Dispelling The Fog: What Goes Into a Fine Wine?
New Blog Writer
Having grown up and still living in the Napa Valley, I’ve been asked to write a few things for this blog on the successful BestWineGlass.com website,…. so here we go!
I’ve been in the vino biz most of my adult life and have watched the Napa Valley grow from a bunch of mom n’ pop establishments to major players in international stock portfolios. Amazing transition!
Essential aspects of wine making
Anytime I host wine aficionados, I always like to introduce them to the essential aspects of wine making, the actual nuts-n-bolts of how it’s developed, so they’re in touch with the real, which isn’t the winemaker’s cult-status, who said it was good, or the ratings of the wine, but things much more basic and simple so connoisseurs can create their own perspective about what actually is FINE WINE. (*like who knew small mountain vineyards in Napa County often need brown bear preventitive fencing ($$) because a couple of those 400 lb+ beasts can devour a ton of ripe grapes- literally.)
It begins with climate
So,… there are many things which go into making world-class wines, and I hope to cover some later, but one essential ingredient they can’t do without, the difference that defines basic table wines from world class ones, well that’s hot days and cool, moist nights! (*here in summer growing season we average 50 degree evenings and 90 degree Fahrenheit days.)
Not just the importance of soil
Grapevines really are quite promiscuous little creatures, and like a dog they’ll take to just about any dirt as long as it drains! But when making FINE WINE, the kind that makes hearts flutter and inspires dreams,….. dirt aside, those world-class wines only THRIVE in places with a Mediterranean Climate! That’s easy to remember right? Greeks and Romans drank wine and they’re in the Mediterranean! And most folks know that, but the reason WHY world-class wines only thrive in those regions requires more understanding.
The skin of the grape makes a difference!
It all comes down to grape skin vitality, each tiny little berry, and how to keep that skin healthy! We’ve all bitten a grape in half and looked inside so know a grape has that thin skin which encapsulates the juice membrane. And believe it or not,… that juice has almost no flavor on its own, it totally relies on the skin to provide it nutrients and flavor. So all the flavor it gathers over the course of an entire growing season comes from nutrients exchanged with the skin.
Each grape counts in the flavor of a glass
Now a glass of wine contains the juice of about 150 grapes,…. so maximizing the flavor of a single glass of wine relies on enhancing the flavor of each individual grape! And if you haven’t heard this before,….. skin health is everything! Grapes need moisturizer, there I said it! And the best brand out there is cool, moist evening air! (In Napa Valley the ocean is only 30 miles away which provides the fog we need.)
Hot days and hot nights dry out the skin
Say a grapevine is grown in a dry area, with hot days and hot nights. And if watered that grape vine will grow and produce, and you can still make good table-wine from it, but over the course of the growing season the grape skins begin to dry out because it gets NO moisturizer in the evening, no cool moist air. Those grape skins just half way through the growing season will slow in cellular activity; inhibited in contributing nutrients, so the intricacy of nuanced flavor will not develop.
The health of the grape skin is of critical importance to the final product
But if grown where the grapes are moisturized religiously every single night– the grape skins will stay healthy for the entire growing season and that maximizes the flavor profile of each grape which is to become the wine. Ultimately creating those wines we drink and just say WOW!
Fine wines need the right glass
And just like the contours of the Earth defining where the cool moist air will flow, the shape of a wine glass determines how the nose of a wine will be experienced. A cheap ol’ wine glass is designed to sell, a quick copy of a general shape. But a hand crafted wine glass with centuries of experts shaping them, including scientific research on the flow of smell, they’ve developed glassware that like rolling fog along the valleys finds the most direct way to reveal all the wine has to offer. And some wines, the really special ones, have that ambrosia we certainly don’t want to miss.