“ Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of unmodified grape juice. The natural chemical balance of grapes is such that they ferment completely without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes or other nutrients. Although other fruits like apples and berries can also be fermented, the resultant "wines" are normally named after the fruit (for example, apple wine or elderberry wine) and are generically known as fruit or country wine. Others, such as barley wine and rice wine (e.g. sake) are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer more than wine, while ginger wine is fortified with brandy. In these cases, the use of the term "wine" is a reference to the higher alcohol content, rather than production process. The commercial use of the English word "wine" (and its equivalent in other languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions. „
When reviewing red wine it really is hard to know where to start. There is so much scope on the subject and so much one could say about it. First of all though, what about my own history with the drink. Well I have been drinking red wine for around thirteen years. I started at about the age of eighteen years old. When I was a little younger I had been drinking white wine and I had no real taste for red, then I went on a family holiday to the south of France. Red wine was pretty much all the was to drink and so I started to drink the stuff. By the end of my two week holiday I was hooked and I started loosing my taste for white wine. Nowadays I don't really like white wine at all and I only drink red. So when it comes to red wine there are various different varieties you can get. It all depends on the grape that the wine is made from. There are also lots of different places that wine comes from. Some of the most popular tend to be California, Australia, South Africa and France. However you can buy wine from lots more countries such as Bulgaria, Italy, Peru and lots more. Basically anywhere that you can grow grapes you can buy wine from. Some of the more popular kinds of red wine include Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. These all have very different tastes and flavours. Merlot tends to be quite deep and mellow, Shiraz is usually quite sharp and bursting with flavour and Cabernet Sauvignon is more powerful with a long lasting taste. There are also other kinds of red you can get and these all have their unique flavours. You can also get mixed grape wine so maybe a Merlot Shiraz or a Cabernet Merlot. More often than not you find that red wine has a much stronger alcohol content that white wine. Usually red wine has a alcohol percentage ranging from 12% to 14%, sometimes it can be even stronger than this. If you are wondering how much to pay for a bottle of red this really depends upon what you want. For a decent bottle you would usually pay somewhere around the £8 mark, although you can get good bottles on offer from the supermarkets. If you want something a little more special there really is no limit on how much you can pay, some individual bottles can sell for thousands of pounds at a time. For me personally I tend to enjoy Shiraz wines. Some of my favourite would include Wolf Blass Yellow Label, Blossom Hill or Ernest & Julio Gallo. At the moment I've been drinking Yellow Label but I'm always happy to try new wines. I've never really been into French wine, I'm more into new world wine from places such as California and Australia. Overall there really is so much you can say about red wine. This is a drink that has so many varieties and flavours and there is lots of different bottles to try. I have been enjoying red for a good few years and will no doubt enjoy it for many more years in the future.
If you had asked me what I thought of red wine when I was 18 I would have replied with 'ugh! Tastes like vinegar! Hate it!', and though that would have been my opinion at the time, bear in mind my drinking habits at University were rarely bettered by WKD, pints of Carling and jelly vodka shots. I know a lot of younger people do drink red wine, but in my case, I think that my palete certainly needed to mature before I could appreciate it as a drink. By the time I'd left University and my hard drinking days, I was a committed gin and tonic and the occasional white wine and champagne drinker. Much improved, but I think it's only now I'm a 30 year old married mother that I can appreciate alcohol more for the flavour than it's intoxicating qualities. I think the turning point for me was having my daughter. Obviously as soon as I found I was expecting I quit drinking (not that, at that point I drank more than once a month or so), and as I breast fed for over 8 months I didn't touch another drop for almost two years in total. I found that I didn't miss it at all, and instead I missed foods such as pate or a good medium steak. So when I was able to eat and drink what I like, I found my palate had matured into a much rounder appreciation for good food and drink - quality over quantity if you like. I first tried a glass of red at my mother in laws, not sure if I'd like it, but I found it a full bodied and rich drink which was fruity and pleasant to drink - nothing like the vinegar memories of my former years. I won't say it was anything amazing - I think it was a Blossom Hill, but I like their white and rose wines so I guess it shows you don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy a glass of wine. Now I do say I am a red wine drinker, I'm not a huge appreciator of wines in terms of a vast knowledge of area of growth, precipitation and so on, but I do know how to choose a good wine, usually as a gift, as I rarely drink at home (with a toddler running around!). I do like to choose a good glass of red when I go out to restaurants, especially Italian ones, or when I am enjoying a steak or roast dinner. Of course, there are benefits from the occasional glass of red - antioxidants being a big word - but they key is moderation, there is a lot of sugar in red wine, and for me a glass or two a month is more than enough. Overall I do think that it was a personal change, a maturing of the palete, which really made me appreciate red wine, and if you're not a fan of it I'd say give it another go, with a good meal, or simply give it time. Not everyone is going to grow to love it, but I did, and I'm glad I did because the drinks I liked at 18 I now can't stand (and can't believe I ever drank!). Funny how things turn out.
