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Wine An Introduction by Joe Roberts cc 2008

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Agenda A brief history Some facts… What makes wine unique How wine is made Tasting Wine Storing and Serving Wine Sources (For more information…)

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A Brief History Wine is older than recorded history Oldest wine jars date from 5400-5000 B.C. (Univ. of Pennsylvania) Wild grapevines were first domesticated in the Caucasus Traceable history begins in 1100 B.C. with the ancient Phoenicians and Greeks Spread grape growing and wine making into Italy Wine was one of the only safe beverages to consume Charlemagne founded wine production in Germany 17th Century – invention of glass bottles allowed wine to be stored Helped establish “modern” production in Spain, Italy, and France Today, we refer to wine as from the “old world” (Western EU) and the “New World” (everywhere else!)

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Some Facts What country produces the most wine? Italy – 54,188 (Hectoliters, 000) What country consumes the most wine? Luxembourg – 70.36 litres per head of population) What country has the most vineyards? Spain – 1,180 (in 1,000 hectares) What is the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold? Chateau Lafite 1787 - sold at Christie's London in 1985 for $160,000 USD!

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What Makes Wine Unique Wine is basically fermented grape juice There are hundreds of natural and synthetic grape varietals that can be used (blended or on their own) to make wine Most are blends of 3 or fewer varietals The combination of several factors creates small changes in the chemical composition of the final product: micro-climate(s) and temperature harvesting and growing techniques Ripeness of grapes when picked Terroir – soil, rainfall, exposure to sunlight, wind, etc. These changes are perceptible to us in smell and taste. They make wine taste like more than just grape juice The combinations are practically limitless and are enhanced in combination with foods

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How Wine is Made Grapes are grown on the vine, usually grafted onto pest-resistant rootstocks Yields are harvested - but when to best do it depends on several factors rainfall, ripeness, temperature, & the whim of the winemaker(s)! stress on the vines to find water - lower yields, but better grapes (quality vs. quantity!) M.O.G. (Material Other than Grapes) are usually removed; grapes are crushed and juice (and skin if making red wine) are pressed into fermentation vessels Juice is pumped to holding tanks or oak barrels for ageing, and finally to the bottle

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Tasting Wine What to “look” for -- Distinct varietal character Does it taste like the grape and like grapes from the area where it was made? Integration Do the various components (acidity, tannins, alcohol) come together in a harmonious way? Expressiveness Are the aromas and flavors well-defined and clearly projected? Complexity Does the wine surprise you at every sip in a pleasant way? Can you grasp the surprises as part of a larger, pleasing pattern? Connectedness Does the flavor and aroma evoke a natural connection to the country and location of the wine’s origin, the style of wine, and the style of winemaking?

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Tasting Wine In general, wine tastes follow this pattern (based on the climate where the grapes are harvested):

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Tasting Wine Wine & Food – there are no hard & fast rules but these guidelines usually work: Lighter food with lighter wine, heavier meals with heavier wine Wine and food from the same country / region usually pair well Italian food + Italian wine American wine + grilled food Etc… Start with lighter, drier wine and move to heavier wine and finally sweet wine Experiment and have fun!

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Storing & Serving Wine Storage Wine is a living thing and will generally be happy if you store it on its side and avoid: Very dry air Very high or very cold temperatures Light and vibration Swift temperature changes (gradual are OK) Serving Serve white wine cold and red wine “cool” Swirl your glass to let in some air – this oxidizes the wine and greatly enhances flavor

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(Re) Sources The Wine Bible - Karen MacNeil Great Wine Made Simple – Andrea Immer The World Atlas of Wine – Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson

Summary: An introduction to Wine, from the dawn of history to the flavors in your glass - by the 1WineDude. Viva la Vino!

Tags: wine appreciation learning