What Makes a Fine Wine?

Wine has been a staple of consumption and trade for over 8,000 years. The oldest winemakers are generally considered to have lived in the country of Georgia, finding that grape juice can ferment when left out for a period of time. It’s safe to say that wine has greatly evolved since that time and has inspired a following and culture all its own. While some people simply enjoy the occasional glass of red or white wine with dinner, others have amassed fortunes tasting and critiquing the ancient classic. As connoisseurs of wine ourselves, we are here to explain some of the basics which may help you with your order when stopping into our elegant Salt Lake City bar. 

The Simple Science

Of course, the quality and taste of wine are ultimately determined by the grapes. Skillful cultivation and harvesting will yield a fruit ideal for fermentation. Once grapes are plucked from the vine, they are usually taken to a winery for primary ferment. At this point, red and white wines diverge. Red wines are used using the pulp of red or black grapes as the juice and skins are left to ferment together. White wine is the fermentation of the juice alone— and yes, white wine can be made from red grapes.

Fermentation occurs when sugars are broken down by enzymes of microorganisms (bacteria) in the absence of oxygen. Ethanol fermentation is the type of fermentation that yields wine and takes about two to four weeks on average before bottling. 

Additional Aging

Once the wine is bottled, it is either sold right away or left to age further. Finer wines are made to develop with age, while cheaper wines are best for prompt consumption. If a bottle is closed using a cork cap, it is not fully sealed and will continue to mature over time. This is why most fine wines are sealed with cork. As the years pass, new complexities and tastes develop. 

Wines such as Chateau Latour, Petrus, and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti have had between 15 and 35 years to age after bottling and cost well over $2000 a bottle. When purchasing a glass or bottle of fine wine, it is rare to see a bottling date within a decade of the consumption date. 

Types of Wine

When speaking generally, there are 5 main types of wine to be aware of:

White Wine

As mentioned before, this wine is made by fermenting the juice of choice grapes. More often than not, they will be white grapes.

Red Wine

Red wine is made utilizing the skin, pulp, and seeds and is usually fermented at a higher temperature than white wine. 

Rose Wine

Rose wine is a light-colored wine with a pinkish hue and is made from red or black grapes with a shorter fermentation time— typically less than 48 hours. 

Dessert Wine

As the name implies dessert wine is made to be sweeter than other wines and is often paired with desserts. 

Sparkling Wine

Sparking wine, such as champagne, is wine mingled with carbon dioxide for carbonation. This carbonation can be natural or intentionally added during the fermentation process. 

A Few Key Words

When people “talk wine” it can seem they are speaking a different language. Here are a few terms any wine drinker should know.

Body (light, medium, or full). This simply refers to the weight of the wine on your palate. Many factors contribute to the body of a wine. 

Dry. Dryness refers to a lack of sweetness. 

Tannin. An attribute that lends certain tastes to wine. Some tannin lends a bitter taste while some provides a more woody or herbal taste. 

Finish. The sensations that occur within the mouth after a sip has been swallowed. 

Wine and Fine Drinks in Utah

As experts in classic cocktails, wine, and choice beers, we have many options for all tastes. With over 100 wines to choose from, you are sure to find your favorite in our Salt Lake City Bar. Come visit us for exceptional drinks, food, live music, and private events in Salt Lake City. Lake Effect is a must-visit.