If you plan to meet your boss on his 25th wedding anniversary or you want impress your girlfriend’s parents or you are planning to attend a house party whose hostess is said to be an avid wine connoisseur, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Gift that perfect bottle of Wine. Awesome, you are close to making the perfect first impression and you start your search to buy wine and here comes the real challenge, You just cannot decide which one to pick up. Reason – Simple, wine is not just another gift which you can buy online and get it delivered. If you do not have knowledge about it, DO NOT MAKE A MISTAKE to even pick it up because you can go completely wrong and spoil the whole show. From searching “which wine to pick” to the actual meet and greet and presenting the wine to your host or guest, if you make a single mistake you are doomed.
So first learn the basics and just like old wine you will indulge in this vast topic so much that you would love to explore more and more. Team Plattershare, is sharing the “Wine Knowledge” and everything you need to know about wine in this series, where we would present to you, different aspects of wine by one by one. We got Nabendu Saha, pen-named as the Indian Wine Geek who is Level 2 certified on wine from "Wine and spirits Education Trust, London”, to share his vast knowledge on this mysterious and elusive subject.
“Wine is one of the most important nature’s gift to human kind. Wine is simple and delicate, but can also be mysterious enough to develop as a subject of study. Wine is a living body and changes with time and conditions, sometimes one can even find something new from every sip in a glass of wine”, says Nabendu. So let’s start exploring and make you a wine enthusiast!
Wine - A Natural Beverage
Basically, there are two types of beverages. One is manmade and the other is nature-made or self-made. Wine is something which comes in the second category because while making wine, human intervention is least. All other beverages are manmade including your tea and coffee.
A simple metabolic process called fermentation where yeast eats the sugar source and converts it into alcohol results in the making of wine. The source is mainly fruit juices and among all fruit juices grapes are accepted with highest respect for its rich source of sugar and balance of acidity. Moreover a substance called tannin in the grape skins was found helpful to give structure and longevity to the beverage.
Wine and Beer Bear a Huge Difference
If you are the one who just says “Let’s get drunk”, then you probably believe that wine, beer, whisky and rest of the alcoholic drinks on the earth are just the same and serve just one purpose - to get high. Here is the basic difference between a glass of Wine and a mug of beer:
- In case of wine making the yeast comes naturally to outer grape skin when they are in the vineyard, So addition of yeast is not required but in case beer making yeast has to be added to carry out the process of fermentation
- Wine is made only from grapes whereas the sugar source in beer making comes from grain, and when you distil beer it becomes whisky.
(Wine) Knowledge is Power
You would have always faced this situation in any fine-dining restaurant where a number of wine-glasses are laid on your table and you have no clue what to do with them. So a bit of study is a must and here is why –
- Wine connects history, cultures and people from all over the world. Today most of the countries produce wine and it is just an endless journey of discovering traditions and taste.
- Wine has a great ability to enhance the qualities of your food. We have basically six taste patterns- sweet, salty, spicy, bitterly, umami and acidic and all of which can be paired with wine in multiple ways. Wine and food both have an effect of each other and its magical, extremely subjective to ones taste plate.
- A Glass of Wine has kept French and Italians young and happy for ages because it has a good amount of anti-ageing, cancer fighting and heart protecting substances. Wine is also helpful in lowering the glucose level in blood, protecting us from type 2 diabetes.
So Why not learn about it?
It’s time to explore (and explode) your senses
By now, hopefully you are completely convinced that you should have knowledge about wine, so let the journey of exploring your senses commence. It is impossible to learn about wine only through theoretical means.
One should start tasting the basic varietals first. The alphabet of wine can be learned by just understanding five red grapes and five white grapes only.
The 5 most important red grapes are
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
The five most important white grape varieties are
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Chenin Blanc
They all have some basic flavour profiles, like Cabernet Sauvignons are mostly leathery and dark chocolaty. Sauvignon Blanc wines are mostly grassy. A chardonnay wine from a cold region will reflect hints of green apple and peach and from tropical country like India will shows characters of banana, mango or watermelon.
Never judge a wine by its brand. The highest sold wines are not the best ones. They are just very easy drinking and fruity in style. A good wine has three basic qualities.
- A good wine is complex, means there is always something new to reveal.
- A good wine has to be balanced with all its flavours and taste profiles.
- A good wine has to speak clearly of its basic characteristics along with the climatic conditions and soil it came from.
Wine can be expensive sometimes, so it is always great to build a community where everyone can contribute and share each other’s views, you can also join an online wine club. After all wine is something which brings people together.
Stay tuned for more wine related topics coming up in the future. You can sign up on plattershare to get automatic alerts on new articles and posts from plattershare.
About the Author - Nebendu Saha is LEVEL 2 certified on wine from "Wine and spirits Education Trust,London" (WSET, London). He is a MBA in Human Resources and Marketing from Bangalore University and has 3 + years of experience in wine trade of India. He is a corporate Wine trainer with 100 hours + brand trainings for 4 Indian wine brands. You can follow and interact with Nabendu Saha on Plattershare as he conducts various Wine workshops or follow him on LinkedIn.
Team Plattershare thanks Nabendu for sharing his knowledge on Wine.