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Wine is a type of alcoholic beverage made from fermented crushed grapes. The process of making wine can also be referred to as vinification. Yeast is used to consume the sugars found in the grapes thus converting it to alcohol. It is a technique that has been used for a long time. The different varieties of grapes and also the different strains of yeast are what is used to provide the different tastes of the wine.
Grapes come in different species but those that are used for making wine come from the Vitis vinifera species. They are relatively smaller to the usual grapes but have a shiny purple color on their surface. These require a very specific climate to thrive usually warm days and cold nights.
When grapes are harvested, they are taken to a winery which is the place where they are used to make wine. They are pressed and the juice derived from them collected. This is usually done using mechanical methods by machines although there are cases where treading is applied using feet especially traditionally. This juice is also known as 'must' and it is the sugar that it contains which is to be fermented. After this is done, sulfites are the added to the must to prevent it from attacks by any microorganisms.
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The next stage involves adding the yeast to the must which will facilitate the fermentation process along with lots of sugars which would help nourish the yeast. Sometimes tannic acid is also included to give the wine that sharp 'bite' taste. It is also necessary to dilute the mixture or add more acids in order to keep it at a given range of pH* that is favorable for fermentation to occur. Tap water is als used to provide a base for the must.
After all the ingredients are in place, primary fermentation begins by the must being heated up to about 21°C and left to ferment for about a week. Those are the ideal conditions in which the yeast would thrive by eating and growing. The yeast consumes sucrose that is contained in the sugars and thus breaking it down along with the large carbohydrates contained in the grapes. This would then form alcohol and other sugars. This is usually a bubbly and foamy biological process and therefore only the right yeast should be used for this.
After the first stage of fermentation is finished, the secondary stage would follow. This would involve the skimming of the liquid matter and some of the sediments off the surface of the must and transferring it to a different container. This new container is then sealed off from any kind of air for the process to commence. This process is referred to as the anaerobic phase because it does not involve air and it is necessary for alcohol to be produced. This could take several weeks and it would involve moving the wine from container to container in a bid to isolate the fine liquid matter from the solid sediments. This takes longer primarily because it is done at a slightly lower temperature than the initial phase of fermentation.
Finally, after weeks of fermentation and about a month or two of transferring between vessels, solids would finally sink to the bottom and are removed. The wine is then ready to be bottled for consumption. Wine would be barreled in case it has to undergo aging for a considerably long time. It could also be put into bottles for short time aging. White wine is usually aged for about half a year for it to be drinkable while red wine takes a year. Some of the best and most famous wines are aged for many years in oak barrels. This should not be done for too long as it may eventually turn into vinegar.
There are various types of classic varietals of wine. One of them is chardonnay which originated in Burgundy, France. It is usually more velvety or wider-bodied than many other dry white wines and has a rich citrus flavor. It is well known to be served with fish or chicken dishes and it can be sparkling or still.
Another one is merlot which is a classic red wine with a soft taste. Is has typical black-cherry and herbal flavors with a round texture, but it is not uncommon to find a middle palate gap. It is a type of wine which can almost be used with any dish pairing. It originated in Bordeaux but is now very common in the US and also in Australia.
Riesling is a white dry version which originated in the Rhine valley in Germany. It is sweet and at the same steely for a good balance. It has a lighter taste than the Chardonnay wines and is also tastes fresh. It can be served with fish, chicken or pork. They usually become very tasty with age.
We also have the Sauvignon Blanc which is a white wine that originated in Bordeaux. It has a herbal flavor characteristic that is reminiscent of freshly mown grass. The most dominant flavors include apple, pear and gooseberry. This wine requires a bright aroma and acidic finish. Some people think this wine has a smoky feeling which is mostly attributed to the way they age when barreled. It is served mostly with red meat dishes.
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The most versatile of all wines is probably the Zinfandel which makes anything from blush wine, also known as White Zinfandel to the richest heavy red wines. It has a rich zesty flavor with pepper or berry. It is found only in California and mostly served depending on its freshness with pizza, pastas as well as grilled meats.
Shiraz is a red wine that originated in France but is also now found in Australia and California. It has an aroma of blackcurrant and sometimes with overtones of pepper and roasting meat. It has grappling tannins and can be complemented with warm alcohol. Shiraz is a hearty and spicy red wine and one with the most intense flavors that lasts for a very long time. It can be paired with any meat products.
Many people consider the Cabernet Sauvignon to be best of all varieties of wines. Its rich taste is attributed to the special oak treatment that it undergoes. It originated in Germany but is now found in very many other parts of the world like France and Australia. It is full-bodied but very firm when still young. It can be served by any red meat products.
One of the best red wines is the Pinot Noir. It originated in Burgundy, France. It is rarely blended and has no roughness in its taste. It has a fresh delicate taste with very soft tannins. It comes with fruity aroma which includes cherry, strawberry. It can also be said to have a worn leather notes or damp earth. It can be served with sea food as well as chicken or mutton.
The Gewurztraminer is an aromatic variety that is ideal for sipping with grilled sausages as well as pork. It originated in Germany but is nowadays common in the US. It has a rose petal aroma, peach as well as allspice. It is a dry white wine which some people don't find very refreshing.
Lastly, we have the Sangiovese which originated in Italy. It is one of the best options for Mediterranean cuisines. It comes with a medium-bodied plum flavor or fresh berry.