Developing Your Skills as a Wine Taster
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Jean-Claude Buffin is obviously fearless: doesn't he know that I am a proponent of plain experience? Or that my passion is cooking, which is based on the transformation of products? Granted, I do like wine, provided that it is good (is there any product that is uniformly, and without exception, good?). But I leave myself the option of working with it, transforming it or cooking it. While wine is the perfect accompaniment to a meal, it also has its place in the kitchen. However, we still do not sufficiently understand the modifications undergone by wine during cooking.
Or what about all the trials I put wine through in the laboratory, encouraging others to do the same?
Even at the table, wine can be the object of experimentation. Of course, I would hesitate before adding para-ethylphenol or cinnamic aldehyde to Romanée Conti, but why not experiment with some less prestigious, and less costly, wines? If no one bothers to add aroma or flavour substances to wine, no one will ever find out what the results would be. The surprises are numerous.
Let me cite an example: a few years ago, on the basis of results published by a French research team, I decided to add a few drops of vanilla extract to some young whiskeys, in order to make them smoother. My decision was not entirely without motive: during barrel ageing, ethanol reacts with the lignin in the wood to yield vanillin, which is the principal aroma compound in vanilla extract. I obtained some remarkable results by adding small quantities of vanilla extract to young, "harsh" whiskeys. I improved their smoothness without giving them a dominant aroma of vanilla. However, spurred on by this success, I also added a few drops of vanilla to a Chablis wine. Here, the results were disastrous: the wine took on a horrible, soapy taste.
Was this foreseeable? No, at least not in the light of our current knowledge about taste physiology. Therefore, we must continue to experiment in order to gather data for the use of future generations. Are these experiments complicated? Diderot wrote that "thought is so pleasant and experience so tiring that he who thinks is rarely he who experiments". In this, he was wrong; nothing is so simple or so natural as these experimental games, which give us true food for thought.
Now, let us talk about cooking with wine. Progress can still be made in this field as well. An example confirms the virtues of experience and first-hand knowledge. Traditional cooks begin many sauces by reducing a little wine with chopped shallots. They may even add wine in several doses, reducing it each time. At first glance, this practice may seem odd. The volatile compounds in the wine - aroma substances and alcohol - are lost during this heating. What is left? Try it yourself, and you will see that with some poor-quality dry white wines, nothing at all remains. With other wines, you will obtain a syrupy liquid.
Eureka! You have found the difference between the wines that are good for cooking and those that are not. The difference is glucose. Different wines contain this sugar in different amounts. By reducing wines for their sauces, cooks lose the volatile compounds in the wine, but they caramelise the sugar in the wine. The consequences of this finding are several.
First, if a cook has no idea about the composition of a wine, he or she should add some glucose (or more simply, table sugar) during the reduction, in order to ensure that the wine caramelises.
Second, this finding leads us to rethink a preconceived notion about French cooking. It is generally said that few French dishes include both salty and sweet tastes: duck à l'orange and Pezenas pâté (if we set aside Alsatian cooking). This is wrong! French cooks have long known how to sweeten their dishes by concentrating the sugar in wine.
My fellow gourmets (I distinguish between gourmets, who love wine, and gourmands, who love to eat), pardon me these manipulations, which you surely judge to be heresy. Deep down, like you, my aim is to share the bounty of wine with the greatest number of people. As world wine consumption declines, it is important to teach the public how to drink.
Or how to taste. Brillat-Savarin wrote that "animals feed; men eat; and cultivated men savour." He was probably not thinking of wine when he wrote these words: tasting wine means evaluating it and describing one's perceptions and observations. There are many ways to learn, but a Chinese proverb shows that the experimental method is surely the best: "I listen, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand".
Jean-Claude Buffin seems to be driven by this same experimental spirit: he proposes a wide array of exercises that will help those who use them to become true connoisseurs. Even without the benefit of the teachings that accompany these exercises, readers will be given the opportunity to taste and taste again. Better yet, they will reflect on the wines that they have tasted, and they will understand the teachings even more. When we drink wine, we all too often give ourselves over to the immediate pleasure of drinking and we forget to analyse the wine. However, analysis leads to knowledge and hence to even greater pleasure. We must remember that knowledge and the breaking down of myths will in no way destroy the poetry of any beautiful thing. Knowing why the moon shines so bright does not take away the romance of a moon-lit walk with someone you love.
Yes, but experimentation is useless if you do not analyse the results and then formulate your general observations. Jean-Claude Buffin makes this difficult interpretation easier by providing precise information that helps us to better understand wine. Winemaking techniques, wine composition, the effect of tannins, wine ageing and maturity: while somewhat complex, the descriptions are precise, and readers will be enriched by their reading.
Certain titles and images may raise some fears. Has the author has been led astray by the false theories widely circulated in the wine world? One example is the theory that there are only four tastes (salty, sweet, tart and bitter). Does Jean-Claude Buffin accept this blindly? Not at all! When we read in detail, we see that Jean-Claude Buffin has read and analysed the finest documentation on this and other subjects. He states that the world of taste is much more varied than we once thought and that our problem is a lack of words to describe this variety.
This is but one example. Jean-Claude Buffin discusses corks, barrels, glasses, "legs"... in each case, his arguments are backed by the most recent and most reliable of data. This is a refreshing change from the often imprecise and romantic descriptions of wine that confuse myth with reality.
In the end, my only fear is that the reading of this book will be so pleasant that we forget about practical experience. Let us drink wine then, with this book in hand. Let us drink attentively and in moderation, but let us drink. Let us drink to a man who will help us discover the world of wine, to those who have made that wine and to those with whom we will share it. Often the love with which a wine is served forms a great part of its goodness.
Chemistry Department, Collège de France
Molecular Interactions Laboratory.
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew) ;
Their names are what and why and when
and How and where and who.
I send them over land and sea
I send them east and west ;
But after they have worked for me
I give them all a rest.
In his book, Jean-Claude Buffin has sought to summarise current understanding on wine tasting and on wine in general.
Along with his many years of experience in this field, he has consulted a wealth of in-depth information on these topics in order to provide the justification for the practical lessons he teaches.
This book offers the reader an understanding of oenology, in terms of the making and sensory evaluation of wines, as well as an examination of the sociocultural and ethical aspects of wine. Together, these enable the reader to develop his or her own skills as a wine taster in a precise and comprehensive manner.
Jean-Claude has written this book in a teaching spirit. It is clear, precise and the ideas are presented in a logical progression. From one chapter to the next, Jean-Claude includes diagrams and photos that should stimulate thought in the attentive reader as well as in the curious, critically minded wine professional.
Jean-Claude's undertaking was by no means an easy one. The first French edition was based on his experience as a teacher and on his thoughts on subjects such as sensory analysis and quality assurance in the wine field. His efforts were rewarded when the first edition of this book won a special OIV award in 1987.
Jean-Claude's personality as well as his rich and varied professional experience were the prime factors in this highly merited success.
As a young agricultural engineer and oenologist, he began his career working for a major multinational in the agrochemical field. He then became sales director for a large, prestigious wine producer. He has founded professional training and consultancy firms and has written many well-received articles on wine. His views on wine are based on a real sense of what the future holds for the wine industry. With this book, he has chosen to share his approach to wine with a wider public. We should all thank him for this.
I wholeheartedly congratulate Jean-Claude on his book, both as a wine professional and as a friend. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jean-Claude and his publisher, Henri-Laurent Arnould, since we were all students together at Montpellier.
President, Union des Maisons de Champagne
(Champagne Producers' Association)
I first met Jean-Claude Buffin about seven or eight years ago, when I was representing my restaurant at a major wine fair.
Thanks to his talent and knowledge, Jean-Claude introduced me to a world that up till then I knew so little of: the world of wine.
Since then, Jean-Claude and I have organised several luncheons and dinners for beginning wine tasters. In his captivating yet professional manner, he has taught these groups how to "taste with their minds"!
I might add that on many occasions I have given customers and friends copies of this award-winning book. It is a concise and excellent introduction to wine tasting.
This English translation is based on the third French edition of EducVin. Conceived for a public familiar with modern information technology, this book provides clear, precise information that should make it easy for you to talk about wines like a pro.
Above all, each chapter enables the beginning or advanced taster to develop his or her own skills and to become a wine tasting "expert".
The book includes exercises and games that anyone can use. They will help tasters to evaluate and describe wines using words and expressions that have real meaning.
There are also many highly informative figures and drawings, which Jean-Claude has developed during his years of teaching wine tasting to thousands of wine lovers. Readers can develop their own tasting skills by matching their perceptions with precise, well-chosen words.
From chapter to chapter, you will be able to build your own "sensory image" of each wine you taste. All the "bricks" in this lively, interactive structure are captivating and simple to use, even if you initially know little about wine. This book will help you enjoy the pleasure of mastering a complex subject.
I am pleased at the wonderful opportunity to exchange tasting notes and thoughts with Jean-Claude and other wine lovers at the Web site www.educvin.com.
