Parts of this is being taken from Wine Thread
I wanted to provide a little base for wine discussions:
There are 3 different types of wine:
1- Table Wine ( Alcohol 8-15%, Dry to Sweet - Reds (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvigon, Whites, Chardonnay) etc
2- Dessert Wine ( Alcohol 12-16%, Normally Sweet to sweeter - Sauternes, not as well known today as they were years ago)
3- Fortified Wine ( Alcohol > 18% - Ports, Sherries, etc. Brandy is added to wine to stop fermentation)
Wine Family There are Two basic Wine grapes families:
Vitis Vinifera, Which is the most common grape, considered the European grape produces so many different grape varietals (Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Chennin Blanc, Cotes de Rhone, Baroloa,Sangionvense, Zinfandel, to name only a small fraction. This grape is grown in almost 70% of the countries in the world today.
Vitis Labrusca which is most popular in the North Eastern part of Unite States and procedures a sweeter wine. Some of the wines are Concord Grape, Lake Niagra, Lamburssa,et
Way too many to start here, but as time goes on we can talk about the major grapes and what they produce, their qualities, their strengths, the weakenes
Lets talk about Table Wines:
Most Wines are made from grapes, red or white. There are many different types of grapes, hundreds in fact, but there are about 10-15 that are used mostly in today's popular wines. When grapes are harvested, they are crushed and that is called must That is added to vats for the start of fermentation. The skins and stems are also left in this must. The longer the skins and stems stay, the deeper the color of the wine and the more tannin will be in the wine (Tannin's, I will talk about that more, but basically its what naturally preserves wines and also gives them that dry puckery taste, mostly in reds).
White wines can be made from Red Grapes, Red Wines have to be made from Red Grapes, Rose, Blushes, etc are made from a combination of white grapes and red grapes, but the skins from the red grapes are not in contact with the must that long.
Fermntation is the process in turning the natural sugars from grapes in to Alcohol. Many times, yeast needs to be added, but some of the best grapes in the world and those carefully grown do not need any additional yeast.
Vatting After the initial fermentation is completed, the wines are poured into either Stainless stell containers or Oak Barrels for additional aging. The Oak barrels (Best in the world come from France, second best Hungary and now 3rd best, Missouri, USA) help give character to wines and impact that 'oakiness' flavor. Talking about flavours, that a whole another topic.
Aging In General white wines age from 2-3 years in their containers and Reds anywhere from 3-10 years. Wines
Bottling After wines are bottled, they will continue to age. A general rule is that Wines will age from 3-7 years before they lost it and reds can go anywhere from 3 to 100 years to age! There are so many variables associated with wine aging. I had a red Bordeaux from France vintage year 1911 and it was perfect (that was only about 10 years ago)
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences