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The process of wine-making has been around for thousands of years. The process is slow which requires minimum human intervention. However, each vineyard’s owner guides the process carefully with a little change here and there for the unique taste of wine from their own vineyard. There are five basic steps in the process of wine-making.
- Harvesting- This is the first and the most important step for deciding the taste of the wine. Grapes are the only fruits that can be used to make stable wine as they are the only ones with the necessary acids, tannins and esters. The acidity, sweetness and the flavor of the wine can be understood once the grapes are picked for the next process. The determination of the harvest time requires science, a bit of experience and a little of old-fashioned tasting.
- Crushing and Pressing- After harvesting, the grapes are then sorted and separated for the next stop of de-stemming and crushing. Initially this was done manually by men and women stomping in huge bowl of grapes, but now-a-days with advent of technology the process of crushing mechanically. The after-math of the pressed grapes is called the Must- a fresh grape juice with the skins, seeds and the solids. The mechanical pressing of grapes has brought a new side of sanitations and speed to the wine industry.
- Fermentation- Alcohol is integrated into the must in this stage. The must with the help of wild yeasts in the air ferment within 6-12 hours. However, wine makers have started to add commercially cultured yeast to ensure positive results or the desired results. This process continues until all the sugar in the must is converted in to alcohol. From this the dry wine is produced. This process can last from 10 days to one month or more.
- Clarification- This is the process in which the solids in the must such as the dead yeast cells, tannins and proteins are removed and the wine is transferred into a different vessel which is usually an oak barrel or a stainless steel tank. The wine is then clarified through fining or filtration. Fining is done when substances are added to the wine to clarify it.
Aging and bottling- This the final stage of the wine making process. At this stage, the ine can either be bottled right away and sold or can be left for further aging. Further aging can be done in bottles, stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. However the aging of wine in oak barrels is preferred as it will produce smoother, rounder and richer flavored wine. Exposing of the wine to oxygen will also reduce the tannin and help reach its optimal level of fruitiness.
There’s nothing a glass of wine and some sleep cannot fix. The wine industry has survived recessions across different countries and emerged to be one of the fastest growing luxury collections in the world. Here is a list of some of the costliest wine bottles from around the world and where they are made.
- Domaine Leroy Richebourg Grand Cru 1949- Made in the Cote de Nuits in France, this bottle is the finest of Pinot Noir. It is produced from the estate run by Madame Leroy. It costs about $5,921. The year this bottle was made in was recorded as one of the driest years for crops and harvest, which makes this bottle all the more special. There were only 700 bottles produced from this vine yard and this is one of their best.
- Domaine Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru 1990- Originating from Cote ed Nuits, France, this bottle is produced in exclusive vineyards of Chambertin Grand Cru. It cost about $7,447. This bottle is a pinot noir, known for its deep scent of red cherries, sweet spice, and plums.
- Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru 1990- Costing of about $11,720, this pinot noir is made in the Le Musigny vineyard. Only 380 bottles are produced yearly from this vineyard and the bottles produced here are known for their sweet nectar like taste. The wine goes well when eaten with goose, duck or game bird.
- Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru 2012- Another one from Cote de Nuits in France this bottle is known for its rich layered minerality. Some say this is due to the dry hot summer in that year which gave the bottle its rich taste from the thick skins of grape. This bottle costs $14,436.
- Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee—Conti Grand Cru 1990- Made in Burgundy, France from a vineyard regarded as the world’s best wine producers, the DRC vineyard is known for its rich healthy grapes and the richest and purest example of Pinot Noir. The year 1990 is regarded as a well-balanced year with proper rainfalls, spring and a hot summer. This bottle is one of the only remaining bottles from the list of the most expensive wine bottles. This bottle costs about $21,216.
- Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992- This is the most expensive wine bottle there ever is with the cost of $500,000. It is a 6 liter bottle from the Napa Valley. This bottle has topped several lists of most expensive wines since many years.
- Chateau Margaux 1787- With the price of $225,000, this is said to be the most expensive unsold wine. However, nobody can ever buy it now as a waiter had knocked it over at the Four Seasons Hotel.
- Chateau Lafite 1787- This is the most expensive standard bottle of wine with the price range of $156,450. This bottle is believed to be from the cellar of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of France and widely known for his wine collection.
Helen M. Godbout
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