Trivia relating to wines in NZ

Matt Wineera, AREINZ
Matt Wineera, AREINZ
Published on October 16, 2018

One of the great advantages of wine (apart from drinking it) is the amazing amount of information available on the subject. I guess this isn’t totally surprising given there is at least a thousand years of history behind it. Here are a few items to start your collection of trivia…Jim Harre, Chair of Judges, New World Wine Awards

Tips

• Sauvignon Blanc is one of the few wine varieties that complements fresh asparagus.
• You can add leftover white wine to pasta sauces.
• The traditional order of service of wines during a meal was sparkling, white, rosé, red and dessert.
• Cheese and a versatile white wine, like Chardonnay, can be a great combination.
• If you taste Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in black glasses (so you can’t see the wine’s colour), it’s often difficult to pick the difference. Try serving Chardonnay with dishes traditionally matched with Pinot Noir.
• Tomatoes, with their high acidity, are often difficult to match with wine but work well with Rosé. Think Caprese salad.
• For an unusual but refreshing summer combination, pour Cabernet Sauvignon over fresh strawberries.
• Eating an olive between tasting big red wines removes the tannin build-up in your mouth.
• Chocolate is a hard taste to marry with wine, but a rich red wine will often work.
• Never apologise for or be ashamed of your own taste in wine. Preferences for wine vary just as much as those for art and music.

Tricks

• In summer try adding a couple of frozen blueberries to the wine to keep it cool – the blueberry flavour won’t be released until you bite into the fruit.
• Over-chilling white wine closes down the flavour – the ideal white wine serving temperature is around 10-12 degrees. 
• To chill wine quickly, wrap in a wet tea towel and put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
• To chill a bottle outdoors, wrap in a wet towel and leave standing in the breeze to let evaporation do the chilling.
• To indicate how sweet or dry a Riesling is, producers will add a “dry to sweet” scale on the back label.
• Aromatic wines are so-called because the smell of the wine is from the grape’s aromas, not winemaking techniques.
• Gewürztraminer is very similar to Riesling with its ability to age gracefully over a very long time, particularly the sweeter examples.
• If Chardonnay has the aroma of vanilla, you can safely assume it has either been stored or fermented in oak barrels.
• Different oaks produce different flavours in wine. USA – coconut; France – cedar or pencil shavings; Slovenia – high tannins; Canada – fennel and liquorice; Germany – nutty and toasty.
• Store wine glasses upright, with bowls facing up, to avoid them developing a dusty odour.
• The best sparkling wine glasses to use are a tulip shape: they allow you to smell the aromas without losing too much of the sparkle.
• A silver teaspoon in the neck of a bottle of sparkling wine won’t stop it from going flat.
• To remove red wine stains from clothes, remove excess moisture with a dry cloth, then cover with either milk or salt and allow to stand before washing.
• White Burgundy wine is made from Chardonnay grapes.
• Red Burgundy wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes.
• Pinot Noir is a big component of Champagne and Methode Traditionelle, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
• Claret, as it was known in the UK, was a blend of predominately Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bordeaux region of France.
• Riesling has great aging ability: there’s still some existing sweet Riesling from the 18th Century.
• White wines, like Champagne, can be made from black grapes by fermenting the juice separately from the skins.
• Vintage is the year the grapes were picked.
• When tasting wine, first impressions are often the most revealing.
• As a general rule of thumb, the longer the aftertaste or finish, the better aging potential of the wine.

Trivia

• James Bond’s favourite Champagnes were Taittinger Blanc de Blancs vintage followed by Bollinger RD.
• The original Champagne glass was a shallow coupe said to have been modelled on the breast of Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre from 1744 to 1792, and held almost half a bottle.
• A standard wine bottle holds 750ml, a Magnum 1.5L, a Jeroboam 3L and a Methuselah 6L. 
• An average glass of wine has around 85 calories.
• The first known patent for a corkscrew was in 1795.
• Screw-caps don’t make a wine cheap, but make each bottle consistent
• In New Zealand, large isn’t necessarily bad – some of our largest producers produce great Sauvignon Blanc.
• Over 90% of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is grown in Marlborough, with the Hawke’s Bay and Nelson being the next two largest producers.
• New Zealand produces 285 million litres of wine a year – about the same amount as Hungary and a tenth of the volume of Spain.
• In the last 10 years New Zealand Pinot Gris has doubled its production to 22,824 tonnes in 2018.
• There are over 10,000 varieties of wine grapes that exist in the world today.
• The first winemaking took place at least 8,000 years ago by Mesopotamians.
• Worldwide, new regions are being planted with grapes for wine, including countries not generally associated with viticulture, such as Thailand.
• The oldest bottle of Australian wine is a bottle of 1867 Tintara Vineyard Association Claret owned by Hardy’s, presumed to be made from Cabernet Sauvignon.
• Chateau Tahbilk’s Old Vine Shiraz is made from un-grafted vines planted in 1869.
• Tannins in red wine give the wine ageing potential and great stability.
• Sediment in a wine is natural and harmless. Careful pouring or decanting will eliminate the problem.
• Harry Waugh, an English wine writer, said, “The first duty of wine is to be red and the second is to be Pinot Noir.”
• “Wine without alcohol is like music without bass”, said prolific Dutch wine writer Hubrecht Duijker.
• The truth is not on the label but behind it.

  • The history of wine in New Zealand By Jim Harre, Chair of Judges, New World Wine Awards The first recorded instance of wine being made and drunk comes from the Egyptians some 3,000 years ago. In New Zealand, grapes and winemaking took a lot longer to get here.  see more
  • The importance of good glassware By Jim Harre, Chair of Judges, New World Wine Awards. With so many shapes and sizes of wine glasses on the market, it can become confusing knowing which wine glass to purchase and drink from. Allow Wine Judge Jim Harre to simplify the decision making with 4 helpful points.  see more
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