From the editor: In Moscow, it’s hard to survive while always being sober. And neither crossfit fashion nor yoga sessions are able to replace a glass of good wine each Friday evening. And so we invited an experienced wine expert and taster to run a special alco-column on Moskvaer. Please, meet Kristina.
The rubric highlights a beautifully named “Wine Expert,” but I would like to dedicate this piece not only to wine, but also to other strong and light, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, with which our beloved planet is filled. As with the creation of any product of human activity, the production of alcoholic beverages is overgrown and covered with (fortunately not dust) a huge number of all kinds of myths. There are so many of them, as much as starfish in the four oceans, and, just like these starfish, they grow in number.
A big part of my job as a purchaser of wine and spirits is indeed the wine, so let me start with it.
Often, to feel the full enjoyment of the wine consumed, we need some more interesting knowledge about it. So firstly, let’s look at some important definitions and facts and analyze the etymology of the word “wine.” All this will help us to feel a bit like experts, and this, believe me, is a pleasure itself.
The all-famous grape is a descendant of the wild grape that was changed in the process of evolution and human activity. In the world, there are many different kinds of grapes, but not all of them can be used for making wine. Vitis is a grape type, which is widely used for the cultivation of grapes for wine production; the most famous of this group is the European vitis type–Vitis Vinifera.
The names of the grape are most often motivated by simple logic: for example, in French, the black variety is Noir, the silver-pink type called Gris, the white variety–Blanc. You can see the same parallels in other European languages: the color of the grape is often present in its name. The most common variety of wines (wines named for the grape variety) are: among the red–Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot; among whites–Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. On the scale of planting, the Spanish Airen grape variety, widespread in Spain, is predominant.
Grapes–are the first step in the production of wine. To become raw material for a good product, the vine must have all the necessary elements for growth, but at the same time feel somewhat cramped. Just as human beings. For example, in some regions a common technique is to limit water access to the vine grapes, creating a feeling of stress and thus limiting the growth of the green part, instead directing all efforts to improving the quality of berries.
Thus, grapes attract birds and animals that, in turn, have a known manner to distribute the seeds. Nature is tricky: if the plant is under stress, it is doing everything to improve the breed and not disappear into oblivion. Of course, stress can be different, and it is important to comply with the measure. The winegrower is a very fine profession that requires deep knowledge of the vine and wine production, and a sensitive intuition–for the analysis of the weather, soil and vines. So does the winegrower.
But what is the wine like?
Wine in the broadest sense is a drink with the drunken property. In a special definition, it is an alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of grape juice freshly, which takes place in accordance with the traditions of the region, in which fermentation takes place.
Fermentation of wort and of the mixture of crushed grapes is the initial formation period, originating from the time of crushing grapes before the onset of fermentation. Fermentation is one of the stages of winemaking, which includes the concept of the art of transforming grapes into wine. After all the complex processes there is a magic drink that has a huge palette of colors, smells and tastes.
The magic of word birth, as is well known, also overcomes the various stages of fermentation. Thus, the appearance of the word “wine” carries with it the history of the spread of wine. The English word “wine” comes from the Old English word “win”, which in turn comes from the Latin word “vinum”.
Latin language spread throughout Europe thanks to the Roman legionnaires. The word “Vinum” in Germany became known through all the same Romans who actually taught the Germans to drink wine. The Romans did much to spread their culture, part of which was wine. In German, the Latin word “vinum” converted to the word “wein”, and then have roamed in Slavic languages and became well-known to us as the word “wine”.
This brief excursion into the essence of wine is over, and it’s time to go for a tasting. During the controversial April days I advise to please the mind and body with red wines of Sicily, Chile or Burgundy–they, like spring itself, must be young and juicy, with an alcohol content of about 12-13 degrees. These wines combine perfectly with barbecue.
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