grape makes the well-known Chianti, a red wine with a slightly lighter color and earthy, sometimes strong, tannins.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSIn Italy’s Piedmont region the Nebbiolo grape is blended with others to make Barolo and Barbaresco wines.Lambrusco, a grape grown in Northern Italy that produces a very fruity, rather sweet red wine with a fizzy characteristic (in Italian, frizzante).© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSTwo very popular reds from South America now getting a lot of attention are:Carmenere from Chile, sometimes called “the lost Bordeaux” grape, brought in from France.Malbec from Argentina.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedRED GRAPE VARIETALSChardonnay can be grown almost anywhere and develops characteristics based on the soil and climate in which the vines are planted. It also adapts well to a variety of winemaking styles. The grape produces mostly dry wines of strong body and distinctive flavor.Chardonnay is the best-selling wine in California and is the base for all French Chablis wines, as well as the famous white Burgundies of France.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE GRAPE VARIETALSSauvignon Blanc:In France it is producing fruity wines of the Graves district, rich, golden Sauternes, and fresh, crisp Loire Valley whites called Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé .New Zealand is developing a reputation for its intense, acidic Sauvignon Blanc wines. In California a few wineries label their products Fumé Blanc.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE GRAPE VARIETALSSemillon makes a dry wine known for its rich fruit flavor. It is high in acidity when young, but it can mellow in the bottle with age.Viognier produces a lightly sweet, intensely fruity wine. Riesling is the fruity white grape used to make many German wines.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE GRAPE VARIETALSChenin Blanc grapes make tasty white wines, such as Vouvray, in the Loire Valley region of France. Gewurztraminer is the spicy white wine (actually pink grape) of the French Alsace region and parts of Germany. Albarino is an increasingly popular Spanish white grape.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE GRAPE VARIETALSPinot Blanc is a white grape grown in Alsace, northern Italy, and along the West Coast of the United States, in Washington, Oregon, and California.Pinot Grigio, grown primarily in Italy, France, and Oregon that is quickly increasing in popularity, is sometimes known simply as Pinot Gris. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWHITE GRAPE VARIETALSWHITE GRAPE VARIETALSMarsanne is a hardy white grape from Southern France.A Muscat grape can be either red or white, and the wines made from it, all over the world, are usually sweet. Müller-Thurgau is the most widely grown grape in Germany.You’ll find an alphabetical list of many of these grapes as Figure 6.1.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedFour factors combine to determine the character of an individual wineThe grapesThe climate and soil in a given locationThe weather in a given yearThe winemaker © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedHOW WINES ARE MADEThe grapes, no matter what their color, go through a crusher/stemmer that removes the stalks and breaks the skins. Then the grapes are pressed to extract their juices. The skins are discarded, and the juice, now called must, is channeled into a fermentation tank.For a red wine or a rosé, dark-skinned grapes are crushed, then both must and skins go into a fermentation tank. It is the red or black or purple skins that yield the color, as well as much of the character, of a red wine. For a rosé, the skins are left in the fermenting must briefly (12 to 24 hours), which is just long enough to achieve the color desired. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE WINEMAKING PROCESSFor any type of wine, before fermentation begins special strains of yeast are added. In some parts of the world, when the climate or the weather has not produced enough sugar in the grapes, extra sugar is added before fermentation begins. This is called chapitalization.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE WINEMAKING PROCESSIn the fermentation tank, the yeasts feed on the sugar and break it down.If the sugar has been completely consumed by the yeast, the wine is dry. If sugar remains, there is sweetness in the wine.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE WINEMAKING PROCESSEach wine is stored until residues (the lees) settle out and the wine stabilizes.Periodically the wine is drawn off the residues and placed in a fresh cask to settle further. This is known as racking. When the wine falls bright (becomes clear) it is moved to other vats or casks for maturing.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE WINEMAKING PROCESSCorks are pieces of bark from the suberin oak tree that grows mostly in Portugal and Spain (see Figure 6.3).In the mid-1990s several factors combined to send the wine world frantically looking for synthetic alternatives to cork.There were complaints that the overall quality of wine corks had deteriorated.