Certified Architect and Restaurant Owner
La Sérafine - 05400 Veynes, France
1. Can You Identify a Wine Just by Tasting?
1.1. What About Expert Tasters?
1.2. Learn to Taste and Double Your Pleasure
1.2.1. Observations of a Friendly Tasting Group
1.2.2. Discover and Improve Your Skills as a Wine Taster
2. What Are the Differences between Drinking and Tasting?
2.1. Tasting = Culture and Pleasure
2.2. Tasting = Paying Attention
2.3. Tasting = Method
2.4. Tasting = Understanding Sensory Physiology
2.5. Finding the Right Words
2.6. From the "Calorific" to the "Symbolic"
3. Types of Wine Tasting
3.1. Wine Tasting: An Opportunity to Discover Sensory Analysis
3.2. Tasting in the Field
3.3. Tasting for Evaluation Purposes
3.4. Certification Tasting
3.5. Wine Competitions
3.6. Tastings by Scientific Experts
3.7. Hedonic Tasting
3.8. But Where Is the Romance in All This?
4. Begin by Observing
5. Details About the "Sensory Image"
5.1. The Physiology of Taste According to Brillat-Savarin
5.2. Gustatory Images
5.3. There Is No Standard Observer for Taste
5.4. A Highly Complex, Individual "Image"
5.5. Genetic Determinism or Taste Apprenticeship
5.6. Childhood: The Starting Point for Individual Differences
5.7. Reduction of Information
5.8. Practical Effects of Science on Taste
5.9. Brain and Cerebral Cortex
5.10. Medical Imaging Techniques
5.11. Neural Connections
5.12. To Learn More About the Senses and the Brain
6. Building Your Own Taste "Images"
6.1. The Papilla: The Site for Taste Perception
6.2. The "Water Torture" Game
6.2.2. Playing the "Water Torture" Game
6.2.3. Gathering the Results
6.2.4. Some Basic Premises for the Test
6.3.1. Low Concentrations (Bottles 2, 3 and 4)
6.3.2. High Concentrations (Bottles 5, 6 and 7)
6.3.3. Acid/Bitter and Salty/Bitter Confusion
6.4. Other Exercises
6.5. Some Provisional Conclusions…
6.6. Example of Perception Thresholds for 10 Tasters
6.7. Taste Impairment: It Can Happen!
6.7.1. Loss of Taste = Ageusia
6.7.2. Abnormal Perception of Taste = Dysgeusia
6.7.3. Loss of Smell = Anosmia
6.7.4. Diagnosis and Treatment
6.8. More About the Papillae
6.9. More About the Trigeminal Nerve
6.10. More About the "Geography" of the Papillae
7. Sweetness (or Unctuousness)
7.2. Vocabulary of Sweetness
7.3. More About the Sugary Taste
7.3.2. Several Tastes Exist
7.4. Substances Contributing to the Sweetness and Body of Wines
7.4.1. Table of Correspondence: Must Density/Probable Alcohol Content
7.5. Sugar and Temperature
8.2. How Does It Work?
8.3. Acids in Wine
8.4. Vocabulary of Acidity
8.5. More About the Acidity of Musts and Wines
8.5.1. Variations in the Acidity of Musts and Wines
8.5.2. Acidity Correction
8.6. Acidity and Temperature
9. Vocabulary of Sweet/Sour Interactions
9.1. "Battleship for the Taste Buds!": Blending Sweet and Sour Tastes
9.2. Vocabulary for the Sweet/Sour Blend
10.2. Bitter/Sour Confusion
10.3. Vocabulary of Bitter Tastes
10.4. Bitterness and Temperatur
11.2. Vocabulary of Saltiness
11.3. Saltiness and Temperature
12. Tactile Impressions
12.2. Tactile Vocabulary
12.3. Temperature Pressure
12.4. The Feel of Everyday Life
13. Hot and Cold
13.1. Sensations of Hot and Cold
13.2. The "Hotness" of Alcohol
14. The Sensory "Everyman" and Your Skills as a Wine Taster
15. Wine Tasting Techniques
15.1. Good Wine Usage
15.1.1. The Tasting Glass
15.1.2. Filling the Glass
15.1.3. Holding the Glass
15.1.4. Swirling the Wine in the Glass
15.2. To Smoke or Not to Smoke?
15.3. Avoid Anise-Flavoured Drinks Before Tasting Wine
15.4. Sip the Wine
15.5. Breathing In
