Wine is a very old and complex drink with a long and fascinating history. It can take you years of study to really understand its intricacy and become a wine connoisseur. Still, there are a few facts about wine that everyone can grasp quickly, perfect if you want to get the conversation started or impress your friends on #winewednesday.
So stretch your wine knowledge and enjoy these fun bits of trivia about our favorite fermented beverage.
- The “Cheers” ritual started back in the Middle Ages, when poisoning was a favorite way to get rid of an enemy. To be sure their glass was poison-free, drinkers would first pour a bit of wine into each other’s glass, so if there was poison in one, it was now in both. The tradition of a celebratory “toast” began with the ancient Romans, who would drop a piece of toasted bread in their wine to buffer unpleasant tastes and excessive acidity.
- The oldest preserved bottle of wine is nearly 1700 years old and it is on display in a German museum.
- The average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in creating wine barrels is 170 years.
- There are people who are afraid of wine… You heard that right! Amazingly, there are people around the world who hate wine and there’s even a name for it, it is called “oenophobia”.
- In Vietnam, if you’re in the know it’s possible to order a cobra blood wine from restaurant menus. The waiter will take a live cobra, kill it on the spot, drain the blood into a shot glass of rice wine, and top it off with the cobra’s still beating heart for you to gulp down. Yum!
- Nebuchadnezzar is the title for the largest bottle type in wine. It’s equivalent to 20 regular bottles.
- When Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened in 1922, wine jars buried alongside him were labeled with the year, the name of the winemaker and descriptions about the quality of the wine. The labels could actually comply with modern wine label laws of several countries today.
- Where could you find the largest consumption of wine per capita in the world? California’s Napa Valley? France? Italy? Well, almost. The Vatican is the winner. According to the Wine Institute, more wine is drunk per person in the Vatican City than in any other country in the world.
- In 2003, a man named Richard Juhlin shocked the wine tasting world at a blind tasting competition for champagne in Paris. At the event, Juhlin was able to identify the brand, producer, and year of 43 out of 50 different champagnes. The person who came in second place was only able to identify 4.
- When the movie Sideways was released, consumers started buying according to the main character’s taste. Less people bought Merlot than usual, and more people bought Pinot Noir. Experts call this the “Sideways Effect.
Enough Talk….SHOW ME THE WINE!
Impress your friends and family with your new found wine knowledge AND great taste in wine!
The 2013 Merlot has an impressive opaque purple color and offers a big blast of fudge and black chocolate along with dense black cherry and blackberry fruit. Unctuously textured, full-bodied and rather classic for Merlot, this has a super-concentrated style that one rarely sees these days.
Deep velvety crushed cranberry color, the nose is immidatley complex, hints of spice, chocolate, red berry fruit and a touch of fine oak, on the palate the wine is rich and equally complex, deep and long with fine tannin and acidity, no wonder they pour this at The French Laundry, it really shines on the dinner table.