All about Red Wine
From light and fruity to bold and oaky, red wine offers an unending expansion of flavors and textures that inspire all kinds of descriptions. They may be sweet or dry, have more or less acid or tannins, or include aromas from flowers to fruit to even gravel and earth. You'll hear about wines that are silky, robust, powerful and well-structured. These descriptors are largely influenced by the organic chemicals red wines are made up of- polyphenols like tannins, resveratrol and many other plant compounds.
A major quality of many red wines is its tannic characteristic and body. Tannins, a type of molecule that wine shares with tea and dark chocolate, tend to make the mouth feel dry while adding complexity to the flavor. The trick to pairing foods with a higher concentration of tannins are to serve with something rich in fat or salt. This will complement the bolder flavors of the wine and balance out the dry mouthfeel. The body of a wine describes the weight of it in your mouth. Is it powerful or playful? Does it feel delicate or bold? Super Tuscans and California Cabernet Sauvignons are generally considered full-bodied reds. Merlot and Chianti are typically medium-bodied, while something like a Beaujolais is considered light. A good rule of thumb to pairing food with wine is pair light bodied wines with lighter meals like roasted chicken and seafood. Pair full-bodied wines with heavier meals like steak and pasta. As you shop our wines, be sure to check the icons in the “Goes Well With” section for a few clues on great pairings.
The color of wine comes from the skin of the red grapes from a plant pigment called anthocyanin. The juice of red or black wine grapes is clear on pressing. Generally, the longer the skins sit in the pressed juice, the darker the wine. Different varieties take on different tones and depth of red color too, from brick to eggplant, running right through cherry and magenta. You can even make a white wine of red grapes or a blush wine by separating the juice sooner rather than later. However, as these wines age, they become lighter in color.
Red wines typically age better than white wines because the color and tannins help preserve the juice for a longer period of time. When aging wine, proper storage is pertinent. Keep the wine on its side at cool, constant temperature, preferably 55 degrees. It is best away from light and vibration with a nice balance of humidity. If the air is dry, oxygen will seep into your wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon is typically full-bodied with notes of dark fruit. With a nice balance of acidity and tannin, they tend to be dry. Cabernet’s robust yet subtle flavors play well with rich meals, such as red meat or creamy pastas.
Learn more about Cabernet Sauvignon.
Merlot is a very drinkable wine that pairs deliciously with food or is easily consumed on its own. It has juicy flavors of plum, cherry and chocolate, perfect for short ribs and pork loin.
Learn more about Merlot.
Pinot Noir pairs well with almost any food, from rich red meats and cheeses to duck, salmon, and even ribs. Pinot Noirs tend to be lighter in color and flavor, with bright, red fruit notes of strawberry and fresh cherry over undertones of earthy, floral notes.
Learn more about Pinot Noir.
All Bordeaux comes from the Bordeaux region of France and are primarily associated with the red blend that primarily has black currant, plum, graphite, and cedar flavors. The tannins are high enough where it makes for the perfect wine to age well.
Learn more about Bordeaux Blends.
Malbec tends to be deeply colored, rich with fruit and velvety in texture, but with enough structure and tannin to age well too. Its fruit flavors tend towards the dark end of the spectrum—blackberry, blueberry, and especially plum.
Learn more about Malbec.
Classic Zinfandel is a rich, dark red with medium to high tannins and a pretty substantial alcohol level derived from the grape’s high sugar content. Each Zinfandel has a particular flavor profile, from fruity to spicy or complex.
Learn more about Zinfandel.
Sangiovese is Italy’s most popular red wine grape varietal. It is naturally a little lighter with more fruit flavors like strawberry, but also hosts savory vanilla and oak flavor from the barrels it is aged in.
More on the savory side than many wines, Tempranillo’s flavor is less fruity. There are medium tannins and body that tends towards brick color rather than magenta.