So, I have taken a lot of you on a long journey through the world of red wine. Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you have found it useful. I intend to move on to white wines soon, but before I do, I want to finish off my little foray into red by giving you a brief selection of red wines, with which you can have a really effective little wine rack. I hope that it will allow you to have a wine for every occasion, without you having to break the bank. You see, more wines are mediocre than good, and I hope to save you the hassle of having to put up with the poorer efforts out there. In terms of red wine, I firmly believe that you can survive any situation, be it family dinner, or friends round for a glass, with only five different types. Now the amount of bottles you have will obviously depend on the number of people coming but these five types will stand you in good stead, whatever your plans. They are a pinot noir, a cabernet sauvignon, a merlot, a shiraz and a Beaujolais. I will take you through each, when to use them and give you a really good, inexpensive example of each. That should finish off our little look at red wine nicely, and lead me in to starting work on whites. Of course, no wine rack would be complete without white wine, but I will leave that to later reviews. ----------------------- the pinot noir---------------------- Black pine, fragrant and fresh. Floral in nature, and a delight for all the senses. Very versatile both in its delivery, and in its uses. Light to medium bodied, it is smooth and silky, yet still complex and full of various flavours. Ranges widely from fruity types, which have tastes of raspberry to cherry, right down to more earthy flavours in some cases. Known for its bouquet, the pinot will freshen up any table. Perfect for drinking on its own, but better with food. So if you have a few select guests around, then choose pinot if your planned meal contains any of the following. Lamb, pork or salmon, especially when they are cooked in a simple way. Can be overpowered by strong sauces, so a nice salmon fillet fried in olive oil, and placed on a bed of salad. Or a fillet of pork, with a light onion gravy. The complexity, and intensely fruity flavour of the wine will compliment it well. The bottle of choice for the beginner, is Nottage hill pinot noir. Retailing between £5.99, and £6.99 a bottle, its reasonable for a wine that is so soft and easy drinking. Finely delivered, soft tannins and intense cherry aroma. Spicy notes, and delectable oaky nature to the wine make it a true all-rounder. ----------------------the cabernet sauvignon------------ Now this one is bigger! Tannin rich, it is a full blooded, full bodied red. Not, perhaps for the faint hearted, cabernet is a powerful wine. Great depth to its flavour, and also to the aroma. Not In the same league, in terms of bouquet, as the pinot, but the wine itself is much more potent. First flavours include currant, and plum. If you taste a while longer, you can get undertones of blueberry, and quite often the oak with which it has been matured, Not for drinking on its own. It is a big taste, that need big tasting food to compliment it! Obvious choices are beef dishes of all types, but it also goes terrifically well with game dishes of any type. Can be used for chicken, if it is cooked in a spicy fashion, for example curry, or a salsa. The dry nature of the wine makes it next to useless as a party wine, and it needs food to make it work. You still may want to have a glass of water to hand at the meal too, though as it will not quench a thirst. There are many cabs about, and unfortunately a lot are very poor. One good one, however is wolf blass yellow label cabernet sauvignon. It retails at around £5.99 a bottle. Really strong notes of blackcurrant, with the occasional hint of mint. Lingers for a long time after you have swallowed, and is a heart warming wine. It will certainly cover any need you will have for a strong cabernet. --------------------the merlot---------------------------- This is the wine that is most likely to be enjoyed by all. It is medium to full bodied, and has enough there to captivate the expert, as well as being delivered simply enough for the beginner to be able to cope. A lot softer than the cabernet, you can detect blackberry, plum and currant. Further tasting allows you to detect a nice smooth vanilla flavour, in many cases. This is a very versatile little number. It can be drunk on its own, but like most medium to full bodied wines, it is made for food. The main simple rule is that your wine is never bigger than your food. So salads, and light fish dishes are out. It is great however with a plain type of beef dish. However, it