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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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  • La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2012 Front Label
    La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Marques de Caceres Rioja Gran Reserva 2012  Front Label
    Marques de Caceres Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Bodegas Fernando Remirez de Ganuza Rioja Reserva 2012  Front Label
    Bodegas Fernando Remirez de Ganuza Rioja Reserva 2012
    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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  • Tapiz Seleccion de Barricas Red 2012 Front Label
    Tapiz Seleccion de Barricas Red 2012
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
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  • CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva 2012 Front Label
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    Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • RP93
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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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    • R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza 2012  Front Label
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      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • Carmelo Patti Cabernet Sauvignon 2012  Front Label
      Carmelo Patti Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, Argentina
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    • La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 Front Label
      La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012
      Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
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      Terredora di Paolo Fatica Contadina Taurasi 2012
      Aglianico from Italy
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      • D90
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      Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012
      Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
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    • CVNE Gran Reserva 2012 Front Label
      CVNE Gran Reserva 2012
      Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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    • Finca Antigua Crianza 2012 Front Label
      Finca Antigua Crianza 2012
      Other Red Blends from La Mancha, Spain
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    • Meteor Vineyard Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Front Label
      Meteor Vineyard Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
      Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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    • Maldonado Parr Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Front Label
      Maldonado Parr Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
      Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
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      Capezzana Ghiaie della Furba 2012
      Other Red Blends from Tuscany, Italy
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      Finca Adalgisa Malbec 2012
      Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
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      • Bodegas Campillo Reserva Selecta 2012  Front Label
        Bodegas Campillo Reserva Selecta 2012
        Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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      • Domaine Nerantzi Syrah 2012  Front Label
        Domaine Nerantzi Syrah 2012
        Syrah/Shiraz from Macedonia, Greece
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          Rocca delle Macie Roccato 2012
          Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
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            Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012
            Sangiovese from Chianti Classico, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
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            Dominio de Atauta Llanos del Almendro 2012
            Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain
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            Frescobaldi Castiglioni Giramonte 2012
            Tuscan Blends from Tuscany, Italy
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          • CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2012 Front Label
            CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2012
            Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
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