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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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  • Ornellaia Masseto 1996 Front Label
    Ornellaia Masseto 1996
    Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    • WE93
    • WS92
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  • Caves Sao Joao Poco do Lobo Tinto 1996  Front Label
    Caves Sao Joao Poco do Lobo Tinto 1996
    Other Red Blends from Portugal
    • RP92
    4.9 12 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $55.99
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    55 99
    55 99
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  • Jones Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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    • Tenuta Luce  1996  Front Label
      Tenuta Luce 1996
      Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
      • WS90
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      Currently Unavailable $99.97
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    • Tenimenti d'Alessandro Il Bosco Syrah 1996
      Syrah/Shiraz from Tuscany, Italy
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      • Flora Springs Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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        • Rockford Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
          • RP92
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          74 97
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        • Dominus Estate 1996 Front Label
          Dominus Estate 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
          • RP95
          • JS94
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $249.00
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          249
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        • Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1996  Front Label
          Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
          • RP93
          • WS92
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        • Chateau Lynch-Bages  1996 Front Label
          Chateau Lynch-Bages 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
          • RP93
          • WS92
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $219.97
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        • Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1996  Front Label
          Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
          • WS94
          • RP94
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          319 97
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        • Chateau Leoville Barton  1996 Front Label
          Chateau Leoville Barton 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
          • RP93
          • WS91
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $199.97
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          199 97
          199 97
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        • Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1996  Front Label
          Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1996
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
          • WS92
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $298.97
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          298 97
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        • Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 Front Label
          Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
          Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
          • WS90
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          109 97
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        • Chateau Leoville Poyferre  1996 Front Label
          Chateau Leoville Poyferre 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
          • RP93
          • WS90
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $139.00
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          139
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        • Chateau Haut-Brion (stained label) 1996 Front Label
          Chateau Haut-Brion (stained label) 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
          • WS93
          • RP92
          0.0 0 Ratings
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          629 97
          629 97
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        • Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Proprietary Red 1996 Front Label
          Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Proprietary Red 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
          • RP95
          • WS90
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          149 97
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        • Joseph Phelps Insignia 1996 Front Label
          Joseph Phelps Insignia 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
          • RP95
          • WS93
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $229.97
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          229 97
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        • Bernardus Marinus Estate 1996 Front Bottle Shot
          Bernardus Marinus Estate 1996
          Bordeaux Red Blends from Monterey, Central Coast, California
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            Currently Unavailable $47.99
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          • Chateau Lafon-Rochet  1996 Front Label
            Chateau Lafon-Rochet 1996
            Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
            • RP90
            0.0 0 Ratings
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          • Quintessa  1996 Front Label
            Quintessa 1996
            Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
            • WS91
            • WE90
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            144 99
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          • Chateau Clerc Milon  1996 Front Label
            Chateau Clerc Milon 1996
            Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
            • RP90
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            124 97
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          • Chateau Petrus  1996 Front Label
            Chateau Petrus 1996
            Bordeaux Red Blends from Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
            • WS94
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          • Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 1996
            Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
            • WS88
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            Currently Unavailable $58.99
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            63 99
            58 99
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          • Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina 1996 Front Label
            Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina 1996
            Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
            • RP95
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $249.97
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            249 97
            249 97
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