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葡萄酒的秘密

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葡萄酒的秘密

 

葡萄酒越陈越好
有些葡萄酒有一个特性,就是随着时间的推移,也就是随着它的变陈,它的品质会提升,可是这些葡萄酒比你想象的要少得多。白葡萄酒(除了少数例外)就不会变陈,相反,它们必须尽早新鲜饮用,最多在收获期后的一年以内就应该被消费掉。有年份(vintage)的香槟酒也可以在相当岁月中变陈。玫瑰红葡萄酒也一样,它们也应该趁新鲜饮用。还有那些廉价的红葡萄酒也是。只有那些在最好的水土条件生长的、最优质的酒葡萄品种酿造的红葡萄酒,在橡木桶里成熟了数月(12到24个月)以后,还可以在酒瓶中变陈。绝大多数的甜酒也可以在数年内变陈,有些还可以在数十年内变陈。
 
室温
"室温"这个词汇,只不过是一个抽象模糊的概念,它的不确定数值无法规定葡萄酒理想的饮用温度。我们应该了解,绝大多数的红葡萄酒应该在15-16摄氏度被饮用,红酒在18度可以变陈,新酒在12-14度变陈。这是什么神话!哪一个房间的室温?在希腊的室温,还是法国的室温,还是俄罗斯的室温,还是其他地方的室温?
 
红酒配红肉,白葡萄酒配鱼
可是谁说,反过来就不可以呢?比如白葡萄酒配肉,红葡萄酒配鱼?鸡肉、猪肉、兔肉,以及所有的白色肉类,如果烹调得清淡,都可以和在橡木桶中发酵成熟的白葡萄酒配合食用,因为这样的白葡萄酒口感更强烈、饱满。另外,一条肥腻的鱼,比如三文鱼或剑鱼,如果是烧烤或调味辛辣,就可以配合清淡的红葡萄酒来吃,比如勃艮第红酒,博若莱葡萄酒,瓦尔波利塞拉葡萄酒,或是新鲜的Agiorgitiko葡萄酒。
 
看酒瓶标签
酒瓶标签是葡萄酒的身份证。只要有,你就要仔细阅读葡萄酒瓶正反面的标签,这样我们就可以获取所有关于葡萄酒的信息,比如葡萄收获的年份、出产国、出产地、葡萄品种、酿造商、酒精含量,以及其它一些次要的信息。当然,标签也反映了审美的感觉,以及酿造商的风格,那些看起来没有品味的标签、贴歪了的、被磨损的标签,都不能给我们美好的感觉。
 
观察色泽
把葡萄酒放在一个比较大的杯子里,注意不要超过杯子的三分之一。把杯子放在一个白色的背景前面,这样你就可以观察葡萄酒色泽是否清纯。你对葡萄酒的世界了解得越深,你对葡萄酒色泽的结论也就得到得越多。你会知道,色泽越深的葡萄酒,一般来说香气和口感也越浓郁,并且,你也会知道,那些粘在玻璃杯壁上的葡萄酒,和那些比较稀的葡萄酒相比,更丰富和饱满。最后,你也会知道,白葡萄酒在新鲜的时候,通常会有黄绿色泽,这种色泽随着时间的推移会变成更深的黄色,一直到强烈的金色。而红葡萄酒带有的紫色色泽,表明了它的年轻,当它变陈,就会变成陶红色泽。
 
转动葡萄酒杯,闻一闻
晃动葡萄酒杯中的酒,这样就能完全释放它的香气。在葡萄酒在杯中转动之后,你的鼻子慢慢凑近杯口边缘,去检测葡萄酒香气的强度、精细度、复杂度和类型。反复地重复以上的动作,直到你觉得把葡萄酒所有的香气特征都把握了位置。只有你的鼻子循序渐进地得到训练,才能熟悉各种不同葡萄酒香气的各种类型,才能创造一个葡萄酒香气的记忆库,这样在你品尝一种新葡萄酒的时候,就能搜索你已有的记忆库知识了。
 
