Red Wine Basics

red wine basicsRed Wine Basics

By Mark Adams

Mark is a professional winemaker, former winery owner, author and frequent speaker on wine.  He currently teaches wine classes throughout the United States.

Lets go over some red wine basics.  Remember, for most people it takes a while to develop your taste for red wine and most people like white before they like red. So if you try red now and don’t like it, that OK.

Try again in a few months. It’s amazing how your tastes will change even in a short time.

All right, red wines. Color…

Red wines range from light burgundy to almost a dark purple. If you recall from a previous video, we mentioned that the skins are what give red wine its color.

Some grapes, like cabernet sauvignon, have a very thick skin and thus more pigments to make the wine darker.

Pinot Noir on the other hand is usually a very light colored wine because it has very thin skin.

All you need to know is that color is caused by the grape skin.

As wines age, most wines will also darken slightly.

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The body. Red wines have much more body or feel heavier on the tongue that white wines. In part because they naturally have a little more sugar than white wines, which when fermented leads to a higher alcohol percentage than white wines.

Since alcohol is more dense that water, it feel heavier than white wines.

Red wines also tend to be stored in oak. Oak has tannins and some are transferred to the wine making it feel heavier than unoaked wine.

BTW, if you sometimes think you taste vanilla, its because oak naturally imparts a vanilla taste to the wine.

If you taste a smoky, BBQ type flavor, the wine was probably stored in a toasted oak barrel. The winemaker has a tremendous amount of ways to make their wines.

That’s why you sometimes like a variety and sometimes you don’t. You’re responding to the winemaker’s style.

The flavors. Some common flavors in red wines are plums, cherries, black currants and various other berries and maybe even something fun like licorice.

I would encourage you to watch the variety videos first to understand them and then come back and watch them again as you taste each variety.

You could taste any brand you like, but since your are just sampling, the small 187 ml sample bottles may be all you need and you might actually save a few bucks, as well.

OK, this covers some of the red wine basics.  I hope it helps

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