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE GREAT CORK CONTROVERSYTHE GREAT CORK CONTROVERSYExperts and studies suggested from 1 to 12 percent of wines were contaminated by 2, 4, 6-Trichloroanisole (TCA).A harmless but smelly combination of mold, chlorine, and moisture that sometimes forms on natural cork, permeating the wine inside the bottle and tainting it with an off-putting, musty odor. When wine is referred to as corked, TCA is often the culprit.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSULFITESSulfur dioxide exists naturally in wines in small quantities as a by-product of fermentation. It protects wine from spoilage from contact with air, kills bacteria, inhibits “bad” yeasts while stimulating “good” yeasts, helps preserve aroma, purifies used barrels, and keeps the finished wine fresh and stable.The government requires the label statement “contains sulfites” on a wine label as a small percentage of the population have severe allergic reaction. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedTHE MAKING OF A SPARKLING WINETo make a sparkling wine, winemakers add yeast and sugar to still wine to prompt a second fermentation. This is done in closed containers, so that the CO2 produced cannot escape. In Methode Champenoise, refermentation is carried out in the heavy glass bottles in which the still wine was first bottled. In the Charmat or bulk process, refermentation is carried out in large, closed pressurized tanks. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedA varietal wine is one in which a single grape variety predominates.A generic wine is a U.S. wine of a broad general style or type, such as Burgundy or Chablis.Those that come in large size bottles, 1½ to 3 liters or even 4 liters, are sometimes called jug wines.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedHOW WINES ARE NAMEDHOW WINES ARE NAMEDA brand-name wine may be anything from an inexpensive blend to a very fine wine. A brand name, also called a proprietary name (in France, a monopole) is one that belongs exclusively to a vineyard or a shipper who produces and/or bottles the wine and takes responsibility for its quality.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedPLACE-OF-ORIGIN NAMESMany imported wines use their place of origin as the name on their label. The place of origin is usually a rigidly controlled area that produces superior wines of a certain character because of its special soil, climate, grapes, and production methods.Wines from such an area must meet stringent government regulations and standards of that nation in order to use the name.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedAVASIn recent decades in the United States, a system called Approved Viticultural Appellations (AVA) has been in force. Through this system, the names of unique vineyard areas are officially defined and their use is controlled.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM FRANCEThe phrase Appellation Controlee indicates that all of the government requirements have been met.In France the major wine producing regions are Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley (Côtes du Rhône), the Loire Valley, Champagne, and Alsace. A Bordeaux” is also referred to by the British term claret.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedBORDEAUX Classified growths, chateau wines that were recognized as the leaders as long ago as 1855 when Napoleon III ordered an official classification of French wines known as the first growths. Lafite-Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, and Haut-Brion are the most prestigious.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedBURGUNDYBurgundy are the classical reds made from the Pinot Noir grape in the Cote d’Or region. Burgundy vineyards are also classified for quality; by Grand Cru, which means “great growth.”© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES OF FRANCEOf the white wines of the Macon region, the best known in the United States is Pouilly-Fuissé.Chablis is pale, greenish, light, and very dry, with a taste described as “flinty.”Of the Loire Valley, the best known are Pouilly-Fumé, as well as Sancerre and Vouvray. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedThe Champagne district of France produces the sparkling white wine that bears its name.All French Champagnes are blends of wines. They are made from both white and dark grapes unless they are labeled Blanc de Blancs, literally, “white from whites.” A French Champagne carries a vintage date only if it is from an exceptionally good year. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedCHAMPAGNECHAMPAGNEA Champagne label indicates its degree of sweetness.Brut or Nature (the driest)Extra Sec (extra dry, which means that it contains a small amount of added sugar)Sec (dry, which actually indicates slight sweetness)Demi-Sec (semi-dry, which actually is quite sweet)Doux (very sweet)© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedMost of Italy’s quality wine production is governed by the DOC appellation system.This system recognizes and defines more than 200 types of Italian wine from specific geographic areas.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM ITALYSpain has its own wine appellation system, with more than 50 Denominacion deOrigen (DOs). Spain is the original home of sherry, a fortified wine made for centuries in the Jerez district using time-honored methods and strict controls.