Wines, like hotels, tend to get rated. And they get rated with stars. How do you know what a 5 or 6-star wine stands for? Now unlike hotels, wines do not necessarily have to be rated by an expert. They can be rated by anyone. All it takes is for a person to have enough of an exposure as well as an understanding of how wine is made, what goes into the making of wine and how it should be rated. Wine is rated on four parameters – the aroma, the taste, the appearance and the aftertaste. Let’s take a look at how wines get their stars!
The ultimate rating is 6 stars. A 6-star wine is said to be absolutely perfect. There’s nothing that is missing from it and nothing that needs to be removed from it. This rating means the wine just cannot be improved in any way. The number of wines that fall into this category globally is less than 1% of the wine produced all over the world. This wine is really a classic and it has all the complex characteristics that a classic wine is expected to have. You won’t find a wine like this online – no way. These are usually tagged as collectors’ items.
Wines that are rated as 5-star wines have a balanced color, richness and harmony. They are almost perfect and have a wonderful aroma, taste and feel. Their organoleptic characteristics are quite extraordinary. Then come the 4-star wines which constitute 5% of the wines produced all over the world. These, too have finesse, flavor and great character and you can’t really find fault with them or perceive any noticeable flaws. These are the wines that are commonly produced today and their rating goes up if they are allowed to age.
Then come the average wines or the wines that are 3-star rated. These are well made but the ingredients they are made from are ordinary. However, they do have great taste and texture and you cannot really find any noticeable flaws. Except for the fact that the raw materials used are ordinary, you cannot really distinguish them from 4-star wines.
Any wine with less than a 3-star rating is below par. You will usually find flaws in them that may even be noticeable and visible to the eye. There could be an unpleasant smell, it could be a watery substance or there could even be floating particles. This could of course be due to the extra acid or tannin present. Sometimes these wines might taste okay but you will find that they do not have any character, depth or complexity. And of course, 1-star wines are made from really poor ingredients. They are generally home-made wines that might not make it to the shop shelves. They are usually not well balanced, very diluted, have a dull taste and are flawed.
How is wine tasting and rating done? It is usually done in groups that are large. The wines are not labeled and the group has to rate them without knowing the cost or the brand. These ratings are then collected and compiled. It is a comprehensive analysis of these that are the basis of rating and determining which class a wine should be classified as. These ratings and classification help as far as the buyers are concerned because it helps them to choose a good wine. You know which the best wine available in the market is and you know what the stars stand for. How many people use these as guidelines when choosing a wine? Well many of these cannot be strictly followed and finally, it’s the buyer who has to take a call on which wine he wants.
How to Start your Own Wine Journal
Many years ago homemakers made a practice of keeping kitchen journals. A lot of information went into those journals, including successfully adapted recipes and the likes and dislikes of guests who were frequently invited to dinner. These kitchen journals made the process of running a kitchen far more efficient.
If you are going to make wine at home, it is a good idea to consider keeping your own wine journal or notebook. One of the keys of producing good wine is being consistent. A wine journal will allow you to do that as well as track your progress as you develop advanced skills. In the beginning your notes may not seem like much; however, over time this information can become extremely valuable. You may think that you will be able to rely on your memory; however, this can be quite dangerous if you want to consistently develop good wines. After a few batches, there is a very good chance that you will forget exactly which details worked best and which you would like to avoid.
The type of information that should be recorded in your journal includes any information that would have an impact on the final outcome. Of course, it is not necessary to list trivial information that will not really have any impact; however, you will definitely want to include information such as the brand of yeast you used and temperature recordings for your wine must.
Other information that should be included in your winemaking journal includes:
• How much fruit you used
• The type and amount of sugar you used
• Amount and type of yeast
• Amount and type of nutrients
It is also important to keep specific information about dates as well. You should make a note of when the yeast is put into the must as well as the dates of when rackings are performed. In addition, any time you add ingredients, you should make a note of this as well. Also, be sure to note when you bottle the wine. You may also want to include any information about how the wine looks or even how it tastes when you do a sample taste test.
Hydrometer readings are also critical to the development of any batch of wine so it is a good idea to record those readings and the dates they were taken. Over time, you will be able to gain a lot of insight from the hydrometer readings that you record. Keep in mind that you should take hydrometer readings when the fermentation process is first begun as well as during any rackings. Readings should also be taken at the end of the fermentation process as well. In the event you add any fruit or sugar to the must during the fermentation process, it is also a good idea to take a hydrometer reading before the addition is made as well as after.
Practically anything that you feel comfortable with can be used for your winemaking journal. If you want to keep it simple, consider using something like a spiral composition notebook. The one problem with using this method is that you may find it difficult to keep your notes consistent. To combat this problem you might want to develop your own wine log. This can be easily done using any word processing program on your computer and then printed out and placed in a 3-ring binder. When every page is identical you will have prompts to help you remember the type of information that should be recorded. This type of binder will hold up better over time as well. In addition, depending on the width of the binder, you can easily add more pages as you need without worrying about running out of space.
You may also find it helpful to add other reference information that will be right at your fingertips. For example, you might wish to print off conversion charts and place those in your binders so that you can access the information quickly while working with your wine.
