Wine & Food
What Is Wine?
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made with the fermented juice of grapes.
Technically, any fruit is capable of being used for wine (i.e., apples, cranberries, plums, etc.), but if it just says “wine” on the label, then it’s made with grapes. (By the way, wine grapes are different than table grapes).
The difference between two popular drinks, wine and beer, is that brewing beer involves fermented grains. Simply, wine is made from fruit, and beer is made from grains.
Where Did Wine Come From?
Current evidence suggests that wine originated in the Caucasus Mountains and the Zagros Mountains which contain the highest peaks of Europe. These mountain ranges span from Armenia through Azerbaijan, Georgia, northern Iran, southeastern Anatolia, and eastern Turkey. The ancient wine production evidence dates from between 8000 B.C. and 4100 B.C., and includes an ancient winery site in Armenia, grape residue found in clay jars in Georgia, and signs of grape domestication in eastern Turkey. The people who made the first wines were of the Shulaveri-Shomu culture. They were a people of the Stone Age who used obsidian for tools, raised cattle and pigs, and most importantly, grew grapes.
The oldest known winery (4100 B.C.) is located among a group of caves outside the Armenian village of Areni. The village is still known for winemaking and makes red wines with a local grape also called Areni. Areni is thought to be quite old, but whether or not it is actually the world’s first grape has yet to be determined.
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Top Wine Regions of The World
Each year we discover more countries producing wine. For instance, did you know there are vineyards in the Gobi Desert? It’s no doubt that up-and-coming wine regions are intriguing, but just 10 countries are producing 80% of the wine on the planet. Let’s take a closer look at the top wine-producing regions of the world.
The Real Differences Between New World and Old-World Wine
The term ‘New World’ wine is used quite literally to describe wines coming from New World wine producing countries, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa or Argentina; essentially all wine producing countries outside of Europe. The rationale being that these New World countries only started producing wine in the fifteenth, sixteenth or seventeenth centuries, following European exploration or colonization. In contrast, wine has been made in Europe and along the Mediterranean for several millennia.
What’s the difference between Old World and New World Wines?
Old-World Wine producers focus more on the sub-regions where the grapes are grown, and on traditional methods used to make wine. You may find multiple names for the Chardonnay grape produced in France depending on the producer, the region, and the style of the wine. “Old World” countries have strict rules and regulations to follow when growing grapes and making wine, and many wine labels carry clues as to what’s in the wine, where it was made, and its quality.
The old-world wine countries are Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.
Wine production style is driven by ‘terroir’ and structure.
Aromas and flavors are terroir-driven (earthy, mineral) and floral profiles, support by fruit characteristics.
A strict set of rules regarding what can be planted, the density of plants, training and pruning of the plants, ripeness, yield, winemaking techniques, and use of oak.
The tradition almost always trumps technology although modern style producers are utilizing the resources available to them.
If you’re from the “New World” wine names seem easy to understand. You’ll usually see on the label the words “Chardonnay” or “Pinot Noir.” That is because by design New World Wines use a naming convention that specifically refers to the grape variety used in the wine. While the region or area where the grapes are grown is secondary. New world wines are generally recognized by the grape variety first, and the region or producer is often less important.
That said, there is a trend toward regional identity in the New World with the recognition of Geographical Indications (GIs) and American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and the creation of more sub-regions. Furthermore, winemakers and producers are gaining a reputation as the New World wine industry ages and these wineries become more established.
The countries that are considered “new world wine countries” are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, Uruguay.
Grape Variety is most important with a trend toward terroir and sub-GI recognition
Aromas and flavors are fruit-driven, supported by secondary characteristics coming from terroirs like earth and mineral.
Regulations about yields, grape varieties and production techniques are not nearly as strict as in Old World regions.
French gastronomy is known all over the world for its quality and diversity.
It is the fruit of a secular heritage and is also constantly evolving thanks to its professionals who continue to revisit their classics to always surprise and satisfy us.
To taste the French gastronomy is to taste ‘l’art-de-vivre à la française’. It involves finding local producers and passionate chefs who convey their passion into their food.
From Normandy to Provence, from Brittany to Alsace, passing through Burgundy, South West or Corsica. Through its gastronomy one can know all the diversity and wealth of the French territory. Each region invites us to taste their specialties and their cuisine in moments of sharing and conviviality.
The French Gastronomy, in 2010, inscribed for the first time in the list of the intangible heritage of Humanity a patrimony related to the gastronomy.
These are the components of French gastronomy taken into account for this insertion: the purchase of good products, preferably local, whose flavors harmonize well together; the careful choice of dishes that reflect the diversity of regions and terroir; the marriage between food and wine; the quality of the kitchen; the aesthetics of the table.
In all the happy circumstances of their existence, the French are gathered around a good meal. Whether it’s an “apero” among friends, a commercial meal or a banquet, this meal praises for conviviality, for humanism at the table and for well-being.