Ten (Fascinating Wine Facts) for Tuesday

We all love Taco Tuesday, so let’s build on that tasty alliterative concept with these five festive topics for your next Barbera bash, Sangiovese soiree or Friulano festivity…

1. Don’t cellar your Beaujolias Nouveau. Harvest season will be here before you know it, and that means the first wine of the vintage — Beaujolais Nouveau from France — will be making its way to the United States. By the time it gets here, it will be only seven to nine weeks old, and it’s a wine that is not built to age. Rather, it should be consumed in its youth, ideally with a celebratory meal such as Thanksgiving. And even though it’s red, you should feel free to chill it down. Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be a fun wine.

2. Vintages do matter. Yes, many famous wineries have developed a “house style” that wine drinkers have come to expect year after year with each new release. That works fairly well in California, where weather patterns historically have been consistent. But it can be a challenge in places like France, where Mother Nature has been known to be uncooperative as harvest time nears. The French have been known to declare an over-abundance of “vintages of the century,” but just remember that there can be no superior vintages without vintages that would be considered less than superior.

3. Sparkling wine is the most versatile “food wine” of all. Spicy ethic cuisine? Check. Sushi? Check. Virtually any white-meat dish? Check. Those all are fairly well-known pairing partners for Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, et al. But if you’re looking for an “unexpected” match — one you might not normally think of — try your favorite sparkling wine with spinach and prosciutto ravioli. Trust us.

4. The city of Vienna is a wine region. Within its boundaries — amidst the architecturally stunning buildings, world-renowned cathedrals and countless coffeehouses that are not named Starbucks (and a few that are) — there are eight “wine regions” where more than 1,700 acres of grapevines are planted. What’s more, the vineyards are protected by the government from developers who may wish to use the land for more commercially viable pursuits. One of the more popular “regions” or neighborhoods is called Grinzing, which is easily accessible by the city’s train system.

5. Vienna is known by Austrians as Wien (pronounced Veen). Given the city’s alliance with wine, one might expect that the name has something to do with our favorite adult beverage. It does not. “Wien” actually means white or wild river.

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