Guide To Tasting Wine

Written by Ben Bicais

Continued from page 1

After your initial visual impressions, swirlrepparttar wine in your glass. While this may be tricky at first, you will pick it up quickly. This revealsrepparttar 116221 "legs". The more wine sticks torepparttar 116222 side of a glass,repparttar 116223 higherrepparttar 116224 alcohol content.

The Role ofrepparttar 116225 Sense of Smell During Wine Tasting

As mentioned earlier, many ofrepparttar 116226 subtle "tastes" of wine are actually perceived by your sense of smell. While there are only four perceptible tastes, there are thousands of different scents. Revealingly, sinus congestion will stop evenrepparttar 116227 most experienced and accomplished wine taster in his/her tracks. Smell is perceived throughrepparttar 116228 upper nose as well as throughrepparttar 116229 back ofrepparttar 116230 throat. Molecules of different scents are registed byrepparttar 116231 olfactory bulb inrepparttar 116232 sinuses.

Before smelling a wine, swirlrepparttar 116233 glass again to revealrepparttar 116234 aroma. When smelling a wine, attempt to put any familiar aromas intorepparttar 116235 context of previous tastings. This isrepparttar 116236 fundamental basis for increasing your knowledge of tasting wine.

After smellingrepparttar 116237 wine,repparttar 116238 majority of registered perceptions occur very quickly. Sense of smell is very delicate and easily overwhelmed. Smellingrepparttar 116239 same thing repeatedly becomes less and less revelatory in rapid succession. If you do not immediately pick outrepparttar 116240 array of aromas in a wine, relax for a minute or two, then try again.

The Actual Tasting Begins

After experiencingrepparttar 116241 aroma of a wine, it is logically time to taste. Swirlrepparttar 116242 wine once more, and then swallow a small sip. After your initial impression, take a slightly larger sip and make an effort to coat your entire mouth. This is called, "chewing"repparttar 116243 wine. Before swallowing, aeraterepparttar 116244 wine in your mouth. While this makes a slightly strange sound,repparttar 116245 enhanced flavors and aromas that are released are more than worth it.

Another important component inrepparttar 116246 tasting process is touch, or howrepparttar 116247 wine feels in your mouth. Major variables to be aware of arerepparttar 116248 body ofrepparttar 116249 wine, serving temperature, and astringency. The body of a wine includesrepparttar 116250 depth of flavor and alcohol content. If these components are underrepresented, a wine will taste dilluted.

Serving temperature is an important variable that mainly hinges onrepparttar 116251 varietal(s) that compose a particular wine. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc will taste flat at room temperature, and should be chilled. Onrepparttar 116252 contrary, a well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon will not reveal its true complexity when served too cold. The incorrect serving temperature for a wine will adversely affect bothrepparttar 116253 aroma and flavor.

Astringency is basically a synonym for bitterness, and is caused by excessive or unmellowed tannins. Great red wines often taste astringent in their youth, but develop into opulent masterpieces when mature.

I hope that you believe that proper wine tasting skills are within your reach; because they certainly are. Mankind's ancient enjoyment of wine is largely derived fromrepparttar 116254 fact that our senses, feelings, and preferences arerepparttar 116255 basic components of what makes us human.

Ben Bicais lives in the Napa Valley and is the webmaster of

The Curious History Of Wine Consumption In America

Written by Ben Bicais

Continued from page 1

Because every state hasrepparttar power to make their own laws regarding wine sales, it has effectively made commercial wine distribution a convoluted mess. Marketing wine inrepparttar 116220 U.S. continues to be a difficult and frustrating task, especially for smaller wineries.

The effects ofrepparttar 116221 21st Amendment have had a major impact onrepparttar 116222 history of wine consumption inrepparttar 116223 U.S. duringrepparttar 116224 20th and 21st Centuries. Its legacy is a tangle of state and county laws that regulaterepparttar 116225 production and sale of wine.

The Fortified Wine Years

Immediately afterrepparttar 116226 repeal of Prohibition, wine consumption dropped as Americans had renewed access to spirits and beer. Fromrepparttar 116227 repeal of Prohibition torepparttar 116228 late 1950s, high-alcohol dessert and fortified wines dominatedrepparttar 116229 market. These wererepparttar 116230 darkest days ofrepparttar 116231 history of wine production and consumption. Many fortified wines were produced and sold extremely cheaply, and catered torepparttar 116232 "misery market". "Winos" drank these overly alcoholic concoctions becauses they wererepparttar 116233 cheapest way to get drunk. Inrepparttar 116234 quest for short-term profits, unscrupulous producers stamped a black mark onrepparttar 116235 history of wine in America.