15.6. "Kneading" the Wine
15.7. Spitting the Wine
15.8. Chewing after You Spit
15.9. Should You Rinse with Water after Each Sip?
15.10. Got a Good Palate?
16. Understanding White Wine
16.1. General Composition of Grapes
16.2. Detailed Composition of Grapes
16.3. Shocks, Injuries and Packing Down
16.4. White Winemaking
16.4.2. Juice Settling
16.4.3. Fermentation and Yeast Addition
16.4.4. Example of Commercial Yeasts
16.5. Sugar Addition or Chaptalisation
16.6. The Evolution of Grape Components during Fermentation
16.7. Is Chaptalised Wine Really Wine?
16.8. Yeast Lees
17. White Wine Vocabulary
17.1. The "Two Dimensions" of White Wine
17.3. Vintage Effect
17.4. Chaptalisation Effect
17.5. Let's Get on with the Tasting! Calibrate Your Taste Buds!
17.6. Other Tests with White Wines
17.7. Selecting Wines for Purchase
17.8. Taste Characteristics of French White Wines
18. The "Image" of White Wine Colour and Appearance
18.1. Colour Perception
18.2. The Colour of White Musts and Young White Wines
18.3. Colour Evolution
18.4.1. More Demanding Standard for White Wines
18.4.2. Observation and Vocabulary
18.6. Shocking! Sugar Crystals in White Wine!?
19. Living in a World of Smell
19.1. "Memories at the Tip of Your Nose" or the Marcel Proust Syndrome
19.2. Physio-sociology of Odours: Perfumes
19.2.1. A Huge Market for a Magical Product
19.2.2. Perfume Families
19.3. Physio-sociology of Odours: Food Flavourings
19.3.1. Definition of Food Flavourings
19.3.2. Production of Food Flavourings
19.3.3. Composition of Food Flavourings
19.3.4. Legislation & Labelling - How to Read Labels
19.4. Physio-sociology of Odours: Wine Aromas
19.4.1. Varietal Aromas
19.4.2. Pre-fermentation Aromas
19.4.3. Fermentation Aromas
19.4.4. Post-fermentation Aromas
19.5. Advances towards Olfactology
20.1. Individual Perception of Odours
20.2. The Olfactory Process
20.3. Olfaction and Retro-olfaction
20.5. Complexity of Wine Aromas and Flavours
20.6. How Does It Work?: Anatomical, Biochemical and Electrical Aspects of Smell
20.6.2. Biochemistry and Electricity
20.6.3. Pleasure from the Hypothalamus
20.7. Improving Your Smelling Technique
20.7.1. Developing Quality and Intensity
20.7.2. Alcohol Content and Temperature
20.7.3. Smelling the Wine
20.7.5. Practising Odour Detection
20.7.6. The Wine Aroma Wheel and Its Use
20.7.7. Odour Saturation
20.7.8. Tasting Sheet: Smell
20.8. Olfactorium - Wines
20.8.1. Olfactorium: Presentation
20.8.2. It's Your Turn to Play! (Olfactorium Users' Guide)
20.8.3. Olfactorium: How to Order
20.9. Adding Flavours to Wine?
21. Tasting Dry White Wines
21.1. Origin of White Wine Aromas
21.2. Predicting the Evolution of a Wine
21.3. Representing the Evolution of White Wine Aromas
21.4. Reference Points and Aids for Smelling White Wines
21.5. Summary Description of the "Good" Aromas of Dry White Wines
21.6. The Mystery of the Sauvignon Blanc Aroma
21.7. If You Have an Olfactorium
22. Intense Aroma Persistency
22.2. Exercises for IAP Measurement
22.2.1. Comparing the IAP for Several Wines
22.2.2. Comparing IAP Measurements from Different Tasters
22.2.3. Amplitude of IAP within a Given Appellation
22.3. Contrast Effect
22.4. IAP = Quality Fingerprint for a Wine
22.5. IAP and Wine Classification
22.6. Vineyard Origin of IAP
22.7. Magnitude of IAP
22.8. Difference in IAP = Difference in Quality
22.9. IAP and Tasting Pleasure
22.10. Universal Character of IAP
22.11. IAP and Your Money
22.12. Value for Money
22.13. Example of Value for Money
22.14. "Benchmark" IAP Values for Some French Wines (Whites and Reds)