is at its best with lamb and poultry. A great (and rediculously cheap.) little merlot, is cimarosa Chilean merlot. Available at LIDL for a little under £4 a bottle, it is on the bigger side of merlot. I find that the best merlots are coming from Chile. They are so much more potent, and intense in their flavour. So, if you don't mind your wines coming from a discount retailer, then pick up a few bottles. --------------------the shiraz--------------------------- Shiraz to some, but always syrah to me. Another medium bodied wine, and very versatile. But it is likely to be the strongest bottle in your armoury. Alcohol contents of 14 - 15% are common, but it is delivered in a very soft and manageable way. Often smoky, charred fruit flavours dominate, with spicy under tones. Again cherry, and currant come through, but there are a lot of subtle flavours in the mix. Often it has a slightly peppery taste, and is known to zing on the tongue. The spicy nature of the wine makes it great for spicy food. Mexican, Cajun or barbeque foods are great. It can easily cope with red meats also, but is better with poultry or seafood (especially in the presence of spices.). Can be drunk on its own, but I am coming to the perfect 'drinking' red wine in a moment. The wine here is the Jacob's creek 3 vines syrah Tempranillo. A mouthful to say, and even harder after you have drunk the bottle! Again, it around £6.99 a bottle. Blended with just a little cabernet, makes it fuller, and more complex. Typical in flavour, but with tones of blueberry, and vanilla. A great all round wine. -------------------the Beaujolais------------------------ Perhaps the most under-rated wine there is. When it is done well, it is a great wine for drinking on its own. The most fruity of all the wines, this one is light-bodied. This is one of the few wines that is made to be drunk, and not for food. It can be hard to detect the alcohol (but let me assure you, its there!), and has next to no tannin. If you have people round that have never tried the darker vine, then introduce them to this. The fruity, and light nature of this wine make it the drink of choice, if food is not involved. However, if it is, Beaujolais is the wine to choose with the lightest dishes. Light fish like sole, salads, pasta dishes are perfect. Again, remember that the strength, and body of the wine help you in the choice. Such a light and delicate wine, needs light and delicate food. Put this next to a steak, and be laughed at. Offer it up as accompaniment to a fresh crispy salad in the height of summer and be applauded. Try Tesco's finest Beaujolais villages. At £4.50 a bottle, its affordable. Light fruit flavours, and a taste that stays with you long after you have swallowed. Serve it slightly chilled. Normally a faux pas for reds, but this wine drinks like a white. Perfect for summer, as, unlike most reds it is excellent for quenching a thirst. So, there you have it. You can complete the red half of your wine rack for peanuts, and have all you need to cover all the bases. Just remember to justify your choice of bottle, based on the flavour of the food. Stronger foods, need stronger wines. And if all else fails, you can fall back on my notes!! See you all later, when I start into my favourite white wines. G
Kumala Zenith Vintage 2003 -------------------------------- Im sat in my lounge with my husband, sharing a bottle of Kumala Zenith Red Wine. Ive just poured the last two glasses and felt rather disappointed that there is none left. This is because it tastes lovely. Yes, thats the truth, so stop saying Its really because you are an alcoholic! We bought two bottles of this wine at TESCO for £3.99 each. I whipped them of the shelf really quick as they were on offer; reduced from £7.99. Thats right, they were HALF PRICE!!! I love a bargain, and what a bargain they were. 75cl and 14% Vol. the stronger the better, thats what I say; you might as well get your moneys-worth out of it! Both bottles were from the vintage 2003 grape. Kumala Zenith is actually a combination of three grapes; Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz (this is obviously what makes it taste so nice). It is a South African Wine (Western Cape) and is described in the following way on the label: Zenith red wine offers soft, fruity red berry flavours with a rich, lingering finish. Perfect for just relaxing and also an ideal accompaniment to red meat dishes, BBQs and rich pasta dishes. Enjoy in moderation. I can vouch for that description as being 100% spot on, apart for the last bit, Enjoy in moderation, yeah, right! Im going back to TESCO tomorrow to buy more while its on offer. I just hope you dont beat me there and empty the shelves!
