In keeping up with a feature I started on here in February I am trying to log a “term of the week.” It could be from anywhere, wine, beer or spirits. The hope is this will be a helpful feature making you all more and more familiar with the wide world of beverage alcohol. However I will be the first to admit this is not a unique idea. There are many blogs that have helpful definition sections, plus between apps and websites there are a copious number of ways in which you can get the definition you are seeking. But you came here. Plus the hope is I can provide definitions to terms you may not already know or have ever thought about. I also won’t be simply copying formal definitions from dictionary’s. I will try to provide descriptions that are helpful and easy to understand well also providing some insightful context. Enjoy.
Acidity: So this should be a pretty straight forward definition since acidity is exactly what you think it is. It’s the sour sensation you get in wine. It’s felt on your cheeks and it makes your mouth water. But what is it doing in wine and why do we want it there? First let’s clarify one thing right away. Acidity is not found only in white wines. Red wines actually have plenty of acidity too. Red wines from Northern Italy for example are loaded with acidity. It has bunch of purposes in everyday wines and is sought after in wine making all over the world. Take those Northern Italian wines again for example, acidity in wine helps cut through acidity in food. Tomatoes for example which are a staple of the aforementioned Italian cooking. It also helps cut through fatty and oily foods, which is why high acid white wines are a classic fairing with fatty fish. However one of the most important things acid does in wine is help with its aging potential. No not all wines are age worthy my friends. One of the things an expert will test for when determining how long a wine can sit is how much acidity it has. The acidity will mellow over time and blend with the other flavours to help the wine age and improve with time.
Champagne: In today’s feature I thought I would dive into one of the most well recognized, expensive, and notable wines in the world. Everyone has heard of Champagne whether you like wine or not. Hip hop artists have helped make Dom Perignon one of the most well established and popular alcoholic beverages around. So what is Champagne? Well to be precise Champagne is a region in the North of France. It so happens that the most famous sparkling wine happens to come from this region. Much like facial tissue is often simply referred to as Kleenex, sparkling wine is often incorrectly referred to as Champagne. Technically Champagne is nothing more than sparkling wine produced in this defined region of France. Despite the fact that sparkling wine is made the world over using the same methods as Champagne it can’t legally be referred to as anything but sparkling wine. What makes it so special? Well for starters it is very good wine and recognized as such by critics everywhere, so quality certainly counts. It’s also rich with history and wine making practices which have stood the test of time. Plus it has received some tremendous marketing support including the aforementioned fixation which exists in popular culture everywhere.
Here are some other fun/interesting facts about Champagne for your next dinner party:
– it is made with a blend of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties
– the world famous “Cognac” is a region in Champagne
– sparkling wine that declares it is made in the “traditional method” (often indicated on the label) are telling you it is made using the traditional Champagne production methods
Rose Wine: I have voiced my support of Rose wine on this site many times. I have also declared it the most misunderstood and under appreciated wine style out there. I still stand by both of those things. It’s not my favourite wine by any stretch of the imagination but it certainly has its place and in some cases can be a fabulous wine. Every summer the LCBO promotes Rose wine so if you walk through a store right now you will see more available than you may have previously, so I figured I would take a second to define it for you. The reason I think it is misunderstood is because people don’t understand what it actually is. Pink Zinfandel has given all Rose wine a bad reputation for being sweet, poor quality wine. Then others assume it is simply a blend of red and white wine, so those that enjoy big red wines will avoid it. Here’s the truth. Most Rose wine is red wine. It’s made with famous red wine grapes including many which make the biggest, heaviest, red wines in the world. A red wine gains its colour from the time the juice spends in contact with grape skins. It’s extracts colour from the skins. So when a rose wine is made they simply don’t leave it in contact with the skins for as long so it extracts less colour. Therefore instead of deep red, it remains some degree of pink. Of course there are other differences in the production process just as there are with all wines but this is the fundamental misunderstanding of Rose wine. Furthermore to dispel another myth, most are dry. Especially if you explore Rose wines from Europe, including France and Spain where many of the finest Roses are produced. So the next time you decide to avoid Rose wine because you don’t think it is “real” wine, think again and perhaps even give it a shot.