Time to be in high spirits

HEALTHY DRINK Wine etiquette is interesting.  

There's no Xmas without wine. Find out all about the virtues of this 5,000- year- old drink

Wine is a drink for all seasons and almost all occasions, but Xmas is near and all the more reson why wine is in the news! It is used as an appetizer, in celebrations, as an accompaniment to the main meal and also served after the meal. Wine is called a "mood maker" as it lifts the mood of the occasion and the spirits of the people. This property of wine makes it one of the favourite beverages at celebrations. The earliest references to wine dates back about 5,000 years. The Bible tells of winemaking in Palestine. It is considered as one of the most healthy of beverages.Most of the world's wine comes from grapes belonging to the species Vitis vinifera. Wine also can be made from other fruits like apple, pineapple, pear etc. Wine is also used in cooking, making certain medicines and in religious ceremonies too.

Types of wine

There are four categories of wines. Table wines are the most commonly produced and served type of wine. Most often they are served with a meal. They contain minimum of 7 per cent and maximum of 14 per cent alcohol and are grouped by colour into red, white and pink. Wines that lack sweetness are called `dry'. Most red table wines are dry while white and pink wines range from dry to sweet. Sparkling wines are mainly for festive occasions. They contain bubbles of carbon dioxide such as in champagne. Fortified wines are another group, which has higher alcohol content. They are comparatively sweeter than other wines and people prefer them with dessert or after meals. Fortification is done by adding brandy or wine alcohol to them. Port and sherry are the most popular fortified wines. Flavoured wines contain various flavouring agents like herbs, fruit juices and spices etc. They are served alone or before a meal.There are few hard and fast rules about pairing wine with food.Usually a light wine is served with a delicate dish. Certain types of food kill the flavour of any wine served with them. They include strong vinegar dressings, eggs, chocolates, strongly spiced dishes and curries, which are strong for any wine. If you are serving more than one wine with a meal, the usual order is first white then red wine and finally sweet wine. A dry white wine or a light red wine is the ideal one before meal as an appetizer. Fine sparkling wines can be drunk before, after or even during the meal. because they go well with most dishes. LEENA LEON