I thought I would share with you one of the best red wines I have ever tasted. The wine in question is Da Luca Primitivo Merlot. The wine ********* Da Luca Primitivo Merlot to give it it?s full name is a full bodied red wine made from a combination of primitivo and merlot grapes both grown in the Salento peninsula in the south east of Italy. Before I tell you about the grapes, I would like to describe the Da Luca experience to you On removing the black synthetic cork from the bottle and putting the bottle to your nose a rich, slightly spicy aroma tinged with fruit greets you. When poured the wine is a beautiful rich deep red. The taste is truly a delight. It is very smooth and rich with a lovely hint of blackcurrant. This wine is not too dry and leaves no tannin after taste, something I dislike in many red wines. I should warn you to treat this wine with respect as it has an alcohol content of 14%. This wine goes well with roast meats, pasta dishes and cheese. The wine comes in a green glass bottle with a red top. The name Da Luca is written in white letters. Near the bottom of the bottle is a stylish white band with a gold circle containing the Italian flag. The grapes ********** The Primitivo grape is grown in the vineyards of Puglia in Southern Italy (the heel bit of the boot) and is a variety of the Californian Zinfandel grape. The vineyards thrive in this part of Italy, which is close to the sea and has very hot summers. The vines are hardy need little water and grow well in the stony soil of the area. The grapes ripen early and are harvested in August. They have a naturally high sugar content, which results in the high alcohol content of the wine. The merlot grape is grown all over the world, but is usually associated with France, (the name merlot means young blackbird in French). Most Italian merlot vineyards are situated in the northeast but the merlot grapes used in this wine are grown in the same region as the Primitivo grapes. It is the merlot grape that gives the wine its blackcurrant flavour. Merlot is often used as a blending grape and seems to blend well with the primitivo grape. More information *************** If I haven?t managed to convince you to try a bottle yet, let me tell you a bit about western wines the distributors of this wine. Western wines are based in Shropshire and have been distributing wines since 1980.They only associate themselves with good quality wines and at present distribute over 400 wines such as Kamala from South Africa, Some of Tesco finest and some from Marks and Spencer. Western wines were voted distributor of the year in 2002 by wine magazine. In a nutshell this company does not deal with cheap plonk! The wine is of course bottled in Italy by mgm Monda del vino Priocca . In 2003 this wine won a bronze (should have been gold) award from the international wine and spirit competition. Da Lucca can be bought from Waitrose, sainsburys, safeway and the co-op. I paid £4.99 for my bottles from Waitrose.I have not spotted this on offer yet and I have been buying it since the summer. The wine is suitable for vegetarians I forgot to mention that this wine has also been recommended by Malcolm Gluck.I really hope that I have persuaded you to try some, you won?t be sorry, unless you forget the high alcohol content that is-you have been warned!