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM SPAINWINES FROM SPAINBy law, only three grape varietals may be used in making sherries. The palomino grape makes up the bulk of the bottle, with moscatel and/or Pedro Ximenez.Sherries are fermented dry and put into barrels, where they form a natural yeast called flor that is native to this area and helps give the wine its unique complexity.The various barrels are arranged in what is called a solera system.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSHERRY CATEGORIES FinoManzanillaAmontilladoOlorossoPalo Cartado Cream Sherry© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedCALIFORNIA AVA’SThe California wine country can be divided into five geographic regions North CoastCentral CoastCentral Valley Sierra FoothillsSouthern Coast© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedPIERCE’S DISEASEThe turn of the new century saw a major setback to the wine industry in the Southern Coast AVA.An infestation of Pierce’s Disease, a bacterium spread by a large, leaf-eating insect known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS). Chokes vines by preventing them from absorbing water and soil nutrients. Today, the Southern Coast wine industry is still recovering from this infestation, which killed at least 40 percent of the Temecula Valley vines.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights Reserved “GREEN” WINEMAKING TRENDSustainable winegrowing is defined as environmentally friendly, socially equitable, and economically feasible. It is a comprehensive program to protect the environment, encompassing hundreds of best management practices in the winery, vineyard,- and with neighbors.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedThe fact that Argentine land prices are relatively low has spurred foreign investment in its vineyards.The country also has some unique grape varietals: Malbec is the primary grape in top-quality reds, and Torrontes produces a sweet, aromatic white wine. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM ARGENTINAThe port makers, called port houses, harvest grapes annually, but declare their products vintage port only in years that they consider the best for long-term aging of the wine.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM PORTUGALThe prototype German wine for many years was a fruity but acidic white, light in body and low in alcohol which combined a pleasant sweetness with a naturally high level of crispness.Today there is a movement in Germany toward dry and somewhat dry wines. On the label, trocken means dry; halb-trocken means off-dry.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM GERMANYWINES FROM GERMANYThere are three basic categories in the system of quality classification and control:Tafelwein (table wine)Qualitatswein (QbA)Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP)© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedPRADIKATSThe five pradikats are listed in ascending order according to the natural sugar level of the grapes at harvest:KabinettSpatleseAusleseBeerenausleseTrockenbeerenauslese© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM GERMANYIn 2006, a new designation was added for wines that are dry in style. It is Grosse Gewachse (“great growth”), symbolized on the label by the initials GG.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM AUSTRALIAThe seven major wine-producing regions in Australia are further divided into sub-regions, for a total of 50 areas where wine is made. All except one of the major regions (Margaret River, in Southwest Australia) are located in the southeastern portion of the country.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM SOUTH AFRICAInstead of small, individual wineries, most of the grapes are grown by large cooperatives located in the southwest part of the country, near Cape Town. Red wines from South Africa include Cabernet, Syrah or Shiraz, and Pinotage, the latter from a grape that is native to the area.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM CHILEFor the most part, Chile grows the same varietals as the United States, including:Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Chile also has Carmenere, a rare varietal that was probably transplanted from Bordeaux.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM BRAZILThere are more than 1,000 wineries in BrazilVarietals include Cabernet, Merlot, and Chardonnay, and the country is known for sparkling wine production.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedWINES FROM CHINAThe country has been growing grapes for 6,000 years and making wine for 2,000 years. 90 percent of the wine consumed in China is made in China.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights ReservedSUMMING UPWine labels identify the producer, the year in which the grapes were picked (the vintage), and the percentage of alcohol. Wines are named for their grape varietal, given a generic name that signifies a blend of several different types of grapes, or labeled with the name of a prestigious producer.In some countries, a wine’s place of origin is used on the label; this might be a town or the winery name.© 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.All Rights Reserved

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