Types of Red Wines

National Drink Wine Day

Red wines are dry in profile, which means they contain no more than 0.2% unfermented sugar. Fermentation is the process by which sugar is transformed into alcohol. In other words, grape juice interacts with yeast to become wine. The following are different types of red wine:

Merlot

Color: 

Medium to deep purple

Acidity:

Medium

Body (the impression of weight on the palate)

Medium-Full (think milk: light is skim, medium is whole, and full is cream)

Ideal Temperature 

59-65 degrees Fahrenheit (When sitting in an average house temperature of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit, leave the bottle in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving)

Aromas and Flavor

Merlot from Napa & Sonoma (California) is fruity and toasty. You'll find black cherry and plum flavors with blackberry and chocolate aromas. When aged in oak, it's layered with notes of clove, vanilla, and cedar.

Saint-Emilion (Bordeaux, France) produces Merlot with earth elements such as vegetal (bell pepper, green bean, under ripped fruits) and tobacco leaf.

  • Moderate to high alcohol: 13-14% abv (Alcohol By Volume) from cooler regions of France or 14.5% abv when grown in warmer climates like California
  • Stays fresh with a new cork in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. To avoid oxidation after four days, cook it in a braised meat or vegetable dish.

Red Zinfandel

Color

Deep ruby

Acidity

Medium

Body

Medium-Full (whole-cream)

Ideal Temperature

59-64 degrees Fahrenheit

Aromas and Flavor

Red Zin is fruity and spicy, though it can also carry earthy notes. You may find blackberry flavor with tobacco or turned soil aromas.

Red Zin from Lodi (CA) is fruity and spicy with plum, fruit jam, licorice, and black pepper elements.

Puglia (Italy) produces Red Zin with fruity, spicy, and floral touches of black cherry flavor and leather with violet aroma.

  • 15-16% abv or 20% abv for late harvest

Pinot Noir

Color

Pale to medium ruby/garnet

Acidity

Medium-High

Body

Light-Medium (skim-whole)

Ideal Temperature

55-60 degrees Fahrenheit

Aromas and Flavor

Cherry is the flavor profile and aromatic component of this light and fruity bouquet. Though Pinot Noir also contains a toasty and earthy touch.

The American Viticultural Area of Sonoma County produces Pinot Noir with notes of raspberry, vanilla, and tree bark.

Pinot Noir from Central Otago (New Zealand) holds hints of allspice and fresh soil aromas.

For Pinot Noir that has elements of strawberry, toasted oak, and forest floor look for wines from Cote D'or (Burgundy, France).

Cabernet Sauvignon

Color

Deep ruby

Acidity

Medium-High

Body

Medium-Full (wholesome-creamy)

Ideal Temperature

55-65 degrees Fahrenheit

Aromas and Flavor

Cabernet Sauvignon is fruity, spicy, woody, vegetal, and floral.

Left-Bank (Bordeaux, France) produces Cabernet Sauvignon with black currant (Cassis) and green pepper flavors with black olive and charred oak aroma.

For Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of blackberry, plum, licorice, and tobacco look for wines from Stellenbosch (South Africa).

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa has a black cherry flavor with clove, cedar or cigar box, and violet elements.

Malbec

Color

Medium to deep purple

Acidity

Medium

Body

Medium-Full

Ideal Temperature

60-65 degrees Fahrenheit

Aromas and Flavor

Malbec from Mendoza (Argentina) is a black cherry flavor and carries aromas of plum, cocoa, and violet.

For Malbec with hints of cassis, smoke, leather, and forest floor look for wine from Cahors (France).

You'll also find fruity, toasty, floral, and earthy elements with touches of blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, licorice, and green stem elements in some Malbecs.

Syrah/Shiraz (in Australian)

Color

Deep purple

Acidity

Medium-High

Body

Medium-Full

Ideal Temperature

59-64 degrees Fahrenheit

Aromas and Flavor

Northern Rhone (France) produces Syrah with notes of cherry, raspberry, white pepper, and cured meat.

Shiraz from Barossa (Australia) is a plum flavor that holds hints of sweet spice, and licorice.

If you're looking for Syrah with blackberry and pepper flavor with elements of smoked meat, violet, and mint look for wine from Walla Walla (Washington).

You'll find other Syrah have touches of dried herbs and black olives.

 

All red wines are fruity, but some offer spicy, toasty, floral, earthy, woody, vegetal, and herbaceous components. The bouquet gives each wine quality of its own. These mixtures allow you to determine what makes a good impression on your palate. When selecting wines be aware of these characteristics. Get familiar with the locations of production and perhaps the time of harvest as this can affect alcohol levels. Ripe and unripe grapes will alter the flavor profiles.


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