“Altro il vino non è se non la luce del sole mescolata con l’umido della vite”
“Wine is a blend of sunlight and vineyard moisture”, Galileo Galilei
Exquisite, gratifying and fulfilling. Delectable on its own, splendid with meals. Refreshing in the summer and warming in winter. You can have a glass to unwind after a long day, or share a bottle with friends to celebrate.
There’s always a good reason to enjoy wine. And if you have a fine wine, that’s reason enough!
What is a fine wine?
There’s a lot of talking about wine, especially fine wine, lately. The global economy has brought a great variety into the market, making for excellent wines within everyone’s reach. On the other hand this also implies a much-too-extensive choice: how do you know what is the best red wine to choose? What, exactly, is a fine wine?
What Does Fine Wine Mean?
How can you define a fine wine? Are there general rules, standards, parameters you can use to “measure” a wine’s finesse? Truth be told, it largely depends on who you’re asking. Up to a handful of years ago fine wines were the ones with “a name”, i.e. those produced by the world’s most famous and acclaimed vineyards. Their origin was what made them special, and pricey. Is this exhaustive enough? Is cost what determines whether a wine is fine or not? Not necessarily.
How Connoisseurs Describe Fine Wines
What terms do the specialists use to describe a fine wine? Balance, complexity, aroma, elegance, power, typicity, polish, length… Among the countless words we’ve heard used to describe wine’s traits there are 4 which do, in fact, make a difference.
A fine wine’s components – acid, tannins, fruit, alcohol – are equal, and blend harmonically
The flavor, the experience, of a fine wine needs to be quite persistent, not brief and fleeting
The taste and smell of a superior wine are not clear-cut. It always has a somewhat enigmatic, diverse aspect to it.
A fine wine tells a story, reflecting the characteristics and peculiarities of the area where the grapes grow, and the history and heritage of the people who make it.
As the famous Napa vintner Robert Mondavi said “Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art“.
Essence and traits of a Fine Wine
While most wine lovers agree that a fine wine is a wine of exceptional quality which encompasses the four keywords above, other features add up to a blend being fine or not.
Birthplace of a wine
Fine wines are made in select areas of the world, generally regions traditionally renowned and acknowledged for their vineyards and winemaking legacy, or areas where the soil and climate have proven to be ideal for vine farming.
Constant quality standards over time
Premium wines come from well-groomed vineyards cultivated in ideal areas, hence a superior wine’s quality will, except for the unfortunate vintage, be constant over time.
Healthy eco-friendly grapes
Today’s generally shared sets of values factors in aspects such as sustainability, being organic and wholesomeness. Thus many contemporary fine wines are organic, virtuous and ethical products made with sustainably-farmed grapes.
Finally, beware of over-pricing: as counterintuitive as it may seem, a higher cost per bottle is not necessarily an index of a wine’s quality.
Why there are so many Fine Wine Quotes
Why do so many people have something to say about fine wine? Because a fine wine is something special, and as such used as an example, or basis for comparison. Also because choice wines are said to get better with age, which is very comforting to all of us who are twenty… at heart!
Lead world history characters, artists, writers, actors and anonymous amateur philosophers have tried to capture the essence of fine wine. Read on for some fabulous Fine Wine Quotes:
- “Men are like fine wines – the older they get, the better they get”, Charlize Theron, actress.
- “Being vintage like a fine wine/Should make you proud of being old/And being mature like a cheese/Certainly explains the mould!/Fester on undaunted into your 7th decade” John Walter Bratton, composer and theatrical producer.
- “Good music grows with age. Like a fine wine it gets better and better over time”, Steve Jordan, musician.
- “I am a connoisseur of fine irony. ‘Tis a bit like fine wine, but it has a better bite”, Lynn Kurland, writer.
- “Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it’s our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with”, Jill Shalvis, writer
- “Uniqueness is wasted on youth. Like fine wine or a solid flossing habit, you’ll be grateful for it when you’re older”, Sloane Crosley, writer.
Shopping for Fine Wine
You’re cooking a once-in-a-lifetime romantic dinner for your beloved. You’re hosting your inlaws, or your boss and his wife, for dinner. You’ve got the veal, the asparagus, and the French bread but… where, and especially how, are you going to find a fine, perfect, wine?
Where and How to find a lovely Fine Wine
A lot depends on where you live. In a big or medium-size city you’re bound to have a choice of upscale delis and grocery stores with a good selection. All you need to do is talk to the shop personnel in charge of wines: he/she is sure to know enough to give you good advice. If you want to be extra careful and extra sure you can visit the shop once, jot down a list of options, go home, google them and read the reviews.
If you live anywhere near a wine producing region please take a day off work and visit a winery. Seeing where the wine is made and tasting blends before choosing will be great. Plus, you’ll get a lot of extra points when you tell your dinner guests!
Can’t take the day off? Call the winery and have them deliver.
If you live in a small town nowhere near wineries I wouldn’t advise shopping for wine at your local mall or supermarket. You’re probably better off finding some fine wine near you. Wondering how?
Fine Wine Near Me
How to find superior wine nearby? The answer is… Google Maps! Digit in “Fine Wine Near Me” or “Organic Wine” or “Champagne” or “Wine and Liquor” or whatever you’re craving, and check out the results. You’re sure to find a shop, deli or maybe a wholesale wine distributor somewhere in the surroundings. You can then visit it personally, or call and ask for a delivery. Alternatively, use the Wine Searcher web search engine: it’s easy, straightforward and even includes an encyclopedia of wine regions, grape varieties and wine producers.
No matter what you do, always remember what Goethe said:
“Life is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine”!