"We will serve no wine before its time." Orson Welles for Paul Masson winery
Let's come up with a definition of fine wine. It is definitely not drug store wine. The cost is actually not the most important thing. The flavors must blend together, there must be a bouquet, and it must be memorable. Bad wine is worse than no wine at all.
Based on balance, length of time lingering on the tongue, complexity, and tepidity.
Balance is the combined presentation of its characteristics: fruit, acidity, neutrality and the existence of some tannin. Because some winemakers are anxious to serve the new wine, these tannins indicate the immaturity of the wine and may be a factor in a wine's over-freshness. A new wine should be fully brewed, definitely young, but also mature; not old and wooden from spending a year time in the barrel.
Length of time is another important factor in judging fine wines. It should linger on your tongue, maintaining a presence in your mouth for awhile after serving. It should be something that isn't so quick to flee from your palate.
The fruit chosen for wine is most always grapes. If not it is noted on the bottle – pomegranate wine, elderberry wine, etc. It should not be too sweet or too bitter.
Acidity is also necessary, but must be controlled. The sugar of the fruit is eaten by the yeast. This conversion causes fermentation but it shouldn't be so strong as to upset the person's biological disposition.
Neutrality is important too. In everything exists also nothingness? This nothingness is needed to balance out the strong personalities of fruit, acidity and so on which are overpowering in their own right.
Some wine categories have been proposed by wine connoisseur Clive Parker. They are: Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, and Grand Vin. In reality, very few wines will reach the Grand Vin level. Wine making is not an exact science, of course, but it has some parameters which can be taken into consideration. We have come to believe that the 90 plus category is the minimal level for fine wines.
The art of wine making began in Georgia as early as 6000 BC and in the Balkans in the 4500 BC time frame. The Greek god Dionysius and Roman god Baccheus were the ancient heralded gods of wine. This was a nutritious drink often mixed with water after a large meal to aid in the digestive process and finish off the meal. Of course, wine may also be enjoyed without the water. It was in these days that the philosopher Pliny the Elder so eloquently stated, "In wine there is truth."
In today's wine market, there are many wonderful wines to choose from. Some may be from France, Mendocino California or the Mediterranean. A fine wine may be most readily identified by its label, though vintages may drastically vary. Let your senses be your guide in choosing a suitable beverage for that special meal, regardless of the label, price or environment you find yourself in.