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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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  • Chateau Petrus  1971 Front Label
    Chateau Petrus 1971
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
    • RP95
    • WS94
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    Currently Unavailable $1,999.00
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  • Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 1971
    Sangiovese from Chianti Classico, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
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      Currently Unavailable $107.49
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      128 49
      107 49
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    • Charles Krug Vintage Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1971 Front Label
      Charles Krug Vintage Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1971
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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        Currently Unavailable $319.00
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        319
        319
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      • Chateau Mouton Rothschild (5 Liter Bottle) 1971 Front Label
        Chateau Mouton Rothschild (5 Liter Bottle) 1971
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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          Currently Unavailable $2,999.00
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        • Giacomo Conterno Dolcetto d'Alba 1971 Front Label
          Giacomo Conterno Dolcetto d'Alba 1971
          Dolcetto from Alba, Piedmont, Italy
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            Currently Unavailable $46.99
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            46 99
            46 99
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          • Ceretto Barbaresco Ceretto Montefico 1971 Front Label
            Ceretto Barbaresco Ceretto Montefico 1971
            Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
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              Currently Unavailable $99.99
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              99 99
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            • Chateau Figeac  1971  Front Label
              Chateau Figeac 1971
              Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
              • RP94
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              Currently Unavailable $176.99
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              176 99
              176 99
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            • Contratto Barolo Riserva del Centenario 1971 Front Label
              Contratto Barolo Riserva del Centenario 1971
              Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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                Currently Unavailable $149.99
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                149 99
                149 99
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              • Inglenook Charbono 1971 Front Label
                Inglenook Charbono 1971
                Bonarda from Napa Valley, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                  59 99
                  59 99
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                • Villadoria Barolo Riserva Speciale 1971 Front Label
                  Villadoria Barolo Riserva Speciale 1971
                  Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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                    Currently Unavailable $69.99
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                    69 99
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                  • Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio Monprivato Barolo 1971 Front Label
                    Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio Monprivato Barolo 1971
                    Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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                      Currently Unavailable $582.99
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                    • Camille Giroud Volnay Les Santenots Premier Cru 1971 Front Label
                      Camille Giroud Volnay Les Santenots Premier Cru 1971
                      Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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                        Currently Unavailable $340.99
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                        340 99
                        340 99
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                      • Bersano Cremosina Barbaresco Riserva Speciale 1971 Front Label
                        Bersano Cremosina Barbaresco Riserva Speciale 1971
                        Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
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                          Currently Unavailable $99.99
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                          99 99
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                        • Giacomo Conterno Barbaresco 1971 Front Label
                          Giacomo Conterno Barbaresco 1971
                          Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
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                            Currently Unavailable $263.99
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                            263 99
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