22.15. Discussions at www.educvin.com
23. Harmony of White Wines
23.2. Wine Harmony in 3D
24. Pairing White Wines with Food
24.1. Objectivity & Subjectivity
24.2. Experiments to Conduct at Home or in a Restaurant
24.2.1. White Wine and Fish
24.2.2. Another White Wine with the Same Fish
24.2.3. White Wine and Another Fish
24.2.4. Other Food/Wine Modifications
24.2.5. White Wine with Cheese?
24.3. The French Cheese Tree
24.4. Testing White Wines with Cheese
24.5. Personal Food/Wine Guide
24.6. An Attempt at Classification
24.6.1. Passive Pairings
24.6.2. Active Pairings
25. A Tasting Sheet for White Wines
25.1. Tasting the White Wines in Your Cellar
25.1.1. Buying Wine for Laying Down
25.1.2. The Bottles in Your Cellar
25.1.3. Rhythm of Consumption
26. Tasting Sweet White Wines
26.1. Making Sweet Wines
26.2. Botrytis Cinerea
26.3. Sweet Wines: Winemaking
26.4. Tasting Vocabulary for Sweet Wines
26.5. Residual Sugar Content in Wines
26.6. Degrees Œschle - Degrees Brix
26.7. Sweet Wine Categories: Sensory Aspects
26.8. Describing Sweet Wines
26.9. Pairing Sweet Wines with Food
26.10. The Sweet Elixir of Tokay: A World-Famous Hungarian Delight Since the 17th Century
27. Tasting Sparkling Wines
27.1. The Steps
27.2. Aromas and Flavours of Sparkling Wines
27.3. Aroma Components
27.4. If You Have an Olfactorium
28. Tasting Rosé Wines
28.1. Origin of Rosé Wine Aromas
28.2. Characteristic Aromas of Rosé Wines
28.3. If You Have an Olfactorium
29. Tasting Red Wines
29.1. Origin of Red Wine Aromas
29.2. Detecting Red Wine Aromas
29.3. Staying Alert to Aromas
29.4. Reference Points and Aids for Smelling Red Wines
29.5. Life Cycle for a Red Wine
29.6. Short Description of Red Wine Aromas
29.7. Predicting a Wine's Maturity Curve
29.8. You'll Find Everything in Wine!
29.9. Varietal and Blended Wines
29.10. Show Off a Little!
29.11. Types of Red Wine Drinkers
29.12. If You Have an Olfactorium
29.13. Olfactorium: How to Order
30. Off-Odours in White, Rosé and Red Wines
30.1. Sulphur Dioxide
30.2. "Reduced" Odours
30.3. Poor Ageing
30.4. Odd Odours and Flavours in Wine
30.5. Electronic Noses and Aroma Sensors
30.6. Abnormal Odours and Flavours: They're Out There!
31. Vinegar: A Biblical Beverage!
31.1. Pairing Wine with Vinegar?
32. Alcoholic Fermentation
32.1. The Genome of the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae
32.2. Using Enzymes in Winemaking
33. Malolactic Fermentation
33.1. Wine Composition
33.2. Current Debates on Genetic Engineering
33.3. Temperature Control during Malolactic Fermentation
34. Winemaking Terminology
34.1. White Winemaking
34.2. Red Winemaking
34.3. Rosé Winemaking
34.4. For All Wines
35. Differences between Red and White Wines
35.1. Question: What is THE Difference between a White Wine and a Red Wine?
35.2. Differences in Colour
35.3. Origin of Tannins
35.4. Perceiving Tannins: Astringency
35.5. Blind Man's Buff: Is It Red or White?
35.6. Exercise to Measure Differences in Astringency
35.7. Vocabulary of Astringency
35.8. Relationship between Astringency and Grape Variety
35.9. Variability in Astringency for Wines of a Given Variety
35.10. Astringency Potential of Grape Varieties
35.11. Changes in Tannins during Wine Ageing
35.12. Tannin Evolution and Ageing Potential
35.13. Influence of Vintage Reputation on Ageing Potential
35.14. When Should You Drink a Red Wine?
36. The "Three Dimensions" of Red Wine
36.1. How Body and Acidity Interact with Tannins
36.2. Tasting Red Wines
36.3. Red Wine Vocabulary
36.4. Precision in Tasting
36.5. Ageing and Maturity of Wines
36.6. Evaluating the Ageing Potential of Red Wines
36.7. What Makes for a "Good" Red Wine?
36.8. Needs Some Time? Ready to Drink?
36.9. Sensory Characteristics of French Red Wines
36.10. Other Red Wines of the World
37. Intense Aroma Persistency (IAP) of Red Wines
37.1. Comparing the IAP of Several Wines with the Contrast Effect
37.2. IAP and Red Wine Prices
38. General Table of IAP Values for Some French Wine Appellations
38.1. "Benchmark" IAP Values
38.2. Discussions at www.educvin.com
39. Red Wine Colour
39.1. Colour of Red Musts and Young Red Wines
39.2. Where Does Colour Come From?
39.3. Variations in Colour
39.4. Colour Evolution
39.5. The Inevitable Phases of Colour
39.6. How Long Does Colour Evolution Last?
39.9. Observing Red Wine Appearance
39.10. Sugar Crystals in Red Wine?!
39.11. Deposits at the Bottom of the Bottle
40. A Tasting Sheet for Red Wines
40.1. Tasting the Red Wines in Your Cellar
40.1.1. Buying Wine for Laying Down
40.1.2. The Bottles in Your Cellar
40.1.3. Rhythm of Consumption
41. Aerate, Decant, Lay Down or Drink Up?
41.1. Wine Characteristics and Wine Ageing
41.2. Same Vintage, Same Appellation, Different Producers
41.3. Same Appellation, Same Producer, Different Vintages
41.6. Lay Down or Drink Up?
42. Vintage Charts
42.1. Example of Quality Differences within Vintages
42.2. Every Vintage Is the "Vintage of the Century"!
42.3. Hierarchy of Wine Categories
42.4. The "Millennium Cellar" Goes for $14.4 Million
42.5. 1999: Vintage of the Century?