啜一口
终于,到了品尝葡萄酒的时间!好好地啜一口……等等!先别喝下去。慢慢地,不急。让葡萄酒浸润舌头的每一个角落,在舌头上分布着辨识四种味道的味蕾——甜味,酸味,咸味和苦味。负责甜味的味蕾在舌尖部位,所以马上就能分辨出甜味来。酸味味蕾在稍后面一点,在舌头的侧面。苦味味蕾在舌根部位,所以在吞咽的时候可以尝出苦味。至于咸味,在葡萄酒中非常少见。品尝的诀窍在于嘴巴的后部,也就是鼻腔咽喉处。 所以,你会发现,所谓的味道其实很大程度上也就是香气,嘴巴的品尝和嗅觉也是密切相关的。在嘴里含一点葡萄酒,同时试着(从嘴里)吸一点空气进取。这会帮助香气更强烈地散发。模仿咀嚼的动作,让葡萄酒覆盖舌头的整个表面,然后再做出你的判断。
 
饮用的温度
没有适合的温度,没有任何葡萄酒可以给我们完全的享受。如果比适合的温度高出了那么一点,葡萄酒——无论红葡萄酒还是白葡萄酒——就会被带出所有的缺点来。如果比适合的温度低了一点,葡萄酒就不能展现其自身,因为它的香气被"锁住"了。
 
理想的饮用温度:
香槟,气泡葡萄酒,甜酒 7 ° C - 9 ° C
干白葡萄酒 8 ° C - 10 ° C
在橡木桶内酿造的干白葡萄酒 10 ° C -12 ° C
玫瑰红葡萄酒 10 ° C - 12 ° C
陈酿红葡萄酒 16 ° C - 18 ° C
 
杯具
只需要两三种葡萄酒杯,我们就能享用各种葡萄酒!不要用那些有图案、雕花和彩色的杯子。只用玻璃杯或者水晶杯,别的都不需要。我们也不要用很小的杯子,因为这种杯子不能让葡萄酒呼吸。我们可以选择相对较大的葡萄酒杯,就是高脚的杯子,杯子口要收窄,这样可以保存葡萄酒的香气。我们把葡萄酒倒入的时候,倒到三分之一的杯子容量,这样可以保持葡萄酒的最佳温度,也可以留有足够的空间让酒香集中。
 
葡萄酒杯的优点
葡萄酒杯让我们的手不会遮住我们观看葡萄酒的视线。这样,我们就能观察葡萄酒的色泽、清晰度、厚度。这种杯子也能让我们的手不会直接接触到杯壁,这样不会使葡萄酒的温度升高。另外,手持杯脚,远离杯口,这样我们手上的气味就不能影响到杯子里的葡萄酒的香气了。最后,手持杯脚也会使我们更容易地晃动酒杯。
 
哪些人可以尝尝?
所有人!任何嗅觉正常的人都可以品尝和品鉴葡萄酒。即使我们不太了解葡萄酒,也可以来表达我们对所品葡萄酒的看法。具有专业资质的品酒师的意见,使我们可以了解各种葡萄酒的特性,也能帮助我们正确评价葡萄酒。有一小群人具有嗅觉味觉的天赋,就像伟大的足球运动员、画家或者音乐家一样。所有人都可以踢足球,所有人都可以唱歌,可是只有少数人能成为贝利或者莫扎特!
 
