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The Chemistry of WineFrom Blossom to Beverage and Beyond$
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David R. Dalton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190687199

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190687199.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2021

Drinking the Wine

Drinking the Wine

22 (p.296) (p.297) Drinking the Wine
The Chemistry of Wine

David R. Dalton

Oxford University Press

The bottled beverage before you is to be opened. This work has already described the bottle (colorless or not), the closure (screw cap, synthetic cork and cork), and the contents (the wine). If the wine is not a table wine (vin ordinaire or vin de pays) which is simply enjoyed in a family or informal surrounding where the details of the container into which it is poured are less important, then it is generally found that: (a) clear colorless glass or crystal is used so that the visual appeal of the beverage can be enjoyed; (b) the bowls of wine glasses (except for sparkling wines and dessert wines) will be tapered upward from the stem into a bulbous shape which diminishes again at the top; and (c) the rim of the glass will be thin enough to allow it to be unnoticed when the wine is sipped. It is held that these are important, and in particular, the shape of the glass helps retain the more volatile constituents for the consumer’s enjoyment. Bowls used in glasses for red wines are more rounded so that when half full, the surface area is large. For white wines, this is considered less important, and of course, for Champagne and other sparkling wines, where conical flutes are used, a small surface area is avoided to enhance the flow of bubbles. As the wine briefly stands, perhaps having been swirled, it is often found that “legs” or “tears” of wine are seen to form on the wall above the surface. Their appearance is, in part, a function of temperature as well as the alcohol content of the wine and the resulting surface tension of the liquid. Then, using capillary action, the liquid climbs the side of the glass. Both alcohol and water evaporate, but the alcohol evaporates faster, so more liquid is drawn up from the bulk. The wine thus moves up the side of the glass and forms droplets that run back down the glass.

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