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.
- Red Wine2006
- Cabernet Sauvignon469
- Bordeaux Red Blends223
- Pinot Noir209
- Other Red Blends159
- Rhône Blends35
- Tuscan Blends18
- Cabernet Franc14
- Other Red Wine12
- Petite Sirah9
- Nero d'Avola1
- Pinot Meunier1
Ornellaia Masseto 1997Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997Other Red Blends from Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy
Joseph Phelps Insignia (stained label) 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1997Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo 1997Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
Manuel Jose Colares MJC Colares Tinto 1997Other Red Wine from Portugal
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington
Baron de Magana Reserva Tinto 1997Other Red Blends from Navarra, Spain
Louis Jadot Beaune Theurons 1997Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Domaine Joblot Givry Clos du Cellier Aux Moines Premier Cru 1997Pinot Noir from Givry, Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy, France
Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Opus One (stained labels) 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
Inglenook Rubicon 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
PlumpJack Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Harlan The Maiden 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Chateau Lynch-Bages 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Chateau Duhart-Milon 1997Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Martin Ray Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1997Cabernet Sauvignon from Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley, California