Wine for Orthodox Jews must be kosher, meaning it must not be touched at any point in its process (from picking of the grapes to bottling it) by either a “Gentile” or non-observant Jew and it must contain only kosher ingredients.
The combination of soil type, climate, degree of slope, and exposure to the sun constitutes the terroir of a vineyard and what makes each vineyard and each wine unique.
In the Middle Ages, the greatest and most innovative winemakers of the day were monastic orders. The Cistercians and Benedictines were particularly apt winemakers, and they are said to have actually tasted the earth to discover how the soil changed from place to place. Their findings are still important today.
Wineskins were a common way to transport wine in the ancient world. Animal skins (usually pig) were cleaned and tanned and turned inside out so that the hairy side was in contact with the wine.
It is traditional to first serve lighter wines and then move to heavier wines
Serving temperatures should be lower for white (45-50 degrees Fahrenheit) than for red wines (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit).
The prohibitionists, or the “drys,” in the early twentieth century fought to remove any mention of wine from school and college texts, including Greek and Roman literature. They also sought to remove medicinal wines from the United States Pharmacopoeia and to prove that Biblical praises of wine were for non-fermented grape juice.
The vintage year isn’t necessarily the year wine is bottled, because some wines may not be bottled the same year the grapes are picked. Typically, a vintage wine is a product of a single year’s harvest. A non-vintage wine is a blend of wines from two or more years.
There is a right and wrong way to hold a wine glass. Wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not the bowl because the heat of the hand will
Champagne, one of the world’s greatest sparkling wines, is popularly but erroneously thought to have been invented by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715). Although he did not invent or discover champagne, he founded many principles and processes in its production that are still in use today. And he purportedly declared upon drinking the bubbly beverage, “I am drinking stars.”
Noble rot, or pourriture noble, is a benign type of grape fungus that can actually sweeten some types of wine.
Not all wines improve with time. In fact, a vast majority of wines produced are ready to drink and do not have much potential for aging. Only a rare few will last longer than a decade.
A “dumb” wine refers to the lack of odor in a wine, though it may develop a pleasing odor in the future. Many Cabernet-Sauvignons, for example, are considered “dumb.” A “numb” wine, on the other hand, has no odor and no potential of developing a pleasing odor
European wines are named after their geographic locations (e.g., Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot and Bordeaux) while non-European wines (e.g., Pinot Noir and Merlot) are named after different grape varieties.
A feminine wine is a wine that is more delicate than most. A masculine wine refers to a “big” or “full” wine.
Contrary to traditional belief, smelling the cork reveals little about the wine. Instead, if a server or sommelier hands you a cork, you should look for the date and other identifying information (inexpensive wine won’t have these features). Additionally, look for mold, drying, cracking, or breaks in the cork.
A wine that has a musty smell, similar to wet cardboard or mold, may mean that the bottle is “corked” (the bottle has a contaminated cork).
In 1988, Italian women started one of the first female organizations devoted to wine, the Le Donne del Vino. Its goal is to encourage and promote women’s role in the Italian wine industry.
Women are more susceptible to the effects of wine than
Besides churches and monasteries, two other great medieval institutions derived much of their income from wine: hospitals and universities. The most famous medieval wine-endowed hospital (now a museum) is the beautiful Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, France.
At the center of Greek social and intellectual life was the symposium, which literally means, “drinking together.” Indeed, the symposium reflects Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion.
When Tutankhamon’s tomb was opened in 1922, the wine jars buried with him were labeled with the year, the name of the winemaker, and comments such as “very good wine.” The labels were so specific that they could actually meet modern wine label laws of several countries.
One ton of grapes makes about 60 cases of wine, or 720 bottles. One bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes.
Greece is the only country in the world that has perpetuated up to the
Traditionally, wine was never stored standing up. Keeping the wine on its side kept the wine in contact with the cork, thereby preventing the cork from drying, shrinking, and letting in air. However, wine can be stored vertically if the bottle has an artificial cork.
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