From first glance, wine is simply an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar, converts it to ethanol, CO2, and heat, and the next thing you know, you have wine!
However, there is clearly a lot more to this than a mere chemical process. Invented over 6000 years ago, it’s since been one of the favourite drinks of both kings and commoners all over the world. Playing an essential role in tens of different cultures and religions, it’s definitely become more than a mere alcohol beverage.
These days, there are thousands of thousands of red, white, rose, fruit, honey, starch based and other wines produced all across the globe. In the past century alone, we went from around ten wine types to well over a hundred!
What are wine grapes?
There are so many wine grapes out there it’s easy to lose count. By the way, did you now that wine grapes are actually different from table grapes? They are often smaller, sweeter and full of seeds.
What is “vintage?”
Due to the fact that wine grapes take an entire season to properly ripen, wine is only produced once a year. That’s where the term comes into place. “Vint” stands for “Winemaking” and “age” simply implies the year the wine was made.
When you see a vintage year on the label, that’s the year when the grapes were picked and made into wine. Note that the harvest season isn’t the same time for all countries. The winemakers in the northern hemisphere collect their harvest from August to September while those growing grapevines in the southern hemisphere’s harvest season from February to April.
What is single varietal wine?
Single varietal wines are made mainly from one type of grape. We say mainly because according to country specific laws, the percentage of grapes that need to be labelled single varietal has to be anywhere from 75% (USA, Chile, Australia) to 85% (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal). This means that a bottle of French Chardonnay has to be made of at least 85% Chardonnay grapes in order to be labelled as a varietal wine.
What is wine blend?
A wine blend means that a wine is made with a blend of various grapes. In fact, that’s the traditional way of making wine. Nowadays, there are many famous red and white blends that are produced in classic winemaking regions. One of the most notable is the world famous Bordeaux region of France.
After the wines are fermented, the blends are mixed together and that’s how you get a wine blend. If for example, grapes are blended and fermented together, it’s called a field blend, a well known example of which would be Port.
What are wine’s main facets?
First, acidity. On a PH scale, wine may range anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5.
Second, sweetness. Depending on the grape, age and fermentation process, wines’ sweetness can range from no sugar at all to sweet like honey.
Third, alcohol. On average, wines' alcohol content ranges from 10% to 15%.
Fourth, tannins. Found in red wines, tannins contribute to the astringent quality of the alcoholic drink.
Last, aroma compounds. That’s where you’ll likely find the complexities of wine’s aromas and flavours. The aromas will depend on the ageing and oxidation processes.
As you can see, wine may feel like a simple beverage, but it gets more complex the more you study it. The good thing is you don’t need to know a whole lot to appreciate it. Wine is just good.
If you are looking for a bottle, buy wine at ZYN in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or shop online!
As beautifully said by Robert Louis Stevenson: “Wine is bottled poetry.” We surely agree, so it’s a pleasure for us at ZYN Wine Market to present to you this huge library of liquid poetry.