好品酒师的资格
除了客观和精确的评价,一个好品酒师需要另一个品质:味觉记忆!味觉记忆对一个品酒师来说,比一个好鼻子要重要得多,因为没有味觉记忆,你品尝的每种葡萄酒只不过是一种味觉体验,无法和你品尝的其它葡萄酒做出比较。所以,味觉记忆越丰富,品酒师也就能越多地在脑海中存储各种香气和味道,在他品尝一种新的酒的时候,他也越能调动这些信息,帮助他正确地品鉴。
 
葡萄酒的缺陷
幸运的是,现在有缺陷的葡萄酒非常的少。今天,有缺陷的葡萄酒与是否批量生产或限量生产无关。那么,什么叫"有缺陷的葡萄酒"呢?渣滓是不是缺陷?软木碎屑掉在酒里算不算缺陷?在葡萄酒表面下的碳酸气泡是不是缺陷?这些都不是缺陷!沉淀的渣滓对于变陈的红葡萄酒来说是完全正常的现象。软木碎屑在开瓶的时候掉进酒里,用一把勺子在两秒钟里就可以被清除掉。最后,碳酸气泡也只不过是酿造商加在葡萄酒(特别是白葡萄酒)瓶子里,增加葡萄酒的活力的。
 
亚硫酸盐和散装葡萄酒
白葡萄酒,而非红葡萄酒,常常会含有过量的亚硫酸盐。这是因为,葡萄酒酿造商在白葡萄酒中加入更多的亚硫酸盐来抗氧化,而且还因为,白葡萄酒中的亚硫酸盐更容易被感知。很多半甜酒也含有高含量的亚硫酸盐,因为他们的无酵糖很容易在瓶子里发酵。最严重的当然是在散装葡萄酒里,这些酒里加的亚硫酸盐数值不可控,完全凭经验,所以最好还是购买瓶装葡萄酒。今天,如果酿造使用的葡萄是非常健康的,并且在酿造过程中使用最新的酿造技术,就可以大量减少亚硫酸盐的使用。
 
 
葡萄酒的生命在周期
葡萄酒是有生命的,它在不停地演进,消耗它的生命周期。它在酒庄中出生,在装瓶后进入它幼年生命的第一个阶段,然后进入青春期,逐渐成熟,它的成熟期大约是一年,然后它老化,最后死亡,变成了劣质的醋。每种葡萄酒的生命周期的长短是不一样的。有的在六个月中就度过了它的一生(比如博若莱新酒),有的是一年(比如绝大多数的白葡萄酒和玫瑰红葡萄酒),有的是4到5年,还有的是10到15年。还有的(比如Vintage Port, Madeira, Sauternes, Tokaji, Vinsanto,卡曼达蕾雅酒)需要几十年才能进入成熟期,并完成它们的生命周期。
 
单宁
这就是为什么大多数的白葡萄酒不能变陈:它们不含单宁!在萃取红葡萄酒的时候,葡萄皮和葡萄籽在葡萄汁中保留几天,这时候单宁就产生了。品质最好的单宁来自葡萄园的天然好土壤,这些葡萄园产量少,质量高,葡萄果都是精华。大产量的葡萄和比较弱的葡萄品种会把劣质的单宁带入葡萄酒中很多时候还是生的,这样它们就无法在瓶中演进了。这也解释了为什么有些红葡萄酒的口感始终无法软化的原因:因为劣质的单宁使它们口感粗而侵人。
 
单宁的作用
单宁在酒里的作用是多方面和暧昧的。单宁保护了葡萄酒不被氧化,帮助葡萄酒随着时间的推移而演进其品质。很重要的是,单宁的聚合使葡萄酒发展并成熟,所谓聚合就是单宁之间的连接,成为大分子聚合物,这样葡萄酒的口感就更圆润和柔软。红葡萄酒变陈的速度减缓、口感的饱满和圆润化,都很大程度上取决于单宁的聚合。
 
酒精度
酒精,正如我们所知的那样,具有防腐的功效。所以,酒精含量越高,葡萄酒就越不容易氧化。一个经典的例子就是Port酒,它们变陈的能力就来自于极高的酒精含量。不过,事情也不是那么简单。一个酒精含量高的葡萄酒(13.5-15%)不一定总是比一个酒精含量低些的葡萄酒(12.5-13%)变陈得更好,因为变陈业取决于很多其他的因素,以及这些因素之间的平衡。比如,如果一个葡萄酒酒精含量是14%,果汁较少,这并不意味着它就能变陈,因为果汁不能跟着酒精走,所以几年以后,这瓶葡萄酒就成了一瓶酒精含量高、而果汁根本不存在的不讨好的液体。
 