Ernest & Julio Gallo Californian Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 750ml bottle 13.5 % alc.vol Imported by J Gallio Winery Europe in Middlesex. The Facts Ok guys, reach for the wine glass it is now known that red wine (when drunk in moderation) is good for you. Consider the French, they have the highest amount of fat in their diet than almost any other country, eat more beef, cheese, etc yet they have the lowest rate of heart disease, why? it is considered that the regular amount of red wine consumed to be the main factor. There are a number of health benefits to be considered regarding the consumption of red wine and cabernet sauvignon in particular, it has been noted that the lowest mortality rates are from those consuming 1 to 2 glasses a day, teetotallers and non-consumers coming out higher and of course those consuming more the worst, the word here is MODERATION. Another thought is that res found in grapes helps the body to fight of cancer forming cells this is of course still under experimentation, so pass the bottle please. The Wine Getting back to Ernest & Julio Gallo's little production, when I first started drinking red wine I must admit (a couple of year ago) cough cough, I stood in the off-licence in amazement at all the varieties, shapes, sizes, counties of origin, not knowing where to start, when the very helpful chappie behind the counter said "can I help you" well he didn't know what he had let himself in for. About an hour later and with two bottles in hand (one of them Gallo's Cabernet Sauvignon) I left the shop and I must say I was not disappointed. Its fruity, full-bodied, deffinatley hits the spot, slips down nice and smooth, delicous taste, not too fiery, curl up with a log fire, good film, book, one glass and I'm up for anything. It tastes very fruity, smells lighter than it tastes, goes with anything, although bett er suited to meat dishes, and is full bodied. (for non wine buffs, water would be non bodied and brandy would be very full bodied). Presentation A dark green bottle, filled with wine looks black with the darkness of the red, when poured in to a wine glass, a deep red warming colour. The label tells you all you need to know, 750ml with 13.5 alch vol, the year in this case is 2000 and the information on the back tells you a little about the wine and where it is produced. I brought this bottle from Tesco where at the moment it is £4,69 we had a bottle of this last week and the 2000 year vintage is extremely good, so I can predict another bottle or two next week at this rate.
Now, let it be known that I like red wine. I may have mentioned it once or twice before? I don't however consider myself to be wine expert/bore, just someone who has a real love of the stuff and likes to find out as much as possible about what I'm drinking, and maybe even advise others if asked. I won't however lecture people on what wine should be drunk with what food type. So this category is perfect for me. I can now rant and get it all out of my system, hopefully without boring the pants off anyone. This here is my guide to red wines and what the labels mean, and also a list of my recommended bottles, some of which I've already written a full opinion on, but also a few others, there is also a list of what I avoid drinking. What I hope to gain by this is...When I was first asked to choose the wine in a restaurant I was made to feel incredibly stupid and ignorant by the wine waiter, so I read up on the stuff so that I could order with confidence...this is where I pass the information on to you guys. Unlike most wine buffs I disagree with the white wine/red wine dilemma every time I cook a meal. I choose a red wine that I think will go well. None of this, you shouldn't have red with fish thing. Nonsense. A light red wine more than compliments a delicate meal. What I'm saying is - drink whatever you want with whatever you want! So here we go, sit tight, pour yourself a large glass of red wine (any excuse) and whatever you do, don’t stop till you're completely bored. There are now so many wines available on the market ranging in price from £2.00 to thousands of pounds. Now a £2.00 bottle of plonk is ideal to take to a party at a strangers house, but if it's a real treat for yourself then it's really worth spending a little bit more. The difference in quality and taste from a £3.00 bottle and £5.00-£6.00 bottle is huge, while the difference between a £8.00-£1 0.00 bottle and a £300.00 bottle can be completely unnoticeable! I once had the rankest bottle of wine that cost £280. So many countries produce wine these days, including the good old UK giving it a go, to varied success. But undoubtedly the finest producers of Red Wine are France, with Spain, Australia and California right behind them. Obviously there are other producers too from Italy, Corsica, Greece, Lebanon, Germany, Chile, Argentina etc. But I want to talk about the first three I mentioned, as these are probably the producers of some of my favourite wines. France. Where to start on this one? France is governed by so many rules when it comes to growing wine, naming, bottling, pretty much everything has a rule or regulation. There are different levels of grading for the wines. Here they are in their simplest form. The