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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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  • Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Front Label
    Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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  • Joseph Phelps Insignia 2002 Front Label
    Joseph Phelps Insignia 2002
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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    • WS96
    • W&S93
    • WE92
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  • Chateau Haut-Brion  2002 Front Label
    Chateau Haut-Brion 2002
    Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
    • WS93
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  • Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002  Front Label
    Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
    • RP100
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  • Alban Seymour's Vineyard Syrah 2002 Front Label
    Alban Seymour's Vineyard Syrah 2002
    Syrah/Shiraz from Central Coast, California
    • RP96
    • WS95
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  • Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2002  Front Label
    Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2002
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes Mares 2002  Front Label
      Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes Mares 2002
      Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
      • RP94
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    • Corison Kronos Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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      • Chris Ringland Shiraz 2002 Front Label
        Chris Ringland Shiraz 2002
        Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
        • RP100
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      • Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (3 Liter Bottle) 2002
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
        • RP91
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      • Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Front Label
        Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
        Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
        • RP100
        • WS94
        • CG93
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      • Robert Foley Vineyards Claret (3 Liter - signed) 2002  Front Label
        Robert Foley Vineyards Claret (3 Liter - signed) 2002
        Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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        • Greenock Creek Creek Block Shiraz 2002 Front Label
          Greenock Creek Creek Block Shiraz 2002
          Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
          • RP96
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