People have been making wine since the beginning of time. It is made from grapes through a process called fermentation. Bacteria in yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and turns it into ethanol, CO2 (carbon dioxide) and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts will produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the production process. Several countries have passed legal naming conventions to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the geographical origin, permitted varieties of grapes and other aspects of wine production.
The earliest known traces of wine are from Georgia (c. 6000 BC), Iran (c. 5000 BC), and Israel (c. 3500 BC). The earliest known winery is the 6,100-year-old Areni-1 winery in Armenia. Wine reached the Balkans by 4500 BC and was consumed and celebrated in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Wine has played a vital role in religion and society for all of recorded history across various cultures. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; Judaism also incorporates it in the Kiddush and Christianity in the Eucharist.
Categories of wine
There are 6 major categories of wine:
- Sparkling wines which have natural carbonation such as Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and the like, are mostly made of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Glera and Macabeo grapes.
- White wines are wines mostly made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Gewuertztraminer, Viognier grapes. Unlike the name, they are usually pale yellow to gold in color.
- Red wines. These are still wines mostly made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz/Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Malbec, Carmenere or often blended like in Bordeaux and Rhone valley.
- Rosé wines. Most rosé wines are blends of multiple grapes. Some of the most common grape varieties used in dry/European-style rosé are Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir.
- Sweet/dessert wines From Bordeaux’s renowned Sauternes to Moscato wine made in southern Italy, sweet wines are made and enjoyed all over the world.
Types of Sweet / Dessert Wines
White, red, and rosé, here are some of the most beloved sweet wine types and the regions they tend to come from:
Produced in Southern Italy, Moscato is made from the Muscat grape. A sweet, fruity wine with floral aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossom, Moscato may be still, frizzante, or sparkling. Moscato is also produced in a range of hues from white to red.
White Zinfandel is a sweet rosé wine made with red Zinfandel grapes. Like other rosé wines, White Zinfandel is produced by allowing grape juice a limited amount of skin contact time — red grape skins offer the white juice some color and tannic quality, resulting in a pink final product. The first rosé made from Zinfandel grapes is attributed to California's El Pinal Winery in 1869.
Germany’s most-grown white wine grape is Riesling, which creates wine exhibiting the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Sweet Rieslings typically offer heady aromas with notes of citrus and orchard fruit. Often, subtle petrol character can add a delightful counterpoint to the wine’s honey notes.
Port is a Portuguese fortified wine, which means distilled grape spirit is added to the wine mid-fermentation. The result is a beverage that’s higher in alcohol and residual sugar content than normal. Ruby Port is deep red in color, often fruit-forward, with a lush viscosity. When aged in barrels, however, port will gradually oxidize. The result is Tawny Port, which is lighter in color, featuring nutty character and notes of caramel. Because of their richness and sweetness, Ruby and Tawny Port are typically drunk after dinner as dessert wines.
France’s Sauternais region in Bordeaux is revered for producing a sweet white wine called Sauternes. Sauternes is made from grapes that have been affected by noble rot, also known as botrytis cinerea. Noble rot is a grey fungus cultivated by vintners on certain white grape varietals (in the case of Sauternes, the wine grapes Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle) in order to concentrate the fruit’s sugars and flavors. The result is a golden- to copper-colored wine that boasts notes of peaches, honey, and nuts and lands squarely on the sweet end of the wine sweetness chart.
What are the best wine brands?
There are fantastic wines all over the planet. Some of the best include the likes of:
- Concha y Toro
- Don Melchor
- Anna de Codorniu
- Vina Pomal
- Scala Dei
- La Vicalanda
- Castello di Albola
- Principa di Butera
- Chateau montlabert
- Chateau malbec
- Vina Maipo
- Casilero del Diabola
- Chateau de Goelane
- Maison Castel
- Grover Wines
- Marques de Casa Concha
- Durbanville Hills
- Fleur du Cap
- Table Mountain
- Two Oceans
- Frei Brothers
- Frank Land Estate
- Redwood Creek
- Bridlewood Estate
- Canyon Road
- Chateau Cavalier
- Luc Belair
Where can I find the best fine wine in Singapore?
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