Many Flavors Of Wine
The four main flavors of wine are sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. While this is the four flavors your tongue is really capable of tasting, the long lasting impression that wine leaves in your mouth is far more complex. When drinking or tasting wine, your taste buds and your sense of smell are involved, adding to the way you construe wine overall. The flavors, aromas, and sensations that wine is comprised of provide the interaction that you taste when you sample wine.
Sweetness is an element that wines are well known for. Usually with most types of wine, grapes are responsible for the sweet taste. Grapes do contain a lot of sugar, which helps breaks the yeast down into alcohol. The grapes and yeast that were used to make the wine will leave behind various sugars, which your tongue will be able to quickly distinguish. As soon as your tongue detects these various sugars, the stimulation of sweetness from the wine will be ever so present in your mouth.
Even though your tongue doesn’t really know how to decipher the taste of alcohol, it is always present in wines. The alcohol present in wine will dilate blood vessels and hence intensify all of the other flavors found in the wine. After you have sampled a few types of wine, the alcohol level can easily have an effect on your taste buds, making it much more difficult to distinguish other drinks that you may have.
Acidity in wines usually influences the sugar. When the acidity is balanced, the overall flavor of wine can be very overwhelming. After you drink wine that contains it, the flavor of the acidity will be well known to your tongue. Notwithstanding that acidity is great with wine, but too much of it will leave a very sharp taste. At the right levels, acidity will bring the flavors of the grape and fruits alive in your mouth – providing you with the perfect taste.
Another effect of flavor is tannins, which are the proteins present in the skins of grapes and other fruits. A wine that has the right amount of tannins will give your tongue a great feel, and bring in the sensations of the other flavors. During wine aging process, the tannins will begin to breakdown in the bottle, giving you a softer feel to the taste. Tannins are definitely essential for the taste of wine – providing the wine has been properly aged.
Oak is the last flavor associated with wine. Even though oak isn’t put into the wine during the creation process, it is actually transferred during the aging process, as most wines will spend quite a bit of time in oak barrels. Depending on how long the wine is left in the oak barrel, the ability to extract the flavor will vary. Quite often, wine will be aged just enough to where the oak taste is visibly there – and adds the perfect sentiment to the taste.
There are many other factors involved to determine the flavors of wine, the most prominent ones are those listed above. The above flavors are the most present in wine, and also the flavors that you need to get more proficient with. Before trying to taste wine or distinguish flavors, you should always learn as much you can about the ingredients accountable for the flavors. When you follow these simple rules you will know more about what wine you taste, because you will be in a better position to appreciate wine.
How to Get Started Making Wine at Home
If you have given some thought to the idea of making wine at home but just haven’t quite gotten around to it yet, there is no reason to delay any longer. Thousands of people around the world happily enjoy the benefits and rewards of making their own wine. While certain equipment is required, you do not need to make a prohibitive investment or even have a large space in order to enjoy a hobby that can be quite rewarding.
In reality, making wine at home is much easier than you might at first think. The entire process really only involves combining concentrate or fruit with a few simple other ingredients, placing it into the container and then letting it go to work. The resulting process is actually quite natural and will not require a lot of interaction from you. In fact, it could be said that all you really need to do is make sure that the proper proportions of ingredients are combined and then provided with an environment that is suitable and stable.
Before you begin making wine you will need to decide on a recipe. This part might actually be one of the hardest steps because there are so many home winemaking recipes from which you can choose. If you purchase a winemaking kit, the kit will probably contain at least one recipe you can use to get started. Even without a kit there are numerous winemaking recipes available online as well as in winemaking books.
You will also need to give some thought to the type of fruit that you want to use in your wine. Most wine varieties are made with grapes; however, there are also many wine recipes that call for the use of a wide array of fruits including strawberries, blackberries, apples and much more.
Beyond making wine from fruit, another option would be to make wine from concentrated juice. Wine juice concentrated can be easily purchased in a home brewing store as well as online. In fact, you will generally find that most concentrates contain directions and recipes on the package, so it is easy to get started even if it is your first batch. Many beginning winemakers prefer to use concentrated wine juices for their first batches because they are so easy to use. They are also available throughout the year, unlike fruit which may only be available during certain times of the year.
In addition, you will need to give some thought to whether you want to use a wine making starter kit. Many beginning winemakers do prefer these kits, at least in the beginning because they contain all of the ingredients and equipment that you need in order to make your first batch of wine. In addition, these kits will walk you step by step through the process. If you have delayed getting started making your own wine because you were intimidated by the process, these kits can help to demystify the process and guide you through the entire process with very little problems.
For your first batch of wine you will need a few basic ingredients. These ingredients are necessary whether you are making wine from fruit or concentrate.
Yeast nutrient is not yeast per se; instead it is a type of energy that is used to make sure the yeast starts the fermentation process. Pectic enzyme may be added to assist in the breakdown of the fruit during the fermentation process. Acid blend is used in controlling the amount of sharpness that is present in the wine. You may find in some cases that your wine seems somewhat flat. Acid blend can help to correct this problem. Wine tannin is the zest of fruit and is available in powder form. You may wish to add it to your wine in order to improve the wine’s character. Wine yeast is what actually starts the fermentation process by converting the sugar into alcohol. Campden tablets are typically added right before the fermentation and also before bottling. These tablets are used to make sure that the wine does not become spoiled.