The Wonderful World of Wine

005Wine is one of those drinks that is elegant and simple at the same time. Wine is a beverage that has a long rich history behind it. Wine was first believed to have been made around 6000 B.C. in an area that is now the country of Georgia, and had appeared around the Middle East and the Balkans by around 4500 B.C. Wine was a favorite drink of ancient Greece and Rome, where both civilizations actually had gods that represented wine. Wine is an important element in both Christian and Jewish traditional ceremonies.

Europe is the homeland of wine, with France, Italy, and Spain leading the world in wine production, but the United States is right behind them. Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley in California are world renowned for producing excellent wines. European wines are often classified by the region it is made in, such as Bordeaux and Chianti, while other countries normally classify wines by the type of grape that went into making it, like Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Chardonnay.

Wine is often classified into one of six categories, red, white, rose, sparkling, fortified wine, and dessert wines, with red and white wines being the most common types. The difference between red and white wines comes from the types of grapes used, the fermentation process, and the aging process. The biggest factor in making a red or white wine is the types of grapes that were used to make it, with white grapes producing white wine and red and black grapes normally being used to make red wine. Most red wines are made by first destemming and then crushing the grapes while leaving the grape skins in contact with the juice during the fermentation. White wines are usually made without destemming or crushing and are instead just pressed to extract the juice from the grapes. Red wines are also usually aged in oak barrels, while only a few varieties of white wine are aged.

When consumed in moderation, wine has been shown to have positive health effects, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and having cardioprotective properties. Wine, red wine in particular, contains many beneficial chemicals such as antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols. Now that you have some more information about wine and what makes red and white wines different, go out and pick up some different types of wine to try and see which kind you like the best. Cheers!

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011

005With today being Easter, I decided to be classy and open up a bottle of wine. I had a bottle of Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011 lying around that I wanted to open and what better excuse than to pair it with the leg of lamb that I was having for Easter dinner. Pinot noir is a lighter-bodied, red wine that typically has a sweet fruit-forward character, such as raspberry, blackberry, and cherry, combined with earthy flavors and warm spice notes.

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011, like all pinot noir wines, is made predominantly from pinot noir grapes. Pinot noir grapes are a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine but they are considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world. This type of grape originated in the Burgundy region of France, but is now grown around the world, such as Mirassou which is a California winery. The grapes that go into making this wine come from some of California’s most renowned regions, including Monterey County and Sonoma County.

Mirassou takes particular care in preserving the delicate flavors of the pinot noir grapes and harvests them in the cool of the evening and early morning hours before destemming them and cold soaking the grapes 24 hours. The grapes then go through a five-day fermentation in upright, rotary fermenters where the temperature doesn’t exceed 85 degrees F.

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011 is a very good buy being a smooth and flavorful red wine that is also fairly inexpensive, at only about $10 a bottle. This pinot noir has flavors of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry balanced by notes of oak and vanilla. This wine has a really pleasant, delicate flavor that pairs nicely with a wide range of foods from lamb to poultry to chocolate desserts. Next time you’re looking for a good affordable bottle of wine, you should give Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011 a try. Cheers!