43. Oak Ageing of Wine
43.1. Oak Ageing: A Requirement in Some Appellations
43.2. Oak Barrels: A Throw-Back to the Days of Traditional Craftsmanship
43.3. Oak over Chestnut
43.4. Are Some Oak Forests Better than Others?
43.6. Oak Origin and Aroma Compounds
43.7. Barrel Sizes
43.7.1. Harking Back to the Middle Ages
43.7.2. Bordeaux-Style Barrels: Size
43.8. Oak Barrels: Empirically Selected and Used
43.9. Tannin Stabilisation
43.10. Barrel Age
43.11. Aroma Compounds
43.12. Barrel Ageing Techniques in Bordeaux and Burgundy
43.13. Barrel Ageing of Fine Whites
43.14. Discovering Wood Tannins
43.15. Good Oak Ageing: A Long-Term Endeavour
43.16. Why Not Oak Chips?
43.17. Winemaking in the "Vanilla Era"!
43.18. Generally Uninformative Labelling!
43.19. Barrels Only "Work" for Great Wines
43.20. How Much Does Oak Ageing Cost?
43.21. What Happens in an Oak Upright?
43.22. Caution! Even Vinegar is Barrel-Aged!
43.23. News from 1999/2000
44. Pairing Red Wines with Food
44.1. Food/Wine Exercise
44.2. Red Wines and Cheese?
44.4. Well-Aged Red Wines and Cheese!
44.5. Testing Reds and Whites with Cheese
44.6. Sensory Freedom!
44.7. What Wines for Your Home-Cooked Meals?
44.7.1. A Few "Classic" Pairing
45. Rosé Wine Vocabulary
45.1. A Common Falsehood
45.2. Rosé Wines: A Tradition Dating Back Several Millennia
45.3. Rosé Winemaking
45.3.1. Direct Pressing
45.3.2. Saignée or Bleeding
45.4. Differences between White and Rosé Wines
45.5. Tasting Vocabulary
46. The Appellation System and Wine Pricing
46.1. The Reasoning behind the French Appellation System
46.2. Mercuriales and the Price Hierarchy
46.2.1. Prices and the Law of Supply and Demand
46.3. The Price for a Bottle of Wine
46.4. Prices for Older Wines
47. The Wine Glass and "Legs"
47.1. Tasting and Drinking Glasses
47.2. "The Wine's Got Good Legs!"