lowest of these is Vin de Table, after this comes Vin de Pays and then A.O.C. (Apellation d'Origine Controlee). All those wine snobs who scoff at Vin de Pays, well, some of them really aren't that bad. And they can be very exciting - if you get excited by this sort of thing! Vin de Table will only have the country of origin on the label, they are not allowed to show a vintage date, and most are sold under a brand name, i.e La Piat Dor. Vin de Pays come under the umbrella of Vin de Table but there is a big difference. They are made in specific places and to strict rules. Growers of Vin de Pays can use grapes varieties which are forbidden in AOC’s, Chardonnay is a good example of this – banned from the use in AOC wines, but can be used in Vin de Pays. Unlike Vin de Tables, Vin de Pay may label with the region/place where it was made and it can name the grapes used, something which AOC’s cannot. However, Vin de Pays are forbidden to use words like "Chateau" or "Clos" which are only allowed on the AOC’s. A OC is the most highly regarded of French wines, and therefore the one with the strictest rules. AOC's are areas making wine according to local criteria. There are more than 400 of these in existence. Once a an AOC has been defined, the rules are laid into place. Boundaries are drawn up around the area and unsuitable land is excluded, how much wine can be made, what grape varieties can be used, what strength the wine must reach/not exceed. The grape varieties allowed are those which were being grown when the AOC was decided by the Institut National des Appelations d'Origine. To give you an example, Rhone reds from Cornas must be 100% Syrah and Chateauneuf which is slightly further down the same valley, no fewer than 13 grape varieties can be used. Obviously this is an abridged account of the rules and regulations, to go into it any further would be far too dull and a little unnecessary! Spain Spanish wines are very different from French, and if I'm honest, a good Spanish wine is probably my favourite. I'm sat now drinking a bottle of Vina Albali Tinto Reserva 1995, which I picked up for £5.99 at Threshers, and it's gorgeous. Probably the most famous of Spanish wines is Rioja. This is made with the Tempranillo grape, which is the largest produced grape variety of the country. You can buy bottles of Tempranillo in most supermarkets and it's usually a little cheaper than the Rioja, but it can be just as good. Spain has four levels for the quality of its wine: Vino de Mesa is the basic, and is placed in the same category as the French Vin de Table. Vino de la tierra is "country wine" and would be placed at the same level as a Vin de Pays. Denomination de origen (DO) is the first quality wine category, comparable with the AOC wines of France. This is for wines that meet international standards for grape varieties, method of production and geographi cal origin. My £5.99 bottle of Vina Albali is labelled in this category. Denominacion de origen calificada is a higher category for wines which meet a specific criteria. The only wine so far that can be used as an example is Rioja. Australia. Australia comes under the New World Wines, this is because they are fairly new to us. Australian Wine only went international during the 1980's, hard to believe that before then we were forced to drink Blue Nun, Liebfraumilch, Matheus Rose and Black Tower at family dinners. Oh, the shame! The choice of Aussie wines is huge and I would imagine that it's probably the most popular wine purchased from Supermarkets and Offies. This is mainly due to the variety available, the quality and the reasonable prices. It's one of the big boys now. Now, I have been unable to find any information on levels of grading for Australian wine, but I do know this much: An agreement with the EC means that certain names will be/have been phased out. "Chablis", "Champagne", "Burgundy" and "Claret" are not allowed on labels. There are four main producers in Australia who make up 80% of the countries wine, they are (you may recognise some of these!); Southcorp (including Lindemans, Penfolds and Seppelt), BRL Hardy, Orlando and Mildara Blass. No producers have to reveal on the label the origins of the grapes, but if they do then 85% of the grapes used must come from that district. Also, they do not have to reveal what grapes were used, but if they do then 85% of the wine must be made from the named variety. If a mix of varieties or districts was used then they must be listed in order of importance. And there, for those who care, is a little bit of history from each of the the three countries. Now for the grape varieties themselves. I will only list the major grapes used in red wine. Syrah, this grape is grown in various countries but will only be called Syrah in France, you will see it as Shiraz on Australian wines. Has a spicy peppery taste and is often mixed with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon. Probably the biggest produced grape and is the foundation of a Bordeaux wine. It is often mixed with other grapes to improve it's flavour. Gamay. The grape used in Beaujolais, the only other country to grow it successfully outside of France is California. Merlot. This is another hugely popular grape. It is grown to be drunk young, not