Red wine is a category of wine made from crushing and fermenting whole, dark-colored varieties of grapes. The red coloring comes from a pigment found in their skins. There are various types that have differing shades and tastes.
What are some types of red wine?
- Merlot - It is known to be smooth and considered to be in the middle of the red spectrum, as it has medium acidity. Generally, Merlot is paired with chicken and other light meats. It is described as having cherry, plum, vanilla, and clove overtones.
- Cabernet Sauvignon - It tends to be full-bodied with high acidity. The boldness is a well-balanced match for meals containing heavier meats such as lamb and steak. It has essences of mint, green bell pepper, and cassis.
- Syrah - Also known as shiraz, it is medium to full-bodied. Flavorings and aromas associated with this type are berries, espresso, dark chocolate, and black pepper. It can be paired with cured meats, lamb, and pork.
- Pinot Noir - Typically, this wine is a light to medium-bodied variety that is versatile in food pairings. It is dry with dominating fruit characteristics such as cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry.
- Zinfandel - It is lighter in color than Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has moderate tannins but high acidity giving it a bold character, primarily consisting of licorice, cranberry, blueberry, plum, and boysenberry notes. This type pairs suitably with curries, spiced dishes, and lighter meats.
What are tannins?
Found in grape skins and seeds, and oak, they provide a textural component that gives wine its dry taste. They are naturally occurring polyphenols that are believed to have health benefits due to antioxidant properties. If you drink a wine that creates a dry-mouth feel, that is due to the effect of tannic acid. Some examples of high tannic wines are Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Low-tannic types include Merlot and Pinot Noir.
What should you keep in mind when buying wine?
Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to a wine choice. When choosing one to suit your palate, consider tannic levels, acidity, type of body, and flavor profiles. Consider purchasing varieties that offer a good balance, complexity, and intensity of flavors.
How do you serve red wine?
Most can be served slightly cooler than room temperature, at approximately 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Lighter-bodied types can be served even cooler, at 55 to 60 degrees. Bottles can be chilled for a short time (30 minutes in a refrigerator) to bring the liquid to the recommended temperatures. Choose wide-bowled glasses with more surface area. This characteristic allows for more breathability. You may choose to decant your wine before serving; decanters help with aeration and to separate the liquid from any accumulated sediment.