Red wine is the perfect companion for special occasions. It is sipped at a leisurely pace that invites a growing sense of happiness and camaraderie among friends. Red wine relaxes inhibitions, fosters conversation and stimulates the mind and body with a warm and comforting glow. Speaking of temperature, did someone just say they prefer their red wine chilled? All eyes turn to the culprit as the convivial conversation quickly escalates into a debate, then a riot, as the sacred principle of warm red wine is foolishly challenged.
The names are similar. In fact, Syrah and Shiraz wines are made from the same variety of red grape. This leads many people to believe they are the same red wine with different names – called Syrah in France (and almost everywhere else) and Shiraz in Australia. However, as important as the grape is to wine production, it’s not the only thing that determines the taste. So what else is involved? Let’s backtrack a little and investigate Syrah and Shiraz.
Medical science is confirming what red wine drinkers have believed for decades – red wine drunk in moderation is good for you. The good-for-you / bad-for-you red wine debate has for a long time polarised opinions, mostly due to over zealous proponents from both sides, but when we put our prejudices aside a clearer picture begins to emerge. We all know that drinking too much alcohol of any type can be harmful but new evidence citing sensible and moderate drinking habits supports the health benefits of red wine.
According to connoisseurs, serving quality wine in the appropriate glass will deliver the full flavour and subtle aromas for a complete sensory experience. Every variety of wine is matched with a specific glass to showcase the wine’s colour and body, and the glassware you choose will help guests perceive you as either a consummate host or a novice entertainer. Either way, acquiring a beautiful set of wine glasses can be as rewarding as the wine tasting itself, and is a great step forward in your level of wine appreciation.
Red wine is made from black (dark coloured) grape varieties. The colour of the wine is often associated with aging of the finished product and younger wines are often of violet hue while older wines more often brick-red or almost brownish. Most black grapes have greenish-white flesh and juice, therefore red wine production is reliant on processing red pigments in the grape’s skin. In fact, much of the flavour of red wine is achieved by extracting and blending components of the skin. There are many red wine types, all with their own special characteristics suited to pairing with foodstuffs and stimulating the palate.