Do you recall the wonderful comedy film Sideways?
It is basically a red wine oriented road trip in the California wine country where the two principal characters taste copious amounts of red wine while trying to manage some dramas in their own lives.
It is a genuinely funny film that has positively impacted many people with its dark humor and touching moments of people dealing with the full gamut of human emotions, including red wine tasting.
From a wine lover’s perspective, the great thing about Sideways is how it has inspired lots of people to become connoisseurs of fine red wine, especially Pinot Noir (a dry red wine). So much so in fact that sales of red wine (and pinot noir in particular grew significantly during and after its release.
Red wine derives its color from the grape skins used in making the wine.
There are many different grape types, all with their own unique shade of red which obviously influences the final red wine color, as well as how long the grape skins were left in with the juice before being removed.
Different Types of Red Wine
While there are numerous different types of red wine they are normally judged by their so called “body”. As an example, a light bodied red wine is one that is not too demanding on the mouth and taste buds and so it tends to go well with food that is flavor intensive. A good example of this kind of light wine is the French red wine Beaujolais Nouveau.
Next, there are the medium bodied red wines which are slightly heavier wine styles (such as Shiraz and Merlot) and finally heavy and powerful full bodied wines like French Bordeaux wines. Thee latter full bodied wines are denser and have higher alcohol content than the lighter styles.
Regardless of the red wine you prefer, there have been medically supervised studies which have resulted in scientists extolling the health benefits of wine.
How To Serve Red Wine
This type of glass allows the wine to breathe and swirl better as it is being consumed.
The ideal temperature to serve red wine is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 to 18 degrees Celsius). If you serve red wine too warm the alcohol can be overly emphasized and if too cold it will taste bitter.
Different Varieties of Red Wine
The best variety of red wine is the one which tastes the best to you. Within the different red wine types mentioned above are there are subtle variations from different wine growing areas around the world.
Here is a quick summary of some of the most popular red wine varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon is traditionally associated with the French region of Bordeaux but is now grown all over the world. It is typified by a taste reminiscent of black currants as it comes from small grapes with thick skins.
Merlot also is historically associated with the Bordeaux region of France but it has not been adapted worldwide like Cabernet Sauvignon as it requires more specific soil conditions. It is a rich, juicy wine with taste resembling fruit cake and black currant.
Pinot Noir originated in the French Burgundy region wineries and it is only recently that it has been produced successfully in other countries. The red wine produced by the pinot noir grape is initially akin to summer fruits but then after five to ten years of maturing, this taste changes dramatically to become much richer.
Shiraz or Syrah
Syrah is traditionally grown in the Rhone Valley but has become popular right across the world. It is very popular with people who prefer red wine with a fruity flavor which sometimes can be a little peppery.
Sangiovese is the most widely planted red grape in Italy and is famous for producing Chianti. It is not a particularly fruity wine but it goes well with all types of food, with a subtle taste of black cherries.
Nebbiolo is another of Northern Italy’s classic grapes and produces some of Italy’s finest wines from Barolo. The taste is similar to black cherries and occasionally chocolate, making it a rich flavorsome wine.
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