Have you ever checked out a wine menu and felt overwhelmed? Maybe the running conversation in your head went something like this: What's the difference between a pinot gris and a pinot grigio, or are they the same thing?
You're definitely not alone. The world of wine is mysterious, complex and oh-so delicious. There are many types of wine from all over the globe and many delicious bottles just waiting for you to pop them. Ultimately, you have to let your own taste determine what you like.
In this article, we're going to focus strictly on white wine. Chardonnay, pinot grigio, gewurztraminer, moscato, riesling, sauvignon blanc, viognier, to name a few. There's so much variety!
Does white wine have any nutritional value? Find out as we review some of the facts.
All wines are classified as dry or sweet depending on how much sugar they've retained in the fermentation process. If the process is short, the wine contains more residual sugar -- and more calories, too -- and will taste sweeter. The dry wine will have less sugar.
But it's not just sugar that determines whether we experience wine as dry or sweet. The acidity, level of alcohol and level of tannins -- acids in the wine that come from grape skins, stems and seeds -- also influence the perception of sweetness.
Studies suggest that red wine may be more heart-healthy than other alcoholic drinks, like white wine or beer, because it contains an antioxidant called resveratrol. Researchers think resveratrol may help prevent damage to blood vessels, lower "bad" cholesterol and inhibit blood clots. But the Mayo Clinic cautions that more research is needed on people, not just mice, to establish that red wine is more beneficial to your heart than white.
However, there is also evidence that the flesh of the grapes as well as the skins has properties that protect your ticker. Vintners press the skins to make red wine, but they remove them to make most white wines. As a result, red wines contain more resveratrol, but white wines contain other types of antioxidants that are beneficial to heart health.
Have you ever looked at a bottle of wine and wondered what the decal reading "organic" really means? No wonder so many people are confused. The definition of "organic" can be slippery.
Let's start with wine that has the USDA organic seal on it. This means it's made from organically grown grapes, and that the certifying agency is disclosed on the bottle. USDA organic wine can't have any added sulfites, which are preservatives that keep the wine from turning into vinegar, but it may have naturally occurring sulfites, as long as they total less than 20 parts per million. Wine labeled "made with organic grapes" or "made with organically grown grapes" is made from organic grapes, but it may include added sulfites.
Vegan wine contains no animal-derived ingredients. Although many of the wines that use such ingredients during the processing stage don't actually contain animal products in final bottle form, their mere use is enough to make the wine unacceptable for vegans. Organic and vegan wines tend to cost more than nonorganic or nonvegan wines. Their selection is smaller, but don't worry, there are still loads to choose from.
So, how do organic or vegan wines compare on the palate? Only you can answer that! You might just have to do a taste test.
Even when wine is guaranteed to contain no gluten, it may not be gluten-free. What's the catch? Although the grapes used to make any wine naturally contain no gluten, environmental contaminants that do contain gluten still can end up in the product.
If you have celiac disease or another medical condition that precludes your consuming gluten, select wines that are gluten-free. As in the case of gluten-free foods and other beverages like gluten-free beer, taste is subjective. Some folks don't taste a difference at all; others do. You be the judge.
Food takes on flavors of the wine you cook with, just as it does with spices. Use white wine for sauces, sautes, soups, marinades or other dishes. Depending on what you do with the wine, the alcohol in it often evaporates completely during cooking.
One recommendation is to cook with a wine you'd enjoy drinking. Don't use the cheapest wine you can find or use an expensive bottle. This way, you avoid infusing your food with the unpleasant notes of cheap wine or wasting a perfectly good bottle that's meant to be enjoyed on its own (so that you can detect all of its complexities without interference from food flavors).
One benefit of cooking with white rather than red wine is that it doesn't turn your food red.
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident caused a measurable but harmless increase in the levels of a radioactive isotope in a few bottles of California wine.
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