Red wine is notable for its distinctive red hue. It is a wine type produced through the use of dark-coloured grapes. Most of the purple grapes that you come across do not result in red extractions. However, with the incorporation of skin pigments, the wine gets the attractive red hue that we have all come to love. It is important to note though that there are grape varieties with red flesh and thus squeezing such fruits should result in red wine, with or without the skin pigments. Making this wine mainly involves crushing the fruit for juice extraction and using the skin pigments to give the wine a lovely shade of red. The resultant tone can be anywhere from violet to brick red, depending on how old the wine is. Young wines tend to have deep violet colours.
The production process is quite elaborate and knowing the key steps to follow allows you to create red wine from the comfort of your home, which some people opt to do. For others, understanding the process works to whet their appetite for this age-old drink.
The entire production begins with the picking of suitable grapes. Some people use hand-picking while others opt for machine harvesting, with each method having its pros and cons. From here, the next step is to de-stem the grape bunches to avoid bitterness in the end product. Again, you can do this by hand or by machine.
The next stage involves lightly crushing the grapes with rollers, resulting in a mix of juice, seeds, skins, and grapes. This mix, also known as the must, is then transferred to a vessel where fermentation can then take place.
The yeast on the grape skins works on the must while in the vessel. This process results in heat, alcohol and carbon dioxide. The types of yeast used differ, as it all depends on the grape variety in play. From here, pressing takes place before subjecting the mix to malolactic fermentation. You can now rack and age the wine to perfection before filtration and bottling take place.
If the grapes are entirely healthy, there is no need for any additions before processing. However, if they have a high percentage of rot, it is essential to use sulphur dioxide which works as a preservative that to prevent oxidation. It also delays fermentation at an early stage. Macerating enzymes also come in handy to bring out the hues and the flavours in play. As for tannins, it is a matter of preference. Some people like them in the wine for the prevention of oxidation as well as for the stabilization of colour. Others opt to go without them, resulting in a wine that is just as good.
What red wines are on the market?
There are eight main types of red wine on the market. Have a look at what makes them unique:
This variety also goes by the name Shiraz, and it does well in California, Rhone Valley, and Australia. Its main notes are blackcurrant with a hint of meat and spices in the aftertaste. It is also notable for its gripping tannins which make it quite sensational. Some of the suitable pairings include meat dishes.
Merlot is quite interesting as it pairs with very many delicacies. This variety does well in many regions including Washington State, Italy, Australia, Romania, and California, among others. Notes featured include black cherry, herbs, and plums. People love it for its round texture.
If you have red meat on your table, then this wine will do you right when it comes to pairing. This variety does well in red wine appellations, except the Northern fringes. This full-bodied wine has a firm and gripping taste with rich currant notes.
This wine variety does well in the Bordeaux region, and it features notes of spice, plums, and berries. As for food pairings, foie gras and meat-based meals will do.
It is quite hard to grow this grape variety which features a delicate and fresh structure. With soft tannins in play as well as fruity aromas, it pairs great with grilled chicken and salmon.
This versatile grape variety mainly grows in California. Its zesty flavour makes it suitable for pairings with grilled meat, pasta, and pizza.
This medium-bodied wine does well when it comes to pairings with Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. Its fresh berry and plum aromas are quite distinctive.
The silky texture, as well as undeniable acidity featured in this versatile wine, makes it great for use when it comes to tomato sauce pairings as well as other dishes.
When it comes to red wine, the options available to you are quite many, and you should have no trouble in selecting a variety that goes down well with each meal.