10 little-known facts about wine that will impress not only gourmets
Benjamin Franklin once said that wine is “proof that God loves people and wants to see them happy.” Without a doubt, wine is one of the most favorite drinks of all time, it is found in Christian rites, pagan festivals, and its history has lasted for more than 8,000 years. There are many curious facts and really crazy stories associated with wine.
1. Red wine is not a panacea
The French paradox is that the French eat a lot of fatty foods and almost do not suffer from cardiovascular diseases. For a long time, scientists believed that the secret of longevity of the French lies in red wine. One of the ingredients of wine is a polyphenol called resveratrol, and researchers argue that this antioxidant is able to fight heart disease, cancer and inflammatory processes.
However, it is possible that the value of resveratrol was greatly exaggerated. In a study conducted in 1998–2009, 800 residents of two Italian villages, over 65 years old, were observed. All these people regularly drank a moderate amount of red wine. None of them have lived an exceptionally long life. 268 people died, 174 suffered from heart disease, and 34 suffered from cancer.
2. Wine and wasps
Although no one likes wasps, it is these stinging insects that need to be thanked for the existence of the wine. During the summer, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is better known as baker’s yeast, grows on grapes. It is thanks to them that they make wine, beer and bread. But there is one problem: the winter cold kills this fungus. This is where the wasps come to the rescue, who love grapes very much. When the wasps devour the grapes, they fly back to their nests, where they burp the chewed gruel and feed the larvae to it.
Naturally, when wasps eat grapes, they also absorb yeast, which gets the opportunity to “winter” in their stomachs. More importantly, when wasps feed their larvae, they pass the yeast to them. Thus, when the larvae of os mature, they again transfer the fungus to the grapes and the process repeats anew.
3. Ringing glasses
The clink of glasses is one of those time-honored traditions that everyone follows without even thinking. Some argue that originally this tradition was intended to drive away demons. Others believe that the idea was to pour out some wine from a glass into a drinking companion while choking (thus no one could poison each other without being poisoned himself). In fact, the reason is much more prosaic.
Even before the tradition of clinking glasses, in the process of drinking wine four senses were involved: touch, taste, sight and smell. The hearing was not involved. When they began to produce glass goblets, a tradition emerged, at which they began to use all kinds of feelings (the sound of the gossip added to the caressing ear).
4. The Court of Paris
Often, some countries associate with certain products (for example, chocolate with Belgium, watches with Switzerland, etc.). And for most of the 20th century, wine was synonymous with France. But that all changed in the spring of 1976, when French and American winemakers argued over whose wine was better. The blind drinks during the so-called “Court of Paris” were evaluated by a group of reputable wine critics, such as the editor of France’s leading wine magazine.
It seemed that the Americans were doomed, but everyone was shocked when, after evaluating white wines, Californian wines took three of the four first places. After evaluating red wines (a more prestigious competition), it turned out that judges recognized Californian Cabernet as the best red wine in the world.
5. Errors of tasters
Becoming a sommelier is considered very prestigious. This requires a lot of time and hard work. But “wine critics” are ordinary people, and they can be deceived like any other person.
In 2001, a researcher from the University of Bordeaux conducted a test on 54 students studying winemaking. The researcher offered the students two glasses of wine, one with red and the other with white. After a sip of wine, the subjects were asked to describe the taste of each wine. All of them painted a bouquet and grape varieties from which wine was made.
There was only one problem: in fact, they did not drink red wine at all (the researcher secretly painted a bottle of white wine with red food coloring). A similar test was conducted at the California Institute of Technology. Researchers in advance poured cheap wine in expensive bottles and expensive wine in bottles of cheap wine. The subjects claimed that cheap wine tastes better.
6. Music influences the taste of wine.
As part of the experiment, researcher Adrian North of Heriot Watt University asked the test audience to split several songs into specific categories.