Very present in our lives, during convivial meals, aperitifs with friends, or important events, wine is nevertheless difficult to understand. Oenology is a vast world that requires a little knowledge to be able to talk about it, choosing the best wines and appreciate them at their true value. To help the more novice among us, here is a short wine guide for beginners.
THE 5 MAIN WINE-PRODUCING REGIONS AND THEIR GRAPE VARIETIES
Viticulture is ubiquitous in France, but each French region does not produce the same type of wine. Each region uses specific grape varieties. We can therefore distinguish 5 main wine-producing regions in France.
- The Alsatian wine Alsace: covering 15,600 hectares and spread over 2 departments, Alsace mainly produces Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris and Muscat;
- The Burgundy wine The 27,200 hectares of Burgundy vineyards between Mâcon and Auxerre produce mainly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Aligoté;
- The Loire wine With 77,000 hectares of vineyards, spread over 1,000 km, the wines of the Loire have grape varieties such as Sauvignon, Chenin, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay and Cabernet Franc;
- The Bordeaux wine Bordeaux: With its 118,000 hectares of vineyards, the Bordeaux region is the largest wine-producing region in France. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Muscadelle are the main grape varieties;
- The Provence wine The vineyard, with its 27,000 hectares of surface area, has a majority of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Tibouren and Carignan.
HOW TO DO A WINE TASTING?
To recognize the different wine aromas and enjoy all its flavours, the wine tasting is done in a suitable glass, and is divided into 3 stages.
- Observing wine: thevisual approach to a wine allows us to evaluate the colour of the wine, but also its fluidity and thickness;
- Smell the wine: theolfactory appreciation This is also done in two stages. The first nose reveals the primary aromas coming from the grape variety, and the second nose reveals the secondary and tertiary aromas;
- Taste the wine For a better appreciation of the aromas, it is advisable to toast, i.e. to suck in a little air in the mouth, to offer a nice oxygenation of the wine in the mouth and allow the aromas to be released.
DECIPHERING THE LABEL ON A BOTTLE OF WINE
Before you can even put the wine in the mouthThe label on the bottle can sometimes give a good indication of the character of a wine. Thus, the compulsory information indicates :
- The production area of theAOP/AOC (Appellation d'Origine Protégée/Contrôlée);
- Contact details of the bottler, which will tell you whether it is a négociant wine or an independent owner's wine;
- The volume of the bottle ;
- The alcohol content of wine ;
- The words "contains sulphites" and the pictogram advising against alcohol during pregnancy.
Other information can be given, such as the vintage or the various awards obtained, but these remain optional.
WINE TO KEEP OR WINE TO DRINK: HOW TO KNOW?
There is a wine to be drunk young of a wine for ageing to their strength. A wine that is tannic and acidic, with a stable and solid structure, will be better suited to ageing. Conversely, wines to be drunk young do not have the necessary strength to retain all their qualities and structure over time.
There is no confusion, however, as a wine to be drunk within the year does not at all mean that it is less good than a wine for ageing.
To learn how to distinguish a wine for ageing from a young wineThere is no other solution than to taste them, to compare them. You will then know how to recognize them and estimate their ageing potential.
WHAT ARE THE NEW TYPES OF WINE?
Viticulture has evolved greatly in recent years, and new methods of production are emerging. wine certifications.
- The certified organic wine Organic wines: bearing the AB (Agriculture Biologique) label, organic wines are made from organically grown grapes, without the use of chemical pesticides or weed killers;
- The biodynamic wine The biodynamic winegrower respects the cycles of nature in order to revitalise the soil. He relies on the tides and the moon to cultivate his vines and to qualify for the Déméter label;
- The natural wine Natural wines: very fragile, no sulphur is added, nor are any modern oenological inputs used.
This wine guide for beginners will accompany you on your first steps into the world of wine. However, oenology is very complex and dense, so why not go directly to a cellar? Château de Berne welcomes you to its cellars and vineyards for a guided tour complete.