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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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  • Bonanza by Chuck Wagner California Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 3  Front Label
    Bonanza by Chuck Wagner California Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 3
    Cabernet Sauvignon from California
      4.3 121 Ratings
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    • Avaline Red Blend  Front Label
      Avaline Red Blend
      Rhone Red Blends from Vin de France, France
      • WW89
      4.2 105 Ratings
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    • Dark Horse Double Down Red Blend Front Label
      Dark Horse Double Down Red Blend
      Other Red Blends from California
      • TP90
      3.8 380 Ratings
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    • Dark Horse Big Red Blend  Front Label
      Dark Horse Big Red Blend
      Other Red Blends from California
      • TP90
      3.6 537 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $8.99
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    • Red Schooner by Caymus Voyage 8 Front Label
      Red Schooner by Caymus Voyage 8
      Malbec from Argentina
      • WW90
      4.5 91 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $44.99
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    • Two Vines California Cabernet Sauvignon Front Label
      Two Vines California Cabernet Sauvignon
      Cabernet Sauvignon from California
        3.7 88 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $8.99
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      • Red Diamond Temperamental Front Label
        Red Diamond Temperamental
        Other Red Blends from California
          3.5 64 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $9.99
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        • Cupcake Vineyards Black Forest Decadent Red  Front Label
          Cupcake Vineyards Black Forest Decadent Red
          Other Red Blends from California
            3.9 47 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $10.99
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          • Chateau de Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press Red Blend  Front Label
            Chateau de Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press Red Blend
            Grenache from Vin de France, France
            • JS90
            3.7 52 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $13.99
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          • New Age Red  Front Label
            New Age Red
            Other Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
              3.8 282 Ratings
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            • Elouan Pinot Noir (375 ML half-bottle) Front Label
              Elouan Pinot Noir (375 ML half-bottle)
              Pinot Noir from Oregon
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                Currently Unavailable $13.99
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              • Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Front Label
                Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon
                Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
                  3.4 147 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                • Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir Front Label
                  Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir
                  Pinot Noir from Chile
                    3.6 218 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $7.99
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                  • Smoking Loon Red Loon Red Wine Blend  Front Label
                    Smoking Loon Red Loon Red Wine Blend
                    Other Red Blends from California
                      3.5 78 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $8.99
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                    • Begonia Sangria (1 Liter) Front Label
                      Begonia Sangria (1 Liter)
                      Other Red Blends from Spain
                        4.1 34 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $11.99
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                      • Meiomi Pinot Noir  Front Label
                        Meiomi Pinot Noir
                        Pinot Noir from California
                          0.0 0 Ratings
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                        • Shebang Thirteenth Cuvee Red  Front Label
                          Shebang Thirteenth Cuvee Red
                          Other Red Blends from California
                            3.6 8 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                          • Tutto Mio Vino Rosso Dolce  Front Label
                            Tutto Mio Vino Rosso Dolce
                            Other Red Blends from Emilia-Romagna, Italy
                              0.0 0 Ratings
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                            • Bear Flag Eureka Red Front Label
                              Bear Flag Eureka Red
                              Other Red Blends from California
                                4.2 10 Ratings
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                              • Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione  Front Label
                                Borgo Scopeto 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione
                                Sangiovese from Chianti Classico, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
                                • WS94
                                • JS91
                                0.0 0 Ratings
                                Currently Unavailable $66.99
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                              • Locations by Dave Phinney I-6  Front Label
                                Locations by Dave Phinney I-6
                                Other Red Blends from Italy
                                  4.0 8 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $20.99
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