From 1934 torepparttar 116236 early 1950s, immigrant families consumedrepparttar 116237 majority of table wines. Unfortunately, many of their offspring did not follow their parents traditional drink choices and began consuming beer and cocktails as they assimilated into American society. Table wine was a mysterious beverage to most Americans and was associated with high-society and recent arrivals from Southern and Central Europe.

The Jug Wine Years

America's taste for non-fortified wines finally began to develop inrepparttar 116238 early 1960s. The majority of these new wine drinkers were young, well-traveled, and relatively affluent. Asrepparttar 116239 Baby Boom generation came of age,repparttar 116240 ranks of wine drinkers increased. Even still,repparttar 116241 majority of consumers bought simple, sweet wines.

The early 1980s sawrepparttar 116242 height ofrepparttar 116243 frenzy to promote and sell inexpensive wines torepparttar 116244 American public. The White Zinfandel rage was and continues to be a major part ofrepparttar 116245 market. Total American wine consumption reached an all-time high due to a massive influx of capital and advertising. Despite predictions of continued increases, it did not materialize.

Atrepparttar 116246 same time, overall alcohol consumption decreased inrepparttar 116247 United States duringrepparttar 116248 1980s. The anti-drug and alcohol movement justifyably discouraged dangerous levels of drug and alcohol ingestion. Unfortunately, extremists inrepparttar 116249 movement also attackedrepparttar 116250 history of wine consumption in America. Zero-tolerance attitudes portrayed moderate wine consumption as not only hazardous torepparttar 116251 individual, but also as detrimental torepparttar 116252 entire population.

The Renaissance Years

Inrepparttar 116253 late 1980s, jug wine consumption fell sharply. American tastes were changing, andrepparttar 116254 market began to demand wines with defined characteristics. Mike Benziger's Glen Ellen Winery enteredrepparttar 116255 void, creatingrepparttar 116256 hugely popular "fighting varietals" genre. These wines bridgedrepparttar 116257 gap betweenrepparttar 116258 generic production ofrepparttar 116259 past, andrepparttar 116260 boutique wineries ofrepparttar 116261 following decade.

Much of America's current interest in quality wine stems from a 1991 60 Minutes Program that examinedrepparttar 116262 health benefits of moderate wine consumption. The "French Paradox" isrepparttar 116263 fact thatrepparttar 116264 French consume fatty foods, significant red wine, and have a very low incidence of heart disease. This news had a major impact on American wine consumption, especially in aging, affluent demographic groups.

The Future...Factors to Consider

As American society becomes increasingly more fast-paced and hectic, fewer families are sitting down together for dinner. This is not a positive sign for American wine consumption as few people open up a bottle of wine to drink with their drive-thru or take-out dinners.

Wine enjoyment is symtomatic of relaxation, and these days American society is anything but relaxed. The history of wine is also synonymous with stable family relationships, andrepparttar 116265 divorce rate inrepparttar 116266 U.S. is currently about 50%.

Furthermore, wine is a complicated subject that generally requires a certain amount of leisure time and money to become a true adherent. Additionally, wine has an unflattering image amongst many American alcohol consumers who prefer beer or liquor. In my opinion, there are limits to how largerepparttar 116267 quality wine market can increase.

On a more positive note,repparttar 116268 American population is aging, and older, more affluent people tend to enjoy wine more than other demographic groups. Hopefully they will pass their appreciation of wine torepparttar 116269 next generation.

In many ways,repparttar 116270 history of wine consumption inrepparttar 116271 U.S. is a microcosm of bothrepparttar 116272 positives and negatives that have come withrepparttar 116273 innate American experience. Studyingrepparttar 116274 history of wine consumption inrepparttar 116275 U.S. illuminatesrepparttar 116276 political, cultural, religious, and racial diversity that has maderepparttar 116277 nation what it is today.

America has a relatively small but growing population of wine-lovers. Althoughrepparttar 116278 number of regular wine drinkers are far from being a majority, they will continue to grow asrepparttar 116279 population ages. Future trends will probably include an increase in consumption of quality varietals grown in specific, terroir-driven locations.

Ben Bicais lives in the Napa Valley and is the webmaster of

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