Red wine is the world’s most popular choice of wine. The great red grapes of the world make the wines that will age best and, with the exception of Sauternes and Riesling, the majority of wine collectables are red. Red wine is heavier than white wine, although it does not always contain more alcohol.
Red wine in moderation is good for health. Resveratrol, a natural component of red wine, appears to contribute to a reduction in the risk of heart disease, cancer, and certain other diseases. Perhaps this is why the toast “to your health” is used worldwide when drinking wine.
The colour of red wine comes from either red or purple grapes. Red wine can also be produced from white grapes. Red wines contain tannins, which provide the characteristic bitter flavour. The more tannins, the more bitter the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, the strongest-flavored red grape, is high in tannins. The tannins serve as a natural preservative, which explains why red wine ages so well and can be stored for many years without spoiling.
Red wines are best served in a thicker glass with a wide bowl to allow the wine to breathe before drinking. It is best to store reds at 60-65 degrees. An over-refrigerated wine will taste too bitter and some flavours will be masked, while the alcohol will be exaggerated. When red wine is served too warm, it can have a “baked” taste. In general, the more powerful the wine, the warmer it can be served.
The body of the wine is used to describe the amount of tannins–in combination with the depth, complexity, and strength of the flavours. Being called “light-bodied” is not necessarily an insult. The great Gamay wines are light-bodied, as are some Pinot Noirs. Merlot, Syrah, and Chianti are usually medium-bodied. The fullest-bodied wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Italy’s Super-Tuscans.
The flavours of red wine vary greatly. Common flavours include cherry, plum, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, currant, raisin, fig, pepper, cinnamon, tobacco, leather, and violet. Oak ageing tends to introduce a vanilla character and sometimes a slight woody flavour.
Red wine is made in every single winemaking country in the world. The most famous red wine regions are Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhône in France; Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy; the Barossa Valley in Australia; and California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.
Continue to read more about red wines here.