Wine is culture

Wine is far more than an alcoholic beverage, it is culture. Embracing this vast and exciting world is embracing history, entire countries, and wonderful life styles.
As an European I was brought up looking to my father and mother having wine always during the meals, such habitude has mould me in what is my so-called cultural blue print.
But in the process of growing, learning, travelling, searching, I have found that wine is a far more complicated and exciting world than my family drinking habits. Wine is culture!
The Romans are the main responsibles for the Vine proliferation around the Mediterranean Sea, in fact most of the famous wines and wine countries can be found around that particular geographical area.
Without knowing, the Roman Empire launched the basis of vast resource and richness to some countries, e.g. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria and others.
Now-a-days, Europeans’ cultural appreciation of wine reflects the diversity of the European experience, savoir-vivre and culinary habits.
It is an urban myth, that woman like White wine rather than Red Wine. Such consideration can be easily explained by the fact that White Wine usually is drunk cold and it is easier to the "Palato".
Red Wine, on the other hand requires time and perseverance.
Italians say that “One barrel of wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints”, funny that popular common knowledge already underline the virtues of wine. Why is that? Why do we say that drinking Red Wine is good for your health? Because Red Wine is full of antioxidants, such drinking habits (in a moderated consumption basis) allied to a Mediterranean style diet is proven to be healthier. That is, such diet is rich of fruit and vegetables, and as such, full of antioxidants that extinguishes the free radicals and other oxidants which damage your cells and tissues.
My personal advice, as your Chef Gourmet is when choosing a wine, go for Southern European Red Wines, not very aged (2 to 3 year is fine), with decent alcohol content (12,5% up to 14%). Such full bodied, non sparkling red wines are good for red meat and cheese plates. Do not go for expensive old wines, you should master years of experience (concerning taste and preferences of grape). You do not have necessarily rich in order to profit from a good wine. First, try at home, develop a certain taste for a country, region or grape. With non aged wines you do not have the problem of spending a good amount of money that can be proven a mistake. Aged wines can be wonderful or can be quite bad, the same bottle can vary with time and conditions, it is always a surprise.
Rule, do not have prejudice! A good wine can come from Bulgaria, from New Zealand, from Portugal. It does not necessarily come from France or Italy that is pure Marketing.
I have learned a lot about wines while living in Paris and having the pleasure of working next to Mark Williamson. Mark owns Willi’s Wine Bar and the Restaurant Maceo, both located in Palais Royal.
Mark is quite a character, a Brit with his own peculiar sense of humour that can hook persons like me or can make you run, if you are the sensitive type. Mark is an artist, lives like one and in my opinion looks like one too (Mick Jagger). Mark loves food (he was a Chef) and most of all, he loves wines. In fact, in Willi’s Wine Bar, one goes there first and foremost to drink wine and then accompanied it with good “cuisine de marché”. There’s an excellent and comprehensive Wine List.
If you have the chance to visit Paris, pay a visit. And if you meet by chance Mark, say hi for me.
Bon Apetit.
Chef Gourmet Du Art

Curiosities: 1) The earliest wine production happened in Georgia and Iran as early as 6000BC, 2) The first DOC denomination was created by the Portuguese crown back in 1756 and it is the oldest wine denomination in the word, 3) Wines are good “Venblen Goods” which means good investment, as with time demand increases and prices go higher.

Places I have been, where you can enjoy good wine: ( www.williswinebar.us)Willi’s Wine Bar – Paris, France, Solar do Porto – Oporto, Portugal, Templo da Carne – Sao Paulo, Brazil, Trattoria della Posta – Monforte d’Alba, Italy, Alain Ducasse Restaurant at the Dorchester Hotel – London, UK

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