47.3. The Facts
47.4. Technical Data
47.5. The Real Story Behind the "Legs"
48. Wine Storage and Cellaring Temperatures
48.1. Basic Biochemical Principles
48.2. Some Observations & Suggestions
48.2.1. Buying at the Winery
48.2.2. Buying Wine from a Supermarket
48.4. An Important Point
49. Serving Temperatures for Wine
49.1. A Few Observations
49.2. Shattering the "Myths" about Serving Temperatures
49.3. How Wine Warms Up in the Bottle
49.4. Applying the IAP Concept to Wine Service
50.2. Alcohol and Muscular Energy?
50.3. The Immediate Consequences of Drinking Alcohol
50.3.1. Alcohol in the Bloodstream
50.3.2. Blood Alcohol Content
50.3.4. Psychophysiological Effects
50.3.5. Alcohol Metabolism in the Liver
50.4. France's Evin Act
50.5. Quantity of Alcohol Ingested during Professional Tastings or Wine Judging
51. Alcohol as a Legal "Hard" Drug
51.1. A Very Disturbing Report
51.2. A New Scale of Danger
51.3. Drug-Related Risk Factors
51.4. Two European Reports Create an "Alcohol Barometer"
51.5. Multiple Substance Abuse
51.6. Performance-Enhancing Drugs
51.7. Two Million Alcohol Abusers in France: The Consequences
51.8. Public Health or Special Interests
51.9. Vitamin Abuse?
51.10. A More Radical Approach to Alcohol Abuse?
51.11. Alert! A Possible Reclassification of Alcohol as a "Hard" Drug
51.12. Red Alert!
51.13. The Big One
52. Here's Two Glasses to Your Health!
52.1. Some Medical Findings
52.2. Effects of Alcohol
52.3. Phenolic Antioxidants: Wine's Secret Weapons?
52.4. A "Common-Sense" Diet
52.5. What's Happening in the United States?
52.6. What's the Right "Dose" of Alcohol?
52.7. Dos and Don'ts
53. The Dangers of Alcohol
53.1. Drinking and Driving
53.1.1. After Two Drinks...?
53.1.2. Take Stock before Driving
53.1.3. Effects of Alcohol
53.2. The "Designated Driver" Concept
53.3. Pregnancy and Drinking
53.3.1. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
53.3.2. How Much Is Too Much?
54. Some Key Figures for the French Wine Industry
54.1. Propagation of Grapevine Cuttings
54.2. French Grape Growing in 1997
54.3. Production Costs
54.4. Changes in Wine Industry Structure from 1965 to 1997
54.5. Négociants or Wholesale Wine Merchants
54.6. Wine Distribution in France
54.7. Where Do French Wines Go?
55. Appellations of Origin
55.1. "Elite Vineyards" in History
55.1.1. "Transparent" Viticulture
55.1.2. Elite Vineyards
55.2. Commercial Viticulture
55.3. Growth of the Appellations d’Origine
55.4. Outside Europe
55.5. Better? Not as Good? No! Different and Interesting!
55.6. An Unsustainable Traditional Position
55.7. Inspection of Production Conditions
55.8. Conditions for AOC Certification Tastings
55.9. Reforming the System
55.10. French "Quality Seals"
55.10.1. Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée
55.10.2. Label Rouge
55.10.4. Atout Certifié
55.11. Three European Quality Seals
55.11.1. Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
55.11.2. Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
55.11.3. Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG)
56. Grapevine Basics
56.1. Grapevine Cycle and Vineyard Practices
56.2. How Long Can a Grapevine Produce Good Wines?
56.3. Has This Wine Been Cloned?
56.3.1. A Few Basic Facts
56.3.2. Selection and Propagation
56.3.5. Yes, This Wine Is Cloned!
56.3.6. The Unquestionable Benefits of Cloning
56.3.7. Clones Mean Quality
56.3.8. State-of-the-Art Genetic Engineering for the Grapevine
56.3.9. The Genetic Background of Some Grape Varieties
56.4. Must Density and Potential Alcohol
56.5. AOC Vineyard Prices
56.6. The Real Estate Boom of the 1990s!
57.2. The Grapevine and the Soil
57.3. Soil Composition
57.5. Soil Filterability and Water Retention
57.6. Terroir in Biological Terms
57.7. The Expression of Terroir Involves Several Different Factors
57.7.1. Terroir Is Not the Sole Domain of High-Priced Wines
57.7.2. A Bordeaux Expert's Opinion
57.8. Discovering the Characteristics of a Terroir
57.9. The Universality of Terroir
58. Blending Masks Terroir
58.1. No Two Tanks of Wine Are Alike
58.2. Blending at the Winery
58.2.1. Single-Varietal White Wines (WW)
58.2.2. Single-Varietal Red Wines (RW)
58.2.3. Multi-Varietal White Wines
58.2.4. Multi-Varietal Red Wines
58.2.5. Great Médoc Wines
58.3. Blending at Co-op Wineries
58.4. Blending by a Négociant
58.5. The Advantages of Blending
58.6. Blending "Kills" Terroir
58.7. Blending Fraud
58.8. Champagne = The Perfect Blending Model
58.8.1. Three Champagne Varieties
58.8.2. Selective Pressing
58.8.3. Ageing Potential of the Three Varieties
58.8.4. Ageing Potential as a Function of Vineyard Origin
58.8.5. Ageing Potential as a Function of Press Fraction
58.8.6. Blending at Small Wineries
58.8.7. Blending the Main Wine at a Major Champagne House
58.8.8. The Talent of Champagne Blenders
58.8.9. High-End Champagne Cuvées
58.8.10. Champagne Vintages
59. Grand Cru?
59.1. The Miraculous Discovery of Grand Cru Vineyards
59.2. Are There Grand Cru Vineyards Outside France?
59.3. Saint-Emilion: Grand Cru Usurped!
59.4. "True" Grand Cru Vineyards
59.5. What Explains This Difference?
59.5.2. Minerals in the Soil?
59.5.3. The Root System?
59.5.4. Where's the Proof?
59.7. The Basics of Grapevine Physiology
59.7.1. Grapevine Cycle and Vineyard Practices
59.8. Graphical Representation of Root and Leaf Activity in Grand Cru Vineyards
59.9. Graphical Representation of Root and Leaf Activity in Flatland Vineyards
59.10. A Rather Peculiar Grand Cru: Clos de Vougeot!
59.11. Grand Cru Vineyards in Champagne
59.11.1. Uniform Yields
59.12. A Vin de Pays That Is Also a Grand Cru: Daumas Gassac
59.13. Grand Cru = Appellation
59.14. Grand Cru = Administrative Ranking
59.15. An Exercise to Conduct with a Grand Cru Wine
60. Wine Quality Report
60.1. The Ambiguities of "Quality"
60.2. "Fault-Free" Wines?