left to mature in it's bottle. Pomeral is the only exception to that rule! Often mixed with other varieties, it is very plummy in flavour. I like it mixed, but not a great fan of Merlot on it's own. Pinot Noir. Possibly equal to Tempranillo as far as I'm concerned. Hard to find nice Pinot Noir as it is notoriously hard to grow (apparently!) Tempranillo. The grape behind the fantastic Rioja of Spain. Cheap bottles can be nasty, but for £5.99 (see above) it's fantastic and full of flavour. Still here? Blimey, well done. So now for my tips on tasting. And don't worry, you don't have to spit - official tasters only spit in order to stay sober! This is one of those things that most people are so embarrassed to do in restaurants. Believe me though if you're spending £10.00 or more on a bottle of house red wine or more on something else from the wine list, take your time to make sure that it tastes okay. The waiter should hopefully pour a small amount into your glass. There should be plenty of space to swirl the wine around the glass. Swirling the glass releases the scent of the wine and the flavours. Take a sniff! Do you like what you smell? Next take a sip. Swirl it around your mouth to get a taste. This is called "Chewing" though I don't know why!? Swal low this and take another mouthful. Swirl it around in your mouth again and suck in a small amount of air through your teeth two or three times. This will release even more flavour and aroma. It may sound a bit poncey, but it takes a couple of seconds and if you're paying for it you should know that it's okay. Would you keep a video that cost you £13.99 if the tape was broken when you got it home? No, you'd want a replacement or a refund! Well, wine’s no different. Now, the important bit, how do know if there's something wrong with it? Here’s a few little tips. If your wine is oxidised then it will be browner than usual in colour and slightly sweet and sour, or caramelly in taste and smell. Send it back! Volatile wines have a really vinegary smell and taste and will be very sharp. Send it back! Reduced wine – this is caused by Hydrogen Sulphide and it will smell slightly eggy or rubbery and will taste the same. Give it straight back to the person who poured it! Corked wine. This will smell kind of damp and mouldy. The cork has reacted inside the bottle causing this to happen. Once again, give it back and ask for a replacement. Don't be bullied into paying for something that doesn't taste right. One thing that forgot to say originally, and was advised to say by the lovely Caro is this: You cannot send wine back simply because you don't like it. If you're not sure what wines should taste like then practice at home with a few different types. Get to know what they're like, make notes. This will also help you find the wines you do like and make ordering at a restaraunt easier, you will then have a rough idea what they should smell and taste like too and will find it easier to pick up and problems. My wine rack consists of about 70 bottles of wine at the moment and is forever being drunk and topped up. I will always try new wines by new or different producers and from different countries, but it will always contain bottles of the following: Hardy's Cabernet Shiraz Merlot (Australian) £8.49 a bottle Arriero Mendoza (Argentian) £5.49 a bottle Marthinus Merlot Ruby Cabernet (South African) £6.20 a bottle Villalta Temprinillo/Cabernet Sauvignon (Spanish) £5.40 a bottle Serret Oak Aged Merlot (French) £5.40 a bottle Les Planols Syrah (French) £5.50 a bottle Palacio de Monsalud (Spanish) £6.99 a bottle Domain Capicorsine Pinot Noir (French) £5.49 a bottle Andrew McPherson (Australian) £6.59 And what wouldn't I have? Well, wines I have tasted and hated include: Corvo (Italian) £13.00 a bottle in my localy Italian - this was sent back purely for being disgusting and tasting of vinegar. Mount Hope Merlot Cabernet (Australian) £6.20 Les Lauzeraies (French) £5.80 Other than that there are so many wines to be tried and tested, each slightly different. It really shouldn't be seen as a snob thing any more as it's so widely available. I started off buying a bottle a month that I wouldn't touch and built it up from there. Your tastes will probably be different to mine, but I hope I've given some pointers in what to look for. And if you got here – well done, pour yourself another glass of wine!
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of unmodified grape juice. The natural chemical balance of grapes is such that they ferment completely without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes or other nutrients. Although other fruits like apples and berries can also be fermented, the resultant wines are normally named after the fruit (for example, apple wine or elderberry wine) and are generically known as fruit or country wine. Others, such as barley wine and rice wine (e.g. sake) are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer more than wine, while ginger wine is fortified with brandy. In these cases, the use of the term wine is a reference to the higher alcohol content, rather than production process. The commercial use of the English word wine (and its equivalent in other languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions.