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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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  • Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir Front Label
    Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir
    Pinot Noir from Chile
      3.5 210 Ratings
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    • Bonanza by Chuck Wagner California Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 3  Front Label
      Bonanza by Chuck Wagner California Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 3
      Cabernet Sauvignon from California
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      • Two Vines California Cabernet Sauvignon Front Label
        Two Vines California Cabernet Sauvignon
        Cabernet Sauvignon from California
          3.7 68 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $8.99
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          8 99
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        • New Age Red Front Label
          New Age Red
          Other Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
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          • Red Diamond Temperamental Front Label
            Red Diamond Temperamental
            Other Red Blends from California
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            • Troublemaker Red Blend  Front Label
              Troublemaker Red Blend
              Other Red Blends from Central Coast, California
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              3.9 407 Ratings
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              18
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            • Bear Flag Eureka Red Front Label
              Bear Flag Eureka Red
              Other Red Blends from California
                3.9 6 Ratings
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              • Cupcake Vineyards Black Forest Decadent Red  Front Label
                Cupcake Vineyards Black Forest Decadent Red
                Other Red Blends from California
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                  15
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                • Altered Dimension Cabernet Sauvignon  Front Label
                  Altered Dimension Cabernet Sauvignon
                  Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington
                    4.3 21 Ratings
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                  • Middle Sister Wild One Malbec Front Label
                    Middle Sister Wild One Malbec
                    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
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                    • promisQous Red Blend Front Label
                      promisQous Red Blend
                      Other Red Blends from California
                        3.9 40 Ratings
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                        12 99
                        12 99
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                      • Fantini Edizione Cinque Autoctoni 18th Release  Front Label
                        Fantini Edizione Cinque Autoctoni 18th Release
                        Other Red Blends from Abruzzo, Italy
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                          Currently Unavailable $57.99
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