Learn about red wine — the range of styles, how it’s made and more ...
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.
Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Veedercrest Steltzner Cabernet Sauvignon 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Heitz Cellar Bella Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon (high shoulder fill) 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Chateau Langoa Barton 1978Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
Charles Krug Claret (signs of past seepage) 1978Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
Chateau Lafite Rothschild (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1978Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Chateau La Lagune Haut Medoc 1978Bordeaux Red Blends from Medoc, Bordeaux, France
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 1978Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
Les Forts de Latour 1978Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Heitz Cellar Bella Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Currently Unavailable $199.00Try the 2016 Vintage 249 99199199Save $0.00 (0%)
Heitz Cellar Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1978Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Currently Unavailable $209.00Try the 2013 Vintage 249 99209209Save $0.00 (0%)
R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva 1978Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Contratto Barolo Riserva del Centenario 1978Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Remoissenet Richebourg Grand Cru 1978Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Borgogno Barbaresco 1978Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
Joseph Phelps Alexander Valley Zinfandel 1978Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Villadoria Barolo Riserva Speciale 1978Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Bruno Giacosa Arione di Serralunga d'Alba 1978Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy