Do you sometimes buy a bottle of wine and you cant even pronounce the brand name or know what half the names on the label mean?
If you are new to wine there are some facts that you need to know.
Wines have two names. One is the winemaker’s brand name while the other is the grape variety.
That’s why you have seen the following names on more than one wine Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc Merlot, Pinot Noir and zinfandel.
These names represent the grape varieties. Let me show you with this Angels Tears that I was sipping over the weekend.
The label says it all in terms of the varieties, the year and the region.
Winemakers also mix more than one variety of grapes and they sometimes give the ratio.
For example a wine may have 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. There are two types of grapes; black and white grapes. Black grapes are not necessarily black but they have blue, deep red and purplish hue.
White grapes are those with lighter shades like yellow, green and pale yellow.
Contrary to popular belief, any grape can make any wine. It is not true that white grapes make white wine and black/red grapes make red wine. What gives the wine its characteristic colour are the components of the wine.
The skins are left for longer in the winemaking process for the red wines.
The red wines are Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel while the white wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Winemakers can make white wine with red grapes because the juice is clear.
There are differences in the two. Red wines have tannins which come from the grape skins. The tannins go into the wine during the wine making process. Tannins provide a dry, puckery sensation in the mouth and in the back of the throat.
They preserve wines and this is why red wines can stay for longer. Do you notice sometimes when you sip wine that there is a dry taste and aftertaste especially as you swallow? Well those are the tannic tastes.
So, next time you go wine-shopping you will know what you are buying!