“Thank You” are the Most Powerful Words

Two of the most powerful words in the English language for bringing about change, grape adventurers, are “thank you.” Especially when offered before the change even occurs and everything still looks pretty much like it did yesterday. 

You’ll have to think of something to say afterwards on your own. 



Colours of Wine

Well, believe it or not, there is something interesting about wine colour here.

The best way to get an idea of the colour of the wine is to hold the glass of wine in front of a white background, such as a napkin or tablecloth.

Colour tells you a lot about the wine. In case of white wine, a darker (or richer) colour may tell you the wine is order, because white wine gains colour with age. Or it may indicate the wine was aged in wood, which also adds colour. As a general rule, I say that if you can see through a red wine, it’s ready to drink.

The colour of both red and white wines is also influenced by the grape variety. For whites, chardonnay usually gives a deeper colour than does Sauvignon Blanc. For red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is usually darker than, say, Pinot Noir.

When teaching about wine, I always begin by pouring a glass of wine and asking what colour the wine is. It’s not unusual to hear some describe the wine as pale yellow green; others call it gold. Everyone begins with the same wine, but colour perceptions vary. There are no right or wrong answers, because perception is subjective.

So, Grape Adventurers, hope you get better knowledge of wine after this post. i will post another four steps of tasting wines in the following few days.


Making White Bordeaux

In the last decades of the twentieth century, winemaking changed considerably in bordeaux. For white wine, the changes were monumental. Great white wine, more fragile and less structured than red, is extremely sensitive to every element of its creation: the precise moment of the harvest, the conditions under which the grapes are picked, the length of time the juice is in contact with the skins, the temperature at which the wine is fermented, and crucially, whether or not the wine is fermented and aged in small oak barrels.

In Bordeaux, wide-spread changes in these methods have resulted in fresher, creamier, richer, more deeply flavoured white wines.


How much do the ranking matter?

How much should you care about a wine’s classification? Before tacking that question, let me point out that for most of us it would be a waste of time and brain space to memorise all of the rankings of Bordeaux wines. This is the kind of wine information that can and should be looked up whenever you are curious. and besides, no one (at least i hope no one) comes home from work and says, ‘honey, I’m in the mood for a third growth with dinner tonight.’

nonetheless the classifications can be helpful as a very general guide to quality. A majority of the First and second growth wines can be truly extraordinary. Part of the reason for this is the price those wines command. Clearly, chateaux with strong cash flows can afford to keep their vineyards and equipment in top form, as well as attract the best professional talent.

But there are countless wines that, today, are either better or worse than when they were first ranked, and many very good Bordeaux were never part of any official classification at all. The prime example is chateaux Petrus, one of the most expensive Bordeaux of all, but not classified because it is a Pomerol.

In the end, rankings and ratings are fragile and temporal things. They tend to close the door on wine experience rather than open it, narrow the sphere of pleasure instead of expand it. Rankings, in other words, are no substitute for the best evaluation method of all- tasting.

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On Making Sweet Wine

How does a wine come to be sweet enough to be dessert in itself? The process starts with grapes that are very high in sugar because they were:

1. Picked after the regular harvest when their sugar content is very high;

2.Picked, laid out on mats, and allowed to raisin ate, thereby concentrating their sugar;

3.Permitted to freeze on the vine (as in eiswein) so that water can be separated from the sugary juice;

4. Attacked by the fungus Botrytis cinerea (the noble rot of French Sauternes), which consumes some of the water in the grapes and helps more to evaporate, again concentrating the sugar.

All of these processes are extremely risky- animals may eat the sweet grapes. The grapes may be attacked by unfavourable moods or diseases, weather may destroy the grapes before the crop can be picked, and so on. Moreover, each of these processes is very labor intensive. Sweet wines, as a result, are almost universally rare and expensive.

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Gooseberries and Cat Pee

Gooseberries and- yes, you read it right- cat pee are terms commonly used by wine experts to describe, usually favourably, the aromas and flavours of doe Sauvignon Blancs, especially those from the Loire.

Gooseberries are tart green berries that grow all over northern Europe (but rarely in the United States). Cat pee is, well cat pee; when used in the context of Sauvignon Blanc, the term usually refers to a strident, wild, tangy smell.



White Zinfandel

For decades, Zinfandel was the most widely planted red grape in California until cabernet sauvignon surpassed it in 1998. Now number two in acreage, zinfandel is a chameleon. It can be made into everything form white wine to sweet port style wine.

But the zinfandel knowledgable wine drinkers rave about- true zinfandel- is a mouth filling dry red wine crammed with jammy blackberry, boysenberry,and plummy fruit. Made in this traditional style it can be thick, chewy, and notorious for staining one’s teeth the colour of cherry Kool-aid.

Until 1972 zinfandel was always a hearty, rustic red wine. But in that year, the large California winery Sutter Home made the first white zinfandel- actually light pink- by quickly removing zinfandel;s red skins before much colour was imparted to the wine. Today white zinfandel outsells true red zinfandel. Yet, because it is often slightly sweet and almost always mass produced from less than top-quality grapes, white zinfandel is considered a beginner’s wine by serious wine drinkers.

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Bordeaux Vintages and the question of readiness

Wine drinkers worry more about the vintages and readiness of Bordeaux than of any other wine, with the possible exception of burgundy.

Is such great concern warranted? In Bordeaux itself, chateaux owners often feel that Americans are rash and hyper judgemental concerning vintages. Further, they suggest that this tendency causes us to miss out on many delicious wines since vintages and wines not given immediate high marks tend not to be imported.

Generally, the tighter and more structured the wine when young, the more slowly it will evolve. Since most top Bordeaux are very structured wines, they usually take at least eight to ten years of ageing before beginning to soften and show more complex nuances.

In the end, perhaps the best way to gauge readiness is philosophically. A wine is ready when you can’t bear to wait for it any longer.

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Does glass really matter?

Can a simple glass make a wine smell and taste better or worse? The world’s top winemakers- from Bordeaux to the Napa Valley to Vienna- are convinced that it can. They are equally convinced that the wineglasses of choice are Riedel (rhymes with needles).

A tenth generation Austrian firm, Riedel is considered one of the finest crystal works companies in the world. The firm’s wineglasses are not simply beautiful but actually engineered so that certain components in the wine are emphasised on the tongued, thereby bringing out the best in the wine’s flavour. Skeptics remain so only until they experience the revelatory Riedel glass test in which the same wine is tasted from a standard glass and a Riedel glass. Not only do many leading winemakers use Riedel glasses for their tastings, but the glasses are increasingly found in the most expensive restaurants in Paris, London, and Rome.

Not so in Austria. There, it’s impossible to find a winery or restaurant (no matter how humble) that does use Riedel Glasses.


The Classic Whites- Chardonnay


For several decades, chardonnay has been one of the most successful white wines in the world. The wine’s appealing big flavours- vanilla, butter, butterscotch, buttered toast, custard, green apple, tropical fruit, lemon, pineapple- are matched by equally effusive textures- creamy, lush, and full-bodied. (I sometimes think of chardonnay as Marilyn Monroe.)

To be truly great and to work well with food, chardonnay must taste like the fruit from which it came and must have a good core of acidity. Just as a cream sauce is supposed to complement the flavour of a vegetable, not disguise it, so too, the flavour of oak should be the seasoning, not the main dish.