糖分和耐久力
甜酒也有一个对抗时间的武器:它们的无酵糖。糖分被普遍认为是防腐剂,保护葡萄酒和其它食品经受时间的侵蚀。许多甜酒无比的变陈的能力主要是由于它们的无酵糖,以及它们常常含有的高酒精含量。甜酒的酸度也很高,这是必须的,用来平衡它的糖分和酒精,这样的酸度也保证了甜酒的变陈能力。
 
优先的味觉
什么优先?是饭菜还是葡萄酒?我们是不是有一瓶很好的陈酿葡萄酒,可以用来招待?如果是,那么饭菜简单些,不要有很多的酱汁和调味,让我们的葡萄酒突出来。相反,我们饭桌上的饭菜十分丰盛、复杂、精美吗?那么,一瓶相对简单的好葡萄酒更能突出菜肴的美味。我们应该避免把两种好东西并排放在一起,这样的话,它们的光芒会互相影响并减弱。另外,我们的饭桌并不需要这样的争奇斗艳!

摘自雅诺斯·君士坦丁《葡萄酒的秘密》一书

wine

Is vintage wine always better?

 

The number of wines that will improve, or age, over time is much smaller than you think. White wine (with a few rare exceptions) does not mature, on the contrary, it is best drunk while it is still fresh, up to one year after harvest. The same with rosé: that should be fresh, too. The same for cheap red. Only red wine that has been produced by the best vineyards and from the best varieties of grape can age in the bottle, after maturing in oak barrels for a few months (12-24). Most sweet wines can also age for many years, some for several decades. Vintage champagne can also age for many years.

 

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laboratory

 

Room temperature

 

This is a complete myth! Whose room? A Greek room? French? Russian? Somewhere else? The famous 'room temperature' is nothing more than a vague idea, which tells us nothing about the ideal temperature at which wine should be drunk. Isn't it more useful to know that most red wines are drunk between 15-16°C, aged reds at 18°C and nouveau wines between 12-14°C.

 

 

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wine

 

Red with meat, white with fish

 

And who said we can't do the opposite: white with meat and red with fish? Chicken, pork, rabbit, in fact all white meat, if lightly cooked, can be served with a white wine that has been fermented and matured in oak, and so has a more intense, full flavour. On the other hand, fatty fish, like salmon or swordfish fillet, if cooked to be slightly spicy, would suit a light red wine, for example, a Burgundy, a Beaujolais-Villages, a Valpolicella or a fresh Agiorgitiko.

 

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wine

Read the label

 

The label is the wine's ID. A careful reading of the front and, on wines which have one, back label, is enough to tell you a lot of important information about it: the year it was harvested, the country and region it came from, the variety or varieties from which it was made, the producer, the level of alcohol, and a lot of other, somewhat less important details. Of course, the label also says a lot about the aesthetic attitude and seriousness of the producer, as a bad label will inspire us less than a more tasteful one; just as a label that has been badly stuck on, or is half torn, will put us off, when compared with one that is placed neatly on the bottle.

 

 

 

 

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wine

Swirl the wine and sniff

 

As you swirl the wine in the glass, you release all its aromas. Once you have finished, slowly place your nose over the edge of the glass and try and make out the intensity, the sophistication, the complexity and the type of the wine's aromas. Do the same thing repeatedly, until you feel that you have spotted all the aromatic signals that the wine is sending. Only after your nose has gradually become accustomed to the types of aromas to found in various types of wine, will you be able to create your own 'memory bank' of aromas that you can bring to the fore every time you try a new wine.

