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Red Wine

Learn about red wine — the range of styles, how it’s made and more ...

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What are the types and styles of red wine?

Ranging in style from light and full of finesse to bold and structured, red wine is produced in almost every wine region of the world. Though there are about 35 varieties that contribute to the majority of red wine production, countless native varieties are important not only to local culture, but to the diversity of globally traded wine. Warmer, sunnier climates produce robust and concentrated wines while cooler regions, where long, even grape ripening and thus natural acidities create some of the world’s most elegant red wines.

How is red wine made?

To make red wine, the pressed grape juice is left in contact with its skins—a process called maceration—in order to draw out color, tannins and phenols (compounds responsible for the complex aromas and flavors in wine). Occurring before, during or after fermentation, whereby yeasts turn grape sugar into alcohol, longer macerations in general produce bolder red wines (with a point of diminishing returns). Red wines benefit from a resting period of a few months to a few years in wooden barrels (or other containers) before release to the market.

What gives red wine its color?

Red grape skins give color to the finished wine through the maceration process. In general, shorter time on skins results in lighter red tones; longer time gives deeper red tones. On top of that, each grape type has a unique hue. For example Nebbiolo is typically pale garnet, Merlot is often bright ruby and Syrah can be opaque purple.

How do you serve red wine?

The idea that red wine should be served at room temperature came about in ancient France when the indoor temperatures were likely to be about 60F. Chambre, for “room” in French, described a wine that had been brought to this “room temperature” from the cellar. Today if you don’t have the luxury of keeping your red wine in a proper cellar or wine refrigerator, a trick of the trade is to put the bottle you plan to serve in the refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes to cool it down to about 55F to 60F for lighter bodied wines and to 60F to 65F for fuller bodied wines. As for drinking red wines, the best red wine glasses have a stem and a bowl large enough to allow swirling without spilling. Aromatic reds fare best in glasses with a wider bowl to allow full release of the bouquet.

How long does red wine last?

Opened, a bottle of red wine will stay fresh in a cool, dark environment for one to two days, maybe longer. Unopened, red wines stay good for one year to several decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning to strategically store red wine, seek the advice of a wine professional.

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  • R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2008  Front Label
    R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2008
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Marques de Caceres Rioja Gran Reserva 2012  Front Label
    Marques de Caceres Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • WE92
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  • Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2015  Front Label
    Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2015
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • CARO Amancaya 2017  Front Label
    CARO Amancaya 2017
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
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    • WW91
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  • CVNE Imperial Reserva Rioja 2015 Front Label
    CVNE Imperial Reserva Rioja 2015
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • D90
    4.3 78 Ratings
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  • R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva 2008  Front Label
    R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva 2008
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • JS94
    • RP93
    4.0 5 Ratings
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  • Montes Alpha Series Syrah 2017 Front Label
    Montes Alpha Series Syrah 2017
    Syrah/Shiraz from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
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    • D92
    • TA91
    4.1 240 Ratings
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  • Vieux Chateau Certan  2017 Front Label
    Vieux Chateau Certan 2017
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
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    • WE96
    • D93
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  • Vina Bujanda Reserva 2013  Front Label
    Vina Bujanda Reserva 2013
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir 2018 Front Label
    Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir 2018
    Pinot Noir from Leyda Valley, San Antonio Valley (Chile), Chile
    • TA91
    • WS90
    3.4 120 Ratings
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  • Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva 2015  Front Label
    Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva 2015
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • TP93
    • TA93
    • JS92
    4.0 63 Ratings
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  • Vina Cobos Cocodrilo 2017  Front Label
    Vina Cobos Cocodrilo 2017
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
    • TA92
    4.8 7 Ratings
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  • Hacienda Araucano Humo Blanco Organic Pinot Noir 2018 Front Label
    Hacienda Araucano Humo Blanco Organic Pinot Noir 2018
    Pinot Noir from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
    • JS91
    • TA90
    4.0 31 Ratings
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  • Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2015 Front Label
    Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2015
    Merlot from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
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  • Vina Leyda Single Vineyard Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2018  Front Label
    Vina Leyda Single Vineyard Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2018
    Pinot Noir from Leyda Valley, San Antonio Valley (Chile), Chile
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    • WS90
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  • Beaumont Pinotage 2016  Front Label
    Beaumont Pinotage 2016
    Pinotage from South Africa
    • TA90
    4.0 9 Ratings
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  • Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita Altamira 2015  Front Label
    Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita Altamira 2015
    Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
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  • Verum Malbec 2017  Front Label
    Verum Malbec 2017
    Malbec from Patagonia, Argentina
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    • TA90
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  • CVNE Vina Real Reserva 2014 Front Label
    CVNE Vina Real Reserva 2014
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • TA93
    • RP91
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  • De Toren Z 2015 Front Label
    De Toren Z 2015
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Stellenbosch, South Africa
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  • Almaviva (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2016  Front Label
    Almaviva (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2016
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Maipo Valley, Chile
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  • Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Reserva Finca Martelo 2014  Front Label
    Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Reserva Finca Martelo 2014
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Badenhorst Family Red Blend 2017  Front Label
    Badenhorst Family Red Blend 2017
    Other Red Blends from South Africa
    • TA94
    • RP92
    4.2 6 Ratings
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  • Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Rioja Reserva 2014 Front Label
    Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Rioja Reserva 2014
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • TA93
    3.9 11 Ratings
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  • La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Tinto 2005  Front Label
    La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Tinto 2005
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • TA98
    • WS95
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    3.8 5 Ratings
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