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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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  • Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1981
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
      0.0 0 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $149.97
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      149 97
      149 97
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    • Inglenook Rubicon 1981
      Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $95.99
        Try the 2015 Vintage 184 99
        95 99
        95 99
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      • Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
        Cabernet Sauvignon from California
        • WS88
        0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $180.00
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        200
        180
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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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          99 99
          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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            149
            149
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          • Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1981 Front Label
            Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
            Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
            • WS92
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $127.97
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            127 97
            127 97
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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
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $139.99
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            139 99
            139 99
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          • Chateau Latour  1981 Front Label
            Chateau Latour 1981
            Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
              0.0 0 Ratings
              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
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $26.99
                Try the 2007 Vintage 32 99
                26 99
                26 99
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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
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $369.97
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                        369 97
                        369 97
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                      • Chateau Haut-Brion 1981
                        Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
                        • WS87
                        0.0 0 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $100.99
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                        100 99
                        100 99
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                      • Chateau Petrus (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1981
                        Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
                          0.0 0 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $893.99
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                          893 99
                          893 99
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                        • Diamond Creek Three Vineyard Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 1981
                          Cabernet Sauvignon from California
                            0.0 0 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $202.99
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                            202 99
                            202 99
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                          • Chateau Petrus 1981
                            Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
                              0.0 0 Ratings
                              Currently Unavailable $620.99
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                              620 99
                              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
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $101.49
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                                101 49
                                101 49
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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
                                Try the 2016 Vintage 729 99
                                230 99
                                230 99
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                              • Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1981
                                Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
                                • RP91
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $343.99
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                                343 99
                                343 99
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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
                                  0.0 0 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $147.97
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                                  147 97
                                  147 97
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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
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $280.97
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                                    280 97
                                    280 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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                                  • 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
                                    0.0 0 Ratings
                                    Currently Unavailable $280.97
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                                    280 97
                                    280 97
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                                  • Opus One  1981 Front Label
                                    Opus One 1981
                                    Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
                                      0.0 0 Ratings
                                      Currently Unavailable $299.00
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                                      299
                                      299
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