Archive for January 12th, 2010


Demystifying Wine

The Book of Genesis mentions Noah as the first to make wine. Throughout the ages, wine has become an intrinsic part of religious ceremonies, ritual meals, family celebrations, special occasions, romantic tête-à-tête, etc., all the while gladdening the heart and warming the soul.

During my childhood and teenage years growing up in Uruguay, I hardly ever  remember sitting down to our daily family lunch without a bottle of wine at the table. Around since mankind’s earliest days, it is one of the oldest potables still enjoyed in ever greater demand in the 21st century, but how many of us know what a good wine really is?

All the sniffing, swirling and spitting that the professional winetasters engage in isn’t done merely to show off, in fact these actions greatly enhance the appreciation of the wine. While precious few of us will ever become professionals at the taster’s art, most of us can increase our enjoyment of wine by learning a few simple facts.

Fill about one third of your wine glass, hold it up to the light. Is it clear or cloudy? Is there any sediment or other solid matter? If it is a red wine tilt the glass away from you against a white or light surface and look at the color of the liquid at the far end. Older wines start to fade at the rim, a deep red becomes brownish or a dull yellowish brown.

Next, swirl the glass (that’s the reason for merely filling it only one third of the way), make sure you get a vigorous wave circulating in the liquid; this will activate the aromatic compounds in the wine. Bend your head slightly forward, tilt the glass at a 45° angle, insert your nose a little into the cup and inhale for about 3 – 4 seconds. The scents a wine offers can change during the course of one sniff, you may need two or at most three sniffs to fully appreciate its aroma as it is quickly neutralized. Partake its bouquet…

Yes, you could roll the wine in your mouth just like the experts because they try to expose it to all the different taste sensitive parts of the tongue. At the tongue’s tip are the sweetness receptors, just a little back you’ll taste the saltiness. The sides of the tongue will tell you about the acidity or sourness while the back of the tongue will tell you of any bitterness. Yes, you could do that or you could just relax and sip…

In the following video John Cleese explains the mysteries of wine to the rest of us, non experts, who just want to enjoy it.

Barely a few years ago, kosher wines were of the extra sweet Concord, or extra sweet Malaga variety, almost exclusively, with an occasional sweet Tokay added to the mix; those days are now behind. Kosher wines come in a variety of grapes and mixes of grapes, they range from sweet to semi sweet, from semi dry to dry. There are many world class vintages that just happen to be kosher. They come in all prices and there is always something to suit your taste. Enjoy!


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January 2010


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