More on wine

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Welcome to my little corner of culinary delights.

Forgive me if I get my directions mixed up regarding France.  We were in the northwest and not yet moved to the northeast, I get confused.  I would like to cover more about wine.

I explained about champagne and how it is made.  Much of it is self-explanatory.  I should include that the word “Brut” on the label indicates it is a dry wine.  Dry wine means it has very little sugar left in it.  There is also written “dry” or “extra dry” on some labels which means it has even less sugar than brut.  Even though brut is a dry wine, “dry wine” written on the bottle is not brut, it is dryer.

Have you ever wondered why the wine steward offers the cork to be sniffed by the guest?  It is to prove whether the wine is turning to vinegar.  If the vinegar bacterium sneaks into the bottled wine, it will convert the wine to vinegar.  That is one reason wine is stored on its side tipped slightly downward.  The wine keeps the cork from drying out inside.  If it dries out, it shrinks and the bottle loses its seal.  Bacteria can then slip-in.

Why not taste it to test it.  The taste of vinegar is well pronounced.  That is just the point.  The slightest taste of vinegar ruins the pallet.  Good wine from a new bottle would not taste like it should.  Then why is one of the guests (usually a man) given a sample of wine to taste?  I am glad you asked.  It is for two reasons.  A slight amount of vinegar might not be detected from simply smelling the cork but could be tasted.

In this case, the vinegar would be too slight to ruin the pallet.  The other reason is to ensure the wine is to the quality expected for its type and vintage.

What wines go well with which foods?  The types of wines are too varied for a short answer.  However, there are a lot of books covering which beverages pair well with what foods.  Rule of thumb is that medium to dry red goes well with beef dishes.  White medium to dry white goes well with pork, poultry, and fish.  Sweet wines, such as sherry, makes for a nice dessert wine.  I do not agree with this last one.

What about wine used for cooking?  Do not buy any wines in a grocery store labeled as a cooking wine.  I find them terrible.  Absolutely terrible.  I use a table wine, also known as a drinking wine.  If I like drinking merlot, a dry red wine, I would use that.  As a drinking wine, it goes well with steak.  It is versatile enough for pork and even pasta dishes. 

The simple secret here is this; whatever wine you would drink with certain foods would be a good cooking wine for that type of food.

Until next time, peace to all.