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Would You Like A Chardonnay Or A Cabernet? Wines Of The Season

From Nimbupanis recipe jar
11/30/2002

On the thanksgiving Thursday morning , I opened my morning newspaper and saw a curious looking plastic cover in my collection of shopping sales inserts. On ripping it open, I pulled out a shimmering golden bag, along with chocolate brown ribbon trimmings and on closer look discovered it to be a wine bottle cover -an advertisement for a certain Robert Mondavi wine collection. I am sure many of you may recall this and probably shoved it in your kitchen cabinet or may have got lost in the pile of recycled items. I certainly did keep mine since it seemed such a waste to throw it away. There are always ingenious ways of using a free item.

I am no connoisseur of wines but to many of us who occasionally enjoy the taste of it, I thought it a good idea to acquaint ourselves with some basics, myths and the conventional wisdom of wine. A few years ago, a simple red or white" would have sufficed to make a choice. But now when you are asked by a gracious host whether we would like Cabernet or Chardonnay with our dinner it is evident that there is more to it than meet the lips. The wine market has shifted towards varieties- wines made mostly from one grape type thatís listed on the label. Although most variety wines are generally considered better wines, there are huge differences in quality among them. Sometimes the least expensive wines are of excellent quality, some of the pricier ones are mediocre.

Wine Basics

There are four major types of wine: red, white, rosť (or blush), and champagne
On of the oldest rules in fine dining is to attempt to harmonize your choice of food and drink. To know the difference between red and white is part of the process. If you ask me, wine drinking is to choose something you enjoy. One of the main distinctions after red and white that is bandied about by wine drinkers is whether a particular drink is sweet or dry. Dry,in wine lingo is nothing more than the opposite of sweet. Among the red wines, the sweetest are Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet and Syrah and the Driest is the Merlot. Among the white wines Riesling, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and the Sauvignon Blanc are the sweetest with the Brut being the Driest.

A particular type of wine also has a relative weight, which refers to the amount of alcohol present in a given sample. The lightest among the red wines are the Merlot, Zinfandel, Chianti and the Pinot Noir and the heaviest is the cabernet. Among the white wines, Brut, Fume Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Reisling have less alcohol content with the Chardonnay the heaviest.

Which brings us to the next question Chardonnay or Cabernet ?

To get the best flavor from a bottle, rich white wines , including most Chardonnayís should be served cool, not chilled. Only lighter whites should be well chilled. Lighter reds like pinot noirs should be served cool. Only reds like Cabernets and Zinfandels are best served at room temperature. To serve, the simplest way is to have a set of wide, 8 ounce glasses for red wine and more slender, 6 ounce glasses for white wine.

There is a myth about wine, that refuses to wither, let alone die, which is that wine improves with age. One of wine most wonderful properties is that some of it is capable of evolving and improving with age. Wine asks to be kept quietly in a dark,cool.ideally damp place. Strong light can harm wine especially sparkling wine (champagne)

According to Theopompus the dark wine originated among the Chians and they first learned to plant and tend vines from Oenopion, son of DIONYSUS. (Athen. 1.26b) DIONYSUS was welcomed by Icarius, king of deme Icaria of Attica, who received from him a branch of a vine and learned the process of making wine. (Apollod. 3.14.7) The same author declares that the king of Calydon Oeneus was the first to receive a vine-plant from DIONYSUS (1.8.1)

Cheers and a toast for a Happy New Year !



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