Part 8: Fascinating Reds

Fascinating Reds

Here we are again talking about different wine styles.

One thing I would like to repeat, is to avoid saying, or even thinking that you don’t appreciate a type of wine, either a white or red. I always say “leave the door open, give it another chance”. It may have occurred that the wine you have experienced was faulty or had gone bad. So, let’s always remain open to new wine experiences.

The styles of red wines are determined by two major factors, the grape varietals and the wine-making procedures.The vast assortment of grape varietals range from grapes that are reddish, deep purple and even a beautiful blue tonality. These grapes lead to wines classified by colour descriptors expanding from garnet to light red, ruby red, dark red, deep violet, orangeous to brownish red. As you see, even just taking about colour, we have many ways to describe what we have in our glass.

The colour of the wine comes from the skins and derives from the contact with the grape’s juice during the fermentation process, allowing the assimilation of colour and tannins. The length of time the grape juice stays in contact with the skins but also with the stalks and the seeds, determines not only the colour, but the body of the wine.

From here we have the classification of wines by body-type, referring to the mouth-feel and tannin structure, and flavour.

A light-bodied red will have fewer tannins, less structure, less alcohol content (under 12,5%) and fruttier aromas and flavours. These wines are easy-drinking wines that well match with lighter dishes and not-too-aged cheeses. Pinot Noir, Grenache, Lambrusco are only a few examples of light-bodied reds.Medium-bodied reds offer fruit and floral aromas, delicate spices and herbs. Balanced tannis, moderate acidity and alcohol content (from 12,5-13,5%) give these reds great food pairing characteristics. Cabernet Franc, Barbaresco, Chianti, Merlot are only a few examples of grape varieties that can give medium-bodied red wines but we must not forget it mainly depends on where the grapes are grown and the winemaking techniques used.Full-bodied reds feel heavier and thicker in the mouth due to higher tannin, alcohol and sugar content. The colour comes from the skins of the grapes, as some grapes have thicker skins than others, with darker, red-purple tonalities. Tannins naturally come from the seeds and stems of the grapes. A higher content of tannins will give a fuller wine body or structure. Higher alcohol levels increase the viscosity of wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Nero d’Avola, Nebbiolo, Petit Syrah and many others are grape varieties that with correct winemaking technique and patient barrel-aging, will give fantastic full-bodied red wines. These powerful reds are well-paired with equally substantial and hearty dishes as spicy grilled steak, roast lamb, succulent braised venison. Mouth-watering, indeed!


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