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Wine 101 - The Introduction To Wine

Wine 101 - The Introduction To Wine

Wine has been a treasured part of many cultures for centuries. From the cultivation of precious grape varieties to the development of sparkling and fortified wines, wine making has grown and developed alongside the craftspeople that have lovingly squashed, bottled and cellared it over the eons.

Today, Australia not only imports many of the world's finest wines, but is also one of the world's top wine producing nations, with approximately 2500 wineries producing wine from over 150 varieties of grapes. That's a lot of wine to choose from.

For most of us, this can make a trip to the local wine shop a little more challenging, yes, but also more rewarding. A little knowledge of wine varieties can go a long way when pairing wine with food, or even help to narrow the search by choosing particular grape varieties and blends. And when you want to choose something really special, it helps to know a little something about vintages and growing regions.
For the most part, it helps to start by choosing what overall type of wine you're after - red, white or fortified wine. Each type has its own merits.
White wines are often paired with fish or chicken dishes. The crisper varieties, such as a Semillon or Chenin Blanc, are also well suited to warmer weather, while a wooded Chardonnay is just as appreciated on a cold winter's night.
Red wine works wonderfully well at bringing out the flavours of red meat, particularly game meat such as kangaroo or venison. Red wines are also a wonderful accompaniment to Tapas or Antipasto.
Rosé is a light, easy-drinking wine and is often varying shades of pink, this wine is best enjoyed chilled on a hot day and is the perfect accompliment to spicy foods but is equaly perfect with cultured cheese.
White wines and rosé also come in sparkling varieties. While Champagne can only be called such if it's from the Champagne region of France, Australia is also fast becoming known for its Sparkling Shiraz and other sparkling wines produced from cold climate grapes.
Fortified wines include both red and white ports, sherry and sauternes - or "sticky" dessert wines. These are wines to be sipped and savoured in smaller amounts, and are well worth exploring.

By taking some time to get to know the various types of wine available, and what style of wine the various grape varieties produce, you will be able to pick the right wine for just about any occasion.