60.3. The Wine Quality Tree
60.5. Do Wine Prices Truly Reflect These Quality Levels?
60.6. Medal-Winning Wines?
60.6.1. Who Competes?
60.6.2. Several Categories of Wine Competitions
60.6.3. Gold Is Certain, Silver Less So...and What About Bronze?
60.6.4. Some Precautions About the Credibility of Medals
60.8. Wine Quality Cannot Be Improved by Simple Proclamation!
61. Hush-Hush: Some Taboo Subjects
61.1. Harvesting Machines
61.2. AOC Surface Areas and Yields
61.4. Attempts by the INAO to Prevent Abuses
61.5.1. A Practice in Limited Use Since Ancient Times
61.5.2. Widespread Use
61.5.3. The European Commission Unleashes a Firestorm
61.5.4. AOC Wine Producers
61.5.5. North/South Yields
61.5.6. The Situation Since 1994
61.6. The European "Wine Lake"
61.6.1. Elsewhere in the World
61.6.2. World Production
61.7. Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
61.8. Wine Labelling
61.8.1. Bottles and Labels
61.8.2. Regulatory Obligations and Margin for Expression
61.8.3. Back Labels
61.8.4. But What Does the Label Tell You About What's Actually Inside the Bottle?
61.8.5. Collecting Wine Labels
61.8.6. New European Labelling Laws
62. Corks and New Wine Stoppers
62.1. Cork: The Ultimate in Natural Technology
62.2. Cork Oak
62.3. Botanical Basics
62.4. Cork Stripping
62.5. Cork Harvesting by the Stripper
62.6. Cork Stopper Production
62.6.1. Cork Sheets
62.6.2. Cork Shaping and Manufacture
62.6.3. Cork Categories (Industry Standards)
62.6.4. Cork Prices
62.6.5. Cork Storage at the Bottling Facility
62.7. Cork Tightness
62.7.1. Cork Elasticity and Tightness
62.7.2. First Barrier
62.7.3. Second Barrier
62.8.1. Natural Odour of Cork
62.8.2. Off-Odours from the Cork
62.8.3. Off-Odours Absorbed by the Cork and Transferred to the Wine
62.8.4. Cork Worm
62.9. Champagne Corks
62.10. The Role of Cork Stoppers in Wine Ageing
62.10.1. Natural Cork Stoppers Are Permeable to Air
62.10.2. Other Gaseous Exchanges
62.11. New Synthetic Stoppers
62.12. What's Better for the Environment: Cork Stopper or Twist-off Caps?
62.13. As Corkiness Increases, Synthetic Stopper Sales Rise
62.14. Recorking Old Wines
62.15. What About Sparkling Wines?
63. The Grapevine in Geologic Time
63.1. Precambrian Era (4 Billion Years Ago)
63.2. Palaeozoic Era (300 Million Years Ago)
63.3. Mesozoic Era (150 Million Years Ago)
63.4. Tertiary Period (60 Million Years Ago)
63.5. Quaternary Period (3 Million Years Ago)
63.5.1. Quaternary Ice Ages
63.5.2. 40,000 to 30,000 Years Ago
64. The Grapevine in Early History
64.1. 10,000 BC
64.2. From 400 BC to 50 AD
64.3. 400 AD
64.4. 500 AD
64.5. 700 AD
64.6. 750 AD
64.7. 814 AD
64.8. Ninth and Tenth Centuries
65. The Grapevine in the Last 1,000 Years
Tenth through Twelfth Centuries
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
1750 to 1790 - Creation of the Médoc
1789 - Paris Has Its Own Terroir
1850 - Planting of Vineyards in the Languedoc
65.1. Phylloxera Crisis
1866 - Publication of Pasteur's work on alcohol fermentation
Around 1870 - Phylloxera Attack
1880 to 1910 - Eureka!
65.2. The Death of Some Wine Regions
65.3. The Grape Growing "Revolution"
65.4. From 1910 Onwards
65.5. High-Tech By-Products
65.6. Recent Market Evolution - 1950 to 1980
1975 to 2000: A Revolution in Oenology
1980 to 1998 - The South of France or the "New California"
2000 - The European Union
66. World Classification of Wines
66.1. Quality-Based Ranking
66.2. World Wine Volumes
67. Wines of the World and Your Wine-Tasting Skills
67.1. A Highly Competitive Environment
67.2. Five Leaders: Similar Levels of Competitiveness but Different Levels of Aggressiveness
67.3. Two Challengers with Great Potential
67.4. Five Less Aggressive Outsiders
67.5. 1999 Wine Spectator Top Ten
67.6. A Prestigious Banquet with the Wine World's "Crème de la Crème"