 

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wine

Take a sip

 

Finally! The time has come to drink the wine. Take a good sip and...Be careful! Don't swallow the wine immediately. Give it a little time. Allow it to flow over the whole of your tongue, where there are the taste buds responsible for recognising the four tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Sweetness is tasted at the front edge of the tongue, which is why it is spotted so quickly, sour is recognised further back, at the edges of the tongue. Bitterness is sensed at the back of the tongue, which is why it is tasted as we swallow. Salty is a taste rarely found in a wine. The great secret of taste is hidden at the back of the mouth, in a cavity which is, basically, part of the nose. You see, what we think taste is, in reality, is a large extent smell, as the mouth cavity connects to the olfactory centre. So, hold the wine in your mouth and try to draw in a little air at the same time. This will help it to express the aromas more intensely. Briefly pretend you are chewing, and let the wine cover the whole surface of the tongue, before coming to a final decision.

 

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wine

Serving temperatures

 

 

 

If it is not at the right temperature, no wine will be at its best. If the wine is warmer than it should be - whether red or white – all you will taste is what's wrong with it. A little too cold and it will close in on itself, 'locking up' its aromas.

 

 

 

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wine

Here are the perfect temperatures for serving wine:

 

 

 

 

Champagne, sparkling wine, dessert wine (sweet)7 ° C - 9 ° C
Dry white wines8 ° C - 10 ° C
Dry white wine aged in oak barrels10 ° C -12 ° C
Rosé wine10 ° C - 12 ° C
Aged red wine16 ° C - 18 ° C

 

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wine

Wine glasses

 

 

You can enjoy any wine in one of just three types of glass. Get rid of any glass that is decorated, engraved or coloured. Plain glass or crystal, nothing else. You should also avoid small wine glasses, as they will not allow the wine to breathe. You should go for quite large 'tulip' glasses, with a long stem and a long bowl, which gets narrower as it goes up, in order to trap in the wine's aromas. Fill the glass until it is one third full, to keep the wine at its ideal temperature, while leaving enough empty space for the aromas to collect.

 

 

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wine

The advantages of a stemmed glass

 

 

The stem on a glass allows you to hold it without your hands blocking your view of the wine. So that you can more easily check the colour, clarity and oiliness of the wine. A stemmed wine glass also allows you to hold it without your hands coming into contact with the sides of the bowl and affecting the temperature of the wine. Also, when you hold the glass by the stem, you have your hands away from your nose, so any smells that might be on your hands cannot easily get into your nose and mix in with the aromas of the wine. Finally, the stem helps you swirl the wine more comfortably and easily.

 

 

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wine

Who can try?

 

 

Everyone! Anyone with a nose in working order can try and appreciate wine. Even if you don't know much about wine, you are entitled to your opinion on what you are drinking. However, knowing something about the quality criteria on which wine is judged, can help you judge wine more correctly. Very few people are born with the gift of being able to taste wine. It is a great talent, like football, art, or music. We can all kick a ball or sing a song we love, but few of us are destined to become a Pelé or Mozart!

 

 

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wine

The attributes of a true connoisseur

 

 

Besides acute and objective judgment, a good connoisseur needs another ability: taste memory! The ability to remember flavours is more important for a connoisseur than the nose, since without this, every wine you taste is simply a fleeting experience that is useless as a point of reference or comparison with other, similar, wines. Therefore, the wider taste memory you have, the more you will be able to create a mental bank of aromas and tastes from which to draw information every time you try a new wine, which will help you decide where it is on the quality scale.

 

 

 

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wine

Bad wine

 

 

Fortunately, these days it is uncommon to find imperfections in wine. And if there are any, they are more to do with isolated bottles rather than whole batches. What does 'bad wine' mean? Is sediment in wine a sign it has gone bad? Should a little cork falling into the wine put you off? Are bubbles of carbon dioxide just below the surface of the wine in a glass a bad omen? None of the above are problems! Sediment is absolutely natural in an aged wine. Small pieces of cork that result from wine being opened awkwardly can be removed in a matter of seconds using a small spoon. Finally, the bubbles are nothing more than carbon dioxide that the producer left in the bottle to make the wine (especially white) a little more lively.

 

 

 

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wine

Sulphites and 'loose' wine

 

 

It is usually white wine rather than red that expresses strong sulphites. This is because the wine makers add more sulphites to the more sensitive and acidic whites, and because sulphites are easier to spot in a white wine than a red. There is often an increased level of sulphites in a semi-sweet wine, which may suffer from re-fermentation in the bottle due to unfermented sugars. The most dangerous, of course, is 'loose' wine, to which sulphites are added freely and by trial and error, which is why it is better to trust bottled wine. The need for sulphites can be dramatically reduced these days if the grapes are healthy and if modern wine making techniques are used during production.

 

 

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wine

The lifecycle of wine

 

 

 

 

Wine is a living organism, which evolves continually, charting its own course through its lifecycle. It is born in the winery and goes through the first stage of its youth just after bottling. It then goes through adolescence into maturity, where it remains for a while, before growing old and ultimately dying, taking on the form of bad quality vinegar. The length of the lifespan of every wine is different. Some go through their lives in six months (e.g. Beaujolais nouveau), some in a year (most whites and rosé), some in 4-5 years and some in 10-15. Some (e.g. Vintage Port, Madeira, Sauternes, Tokaji, Vinsanto, Commandaria) need several decades to complete their life cycle and reach absolute maturity.

 

 

 

 

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wine

Tannins

 

 

This is why white wines do not age well. They don't have tannins! Red wines get their tannins during the extraction phase, when the skins and pips remain in contact with the grape juice for several days. The best tannins are those that come from vineyards that grow in the most favoured soil and climate, which are cultivated to provide little fruit, but the best in terms of quality and concentration. Highly productive vines and weaker varieties give the wine poor quality tannins, which are quite often rough and do not improve in the bottle. Indeed, this is the reason why some red wines never develop a smoother flavour, because bad quality tannins will always remain coarse and aggressive.

 

 

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The effect of tannins

 

 

The effect of tannins in wine is multi-faceted and yet evasive. Their presence protects the wine from oxidisation, helping it to improve with time. A vital part of the development and maturation of wine is the polymerisation of tannins, when tannins join together and form large molecular clusters, which makes the wine more rounded and smooth. It is largely due to the polymerisation of tannins that red wine owes the reduction in roughness and the roundness and softness of taste that comes with time.

 

 

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wine

Alcohol

 

 

It is well known that alcohol can act as a preservative. Therefore, the more alcohol a wine has, the more protectedit is against oxidisation. A classic example is Port, which owes much of its ability to mature to its high alcohol content. However, things are not that simple. A wine with a high alcohol content (13.5 - 15%) does not necessarily mature better than one with less (12.5 - 13%), as successful aging depends on many other factors, chief among which is balance. If, for example, a wine has an alcohol content of 14% but is low in fruit, this does not mean that it will age, as the fruit cannot keep up with the alcohol, and in a few years it will be a wine rich in alcohol but without fruit, an uninviting liquid.

 

 

 

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wine

Sugar and endurance over time

 

 

 

Sweet wines have another weapon in their fight against time, their unfermented sugars. It is widely known that sugars act as a preservative, protecting not just the wine, but other food from the ravages of time. The unrivalled ability of many sweet wines to age is mostly due to their unfermented sugars, as well as their high alcohol content. Their high acidity, which is necessary to balance out the sugar and alcohol, also contributes to the wine's ability to age.

 

 

 

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wine

Priorities of taste

 

 

 

Which is most important, the food or the wine? Do you have a great aged wine that you want to show off? Then serve simple food, without lots of sauces and strong flavours, to allow the wine to take centre stage. Or are you serving a rich complex course of great gastronomic appeal? Fine. But the wine should be relatively simple, to allow this rare dish to shine through. You should avoid placing two stunning flavours side by side, as both will fight foryour attention. After all, you don't want to start trouble at your table!

 

 

 

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From the book by Giannis Konstantinou
«Wine and its Secrets»