There is something inviting about the celebration of opening a bottle of wine with friends, and sharing an evening together that delights my spirit. I love wine. I love the taste, the aroma and the time spent lingering, chatting about life, dreaming of the future or discussing situations of the present. If you happen to be a friend of mine reading this you may laugh, of course you already know I enjoy wine and the pleasure of sharing it together. Wine has been around for thousands of years and it is very much a thread that runs through the history of our culture and our culinary existence. Wine varies from full-bodied, bursting with fruit and smoky flavors to tart, crisp and clean. Sharing wine with friends is a celebration in itself – a celebration that is enjoyed with gladness and gratitude in our home.
The oldest known winery is located in the Areni-1 cave, which is located in the most sparsely populated province in Armenia. This discovery was announced by archaeologists less than 1 year ago in January, 2011. The winery, which is believed to be over 6,000 years old, contained a wine press, fermentation vats, cups and jars. Biblical accounts tell of Noah and his sons producing wine at the base of Mount Ararat and it is interesting that the word “wine” is reportedly mentioned 200 times in the Old Testament of the King James Version of the Bible.
Wine has been around for thousands of years. It is a drink that time honors with beauty – just as people gain wisdom through life experience, good wine gets better with age. I love learning about wine and exploring the different grape varietals, and even unique combinations that give an unexpected tingle to the senses. In honor of the celebration of wine, following are some little known pieces of wine wisdom and a recommendation for great wine on a budget – some wonderful sips that won’t break your budget. Cheers!
In ancient Greece, a person hosting a party would drink the wine first just to make sure it was healthy to drink and not poisoned. It was here that the popular phrase “drinking to one’s health” arose.
Since wine tasting is all about wine smelling, women of reproductive ages are better wine testers because they have a better sense of smell than men.
The average cost per bottle to age wine in only French oak barrels: $2.50
Dom Pierre Pérignon, a French Monk, born in 1638 is often credited with the invention of champagne, but opinions differ widely on this topic. Pierre was the cellar master of the abbey until his death in 1715. He was quoted as saying, “Come quickly – I am drinking the stars,” after tasting his first sip of champagne. The famous champagne Dom Pérignon, the préstige cuvée of Moët & Chandon, is named after him.
The legal release date for Beaujolais Nouveau is the third Thursday of every November – is your cellar stocked? This is a delightfully green and earthy wine that comes out only once each year in November with very young grapes.
The average life of a vine is 40 years, but with no disease and temperate weather, vines can live to up to 100 years.
Airén is the world’s most planted wine grape. Predominantly planted in Spain and occupying more than one million acres, it is most widely used to make brandy.
Thomas Jefferson stocked the cellars of the first 5 presidents, and preferred Bordeaux and Madeira.
Wine need not be fussy or expensive. Here are my favorite fabulously inexpensive sips.
Red: La Finca Oak Aged Malbec, 2010, Argentina ($5.00 a bottle, Trader Joe’s) – known as the poor wine drinkers gold
White: Chumeia (koo-may-a) 2006 Chardonnay, California ($12.00 a bottle) – Chumeia is the ancient word for “alchemy”