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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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  • Inglenook Rubicon 1981
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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      Currently Unavailable $95.99
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    • Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
      Cabernet Sauvignon from California
      • WS88
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      Currently Unavailable $180.00
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      200
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    • Chateau Beychevelle  1981 Front Label
      Chateau Beychevelle 1981
      Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
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        Currently Unavailable $99.99
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      • Silver Oak Napa Valley Bonny's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1981 Front Label
        Silver Oak Napa Valley Bonny's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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          Currently Unavailable $149.00
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        • Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1981 Front Label
          Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1981
          Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
          • RP92
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          Currently Unavailable $139.99
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        • Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1981  Front Label
          Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1981
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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            Currently Unavailable $139.97
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          • Chateau Latour  1981 Front Label
            Chateau Latour 1981
            Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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              Currently Unavailable $499.00
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              499
              499
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            • Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 1981
              Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                Currently Unavailable $26.99
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                26 99
                26 99
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              • Bodegas Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especial 1981  Front Label
                Bodegas Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especial 1981
                Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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                  Currently Unavailable $29.97
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                  29 97
                  29 97
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                • Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
                  Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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                    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                    14 99
                    14 99
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                  • Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
                    Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                      Currently Unavailable $79.97
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                      79 97
                      79 97
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                    • Chateau Gruaud Larose 1981
                      Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
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                        Currently Unavailable $94.99
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                        94 99
                        94 99
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                      • Opus One (no capsule) 1981 Front Label
                        Opus One (no capsule) 1981
                        Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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                          Currently Unavailable $369.97
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                          369 97
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                        • Chateau Haut-Brion 1981
                          Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
                          • WS87
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                          Currently Unavailable $100.99
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                          100 99
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                        • Chateau Mouton Rothschild  1981 Front Label
                          Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1981
                          Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
                          • WS91
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $230.99
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                          230 99
                          230 99
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                        • Chateau Petrus 1981
                          Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
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                            Currently Unavailable $620.99
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                            620 99
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                          • Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 1981 Front Label
                            Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
                            Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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                              Currently Unavailable $101.49
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                              101 49
                              101 49
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                            • Chateau Petrus (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1981
                              Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
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                                Currently Unavailable $836.99
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                                1,001 99
                                836 99
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                              • Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1981
                                Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
                                • RP91
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                                Currently Unavailable $343.99
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                                343 99
                                343 99
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                              • Diamond Creek Three Vineyard Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
                                Cabernet Sauvignon from California
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                                  Currently Unavailable $202.99
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                                  202 99
                                  202 99
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                                • Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum - signs of seepage) 1981 Front Label
                                  Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum - signs of seepage) 1981
                                  Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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                                    Currently Unavailable $280.97
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                                    280 97
                                    280 97
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                                  • Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum - signs of past seepage) 1981 Front Label
                                    Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum - signs of past seepage) 1981
                                    Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                    • WS92
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                                    Currently Unavailable $280.97
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                                    280 97
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                                  • Silver Oak Napa Valley Bonny's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1981 Front Label
                                    Silver Oak Napa Valley Bonny's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1981
                                    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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                                      Currently Unavailable $147.97
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                                      147 97
                                      147 97
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                                    • R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva 1981 Front Label
                                      R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva 1981
                                      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
                                      • RP95
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $239.00
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                                      239
                                      239
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                                    • Opus One  1981 Front Label
                                      Opus One 1981
                                      Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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                                        Currently Unavailable $299.00
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                                        299
                                        299
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