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A. Sulphites are organic compounds that occur naturally in grapes and many other fruits and vegetables. But sulphur dioxide is also added to wine as an anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial agent to prevent the wine from going off. The levels are extremely low, but some winemakers are trying to avoid adding extra sulphur dioxide, though this does run the risk of wines spoiling more quickly.
A. As a general "rule of thumb": *Red wine, 17 degrees Celsius. *White & rosé wine, 12 degrees Celsius *Sparkling wines, 7 degrees Celsius. To get to those temperatures reds can normally just be kept in a cool cellar or cupboard. This is also called "cellar temperature." Whites and rosés can be put in the fridge for a few hours, and the sparkling wines a little while longer. It is actually easier to use an ice bucket though. Fill the bucket up with ice about 4/5ths, cover the ice with water. If the "room" temperature of your reds are over 17 degrees, immerse them for five minutes; whites and rosés for ten minutes; and sparkling for fifteen to twenty minutes.
A. Today many conscientious wine producers are making every effort to minimise the use of chemicals in their vineyards. In France they call this "lutte raisonée" broadly translated as a rational fight against the problems of insects, weeds and fungus. This involves monitoring pest levels and only spraying when necessary. Organic viticulture is different. The regulations are strict and limit producers to using only naturally occurring products for pest control.
A. There is growing scientific evidence that regular moderate consumption of wine is good for you. Red wine in particular is said to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The cholesterol that blocks arteries is low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LPD). This is cleared from the blood by high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HPD). Both are carried in the blood. Moderate alcohol consumption produces a better balance of the two. In addition, alcohol has an anticoagulant effect which makes blood less likely to clot. There is also evidence that wine can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or having a stroke.
A. A glass of dry red or white wine has approximately 110 calories. Sweeter wine with residual sugar as well as alcohol has more calories. The higher the alcohol content, the higher the number of calories.
A. Red grapes were used to make the wine and a wine gets its color from its skins. When the winemaker crushed the grapes, they allowed the skins to come into contact with the juice for only a brief time, thus the color is pink, instead of red.
A. If a wine is corked, it will give off a distinct aroma. Many people say this aroma smells like wet newspaper, a dank basement or a wet dog.
A. The vintage year on a wine label is the harvest year of the grapes from which the wine was made. The characteristics of a particular vintage year are determined by the weather conditions and resulting grape crop for that year. A California wine with a vintage date must be made from at least 95% of grapes harvested in the designated year.
A. The following is a synopsis of the basic steps to make wine: Grapes are crushed to release the sugar in their juice. The juice naturally ferments when yeast comes in contact with the sugar in the grape juice. The result is alcohol and carbon dioxide. Red wine is made with dark-skinned grapes and fermented with the grape skins. White wines are made with grapes, or if made with some dark-skinned grapes the grape skins are removed prior to fermentation. Rose’ wines have contact with the skins of dark-skinned grapes just long enough to impart a pink color. The fermented wine is then separated from the grape solids and transferred into a vat or casks where it is clarified, stabilized, and may be taken through optional processes. Finally, the wine is bottled.
A. A wine that has a flavor reminiscent of wood or oak is called oaky. This flavor comes through in wines that are fermented and/or aged in oak barrels.
A. It is not necessary. The reason for swirling wine in the glass is to release its aroma. Swirl if you enjoy taking in the wine’s aroma, otherwise get straight to tasting it.
A. Once you open a bottle of wine, you expose the wine to oxygen, therefore, it will begin to age. It all depends on the level of alcohol: the higher the level of alcohol, the more robust the wine will be. Here’s a rough guide for reference: - Sparkling wines: keep for 24 hours - Light bodied wines: keep for 1 to 3 days - Full bodied wines: keep for 1 to 5 days - Fortified wines: keep for 7 to 14 days
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