An Introduction To Wine (Part 5): “Where It All Begins”

The third aspect where wine begins (the grape) is:

3. Tannin – is perhaps the most intellectually intriguing aspect of wine, especially red wine. It can significantly add to a wine’s greatness. To best understand the concept of tannin, think about the bitter, astringent (sour), taste of tea brewed too long. That same harshness can occur in wine as well. Just as in an overly-brewed cup of tea, more sugar, water or lemon does not help soften the bitterness of the tea. Only milk can render it tolerable.

Thus: the perfect pairing of wine and…cheese. Somewhere in time, a European villager realized that a hunk of cheese makes wine, especially cheap, red wine taste better. Cheese tempers the harshness of the tannin.

So…if you can only afford cheap, red wine and love to have parties, make sure to have plenty of cheese alongside!

Excessive tannin makes your mouth feel as if it has been sheathed in shrink-wrap, but an appropriate amount will not. When in harmony, tannin is “sensed” as the wine’s structure and backbone.

4. Fruitiness is just what the word suggests. This aspect is often found in young wines and rarely found in mature ones.

5. Sweetness and Dryness are aspects of wine that are often misunderstood. For example, many people say they prefer dry wines, even though the wines they commonly drink are Chardonnay, which actually contains a little bit of sweetness. So this aspects begs three “sticky” questions:

1. Can a wine be fruity and sweet? YES

2. Can a wine be fruity and dry? YES

3. Can a wine be sweet and dry? NO

Fruitiness and sweetness are two different things! Fruitiness means to display fruit-like aromas and flavors. Sweetness and dryness refers to the original sugar content of the grapes. If all (or most) of the sugar was converted to alcohol – the wine is dry. If only some of the sugar was converted to alcohol – the wine is said to be sweet.

It is important to note that sweetness must be balanced by acidity or the wine will taste like children’s cough syrup.

Tomorrow, did you know the Earth has her own erogenous zones?

One Response to “An Introduction To Wine (Part 5): “Where It All Begins””

  1. Randy, although I don't drink wine (or anything else alcoholic), I am enjoying your explanations. I love learning new things. I'm sure that participating with you in wine tasting would a treat. Thank you for explaining!

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