Food alone is good; wine alone is good; but food and wine together is heaven!

Wine Questions

Why is Wine Coloured?

White grapes can only produce white wines. However, many grapes have colourless central flesh and juice, but a red coloured skin. When red skinned grapes are crushed, the length of time that the skins remain in contact with the juice determines the amount of skin pigment that diffuses into the juice. If that period is very short, then white wine is produced from red grapes. A dark red wine is produced if this period of contact is for a long time and a rosé wine is produced if the skins are in contain for a mediume length of time.

What is the Best Temperature to Serve Wine?

Generally, serve white wines at lower temperatures than reds and serve younger wines at slighter lower temperatures than more mature wines. Higher temperature will bring out the aromatic scents of mature wines and reduce tannin and acidity. Lower temperatures will emphasise the light fruity aromas of delicate wines, but emphasise acidity and tannins.

  • Well aged red wine and sweet dessert wines: 18°C
  • Younger reds and beaujolais 14°C to 16°C
  • White wines: 12°C
  • Champagne and other sparkling white wines: 10°C

How Is Champagne Made With Bubbles?

Champagne is a sparkling white wine that is made in the Champagne region of north eastern France. Only champagne wine that is made in this region is permitted to be called 'Champagne'. The bubbles in champagne come from carbon dioxide dissolved within the wine and produced by a second fermentation within the bottle, after it has been closed. This second fermentation is caused by the addition of extra sugar and a small amount of special yeast, at the time the bottle is sealed. The method used was first described in 1662 by Christopher Merret, in a special method called 'méthode champenoise', another phrase that is reserved for use when describing only genuine Champagne.

Why Is Temperature Important for Champagne?

Because of the large amount of dissolved carbon dioxide, Champagne bottles are under considerable pressure, the standard required is 6 bars (i.e. 6 times the standard atmospheric pressure). The monk Dom Pérignon is credited with introducing the use of the wire cage around the cork to keep the cork in place against this pressure. The high pressure explains why it's so important to chill champagne to not more than 10°C before opening, otherwise much of a good bottle can be lost in an upward jet.

Which Foods Best Match Champagne?

The main benefit of the high pressure content of carbon dioxide is that the bubbles in champagne continue for so long in the glass. The pretty bubbles, rising in sparkling columns in a tall flute glass are a delightful greeting for arriving guests during the opening stage of any food and wine party. The dry, fruity charm of Champagne is a strong contrast with tasty food such as canapés, which are small, highly flavoured, salty bite-sized treats; a good example of food wine heaven.

What are Tannins in Food?

Tannins are substances that are found in many plants and are believed to protect the plant from attack by insects and bacteria. For example, many food items contain tannin, such as pomegranates, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes and tea. The tannins in black tea are responsible for the 'tart' or astringent flavour when brewed in hot water. Tannins are commonly found in the skin and stems of grapes in varying amounts.

Which Wines Have Tannins?

When wine must is left in more lengthy contact with the grape skins, then more tannins leach into the wine. Certain grape types are known to have more tannin than others, for example Cabernet Sauvignon is well known to be strongly 'tannic', whereas Merlot and the white grapes much less so. Tannins can also be incorporated into the wine from the oak barrels in which wine is aged, and this is especially true of new oak barrels.

Why Are Tannins Important to Wine?

Tannins are responsible for giving the finished young wine the dry, grainy, astringent, texture on the tongue, which is similar to drinking black tea. Tannins are beneficial for wine, because they play an important part in the ageing process by increasing the length of time that wine will keep. They are gradually incorporated into and precipitated from the wine and in this way the wine slowly improves with age by developing depth and complexity. The tannins can improve into a silky texture on the tongue that develops depth and complexity in the wine. This fine-grained silky tartness, together with moderate acidity, helps the wine to be matched with contrasting food such as red meat (lamb, beef, mutton), or dishes with creamy, rich sauces; another example of food wine heaven.

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