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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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  • Hidalgo Tradicion H Gran Reserva 2012  Front Label
    Hidalgo Tradicion H Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L Magnum) 2012 Front Label
    Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L Magnum) 2012
    Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
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  • CVNE Gran Reserva 2012 Front Label
    CVNE Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
    • TA93
    • RP91
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  • Marques de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva 2012 Front Label
    Marques de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • Lamborghini Trescone 2012 Front Label
      Lamborghini Trescone 2012
      Other Red Blends from Umbria, Italy
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    • Tapiz Seleccion de Barricas Red 2012 Front Label
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      Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
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    • Avignonesi 50&50 2012  Front Label
      Avignonesi 50&50 2012
      Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
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    • Terra Valentine Amore 2012 Front Label
      Terra Valentine Amore 2012
      Sangiovese from Napa Valley, California
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      • Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico 2012  Front Label
        Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico 2012
        Aglianico from Campania, Italy
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        Mas Janeil Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2012
        Rhone Red Blends from Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, Roussillon, South of France, France
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        Bongiovanni Barolo 2012
        Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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        Chalone Gavilan Estate Pinot Noir 2012
        Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
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          Poggio San Polo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012
          Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
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          Frescobaldi Castiglioni Giramonte 2012
          Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
          • WW93
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        • Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 Front Label
          Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012
          Sangiovese from Chianti Classico, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
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        • Vietti Barolo Riserva Villero 2012  Front Label
          Vietti Barolo Riserva Villero 2012
          Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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        • Delectus Cabernet Franc 2012  Front Label
          Delectus Cabernet Franc 2012
          Cabernet Franc from Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California
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