As an aperitif, or to accompany a quality meal, red wine is a bit essential for the epicurean. Often a symbol of elegance, it is sometimes considered difficult to access for novices. However, its diversity allows it to meet many expectations, and seduce almost all palates. Let's go into the details to discover all the secrets of red wine .
Red wines versus white wines and rosé wines
To fully understand what distinguishes a red wine from a white wine or a rosé wine, it is necessary to know the main characteristics of each, as well as their winemaking technique.
White wines are probably the furthest from red wine . Whether by the color of the robe, or by the grape varieties used, they belong to two different worlds. The white wine is then made from white grape varieties (varieties of white grapes), and if the manufacturing steps are substantially the same, the white wine does not go through the "malolactic fermentation" box.
White wines can be more or less sweet, and they have the particularity of containing no tannin. They are therefore generally lighter and fresher in the mouth.
Rosé wines have in common with red wines their black grape varieties (variety of black grapes). But the similarities end there, as rosé wine is produced using very different winemaking techniques. Rosé from direct pressing and rosé from saignée are therefore clearer and less intense wines than any red wine, even if they contain a little tannin.
Red wines are very special wines, made from black grape varieties. The attractive color of red wine characterizes them, as does the more or less marked presence of tannins, which gives a feeling of dryness in the mouth.
To obtain a red wine, the winemaker follows a long fermentation process which allows the transfer of red pigments from the skin of the grapes into the juice , and the transformation of sugar into alcohol, thanks to the yeasts.
In general, red wines are better able to age, in particular thanks to the presence of tannins , and the alcohol content is higher. These characteristics give red wine a more prestigious side, reserved for a more informed public. However, if you choose a good bottle of red wine , you can easily understand and appreciate all its qualities.
Red wine around the world
If red wine has such international success, it is because the main grape varieties from which it is made are relatively easy to grow and undemanding. Thus, there are vineyards dedicated to the production of red wine all over the world :
- In Europe, France is obviously very well positioned, as are Germany, Italy, Spain...;
- In Africa, it is mainly found in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and South Africa;
- In the rest of the world, red wine producers are mainly present in the United States, Mexico and Canada, but also in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, South America...
Finally, there is no region in the world that does not exploit its soil to produce red wine.
And on the consumption side, North America and Europe stand out as the biggest consumers of red wine in the world . And if, for many wine lovers, the heart swings between white wines, red wines and rosé wines, the English, the Italians, the Swiss and the Spaniards clearly have a preference for red wine, which represents half of their wine consumption.
The main grape varieties of red wines
In order for the wine to obtain this attractive red color, it is necessary to use grapes with dark skin. It is then the red pigments of the skin film of the grape berries, called anthocyanins, which will color the juice. Worldwide, there are hundreds of black grape varieties , but in France, winemakers basically use a few main grape varieties.
Cabernet Franc is a grape that is widely grown in the Loire Valley , but international winemakers also use it in Italy, Spain, the United States, Canada, Hungary and New Zealand, where the climate is rather cool.
This black grape variety gives red wines a deep colour , more or less marked depending on the wine-growing region. In the mouth, we often find aromas of red fruits and black fruits , as well as notes of spices and green herbs.
With its slight acidity, the red wine produced from Cabernet Franc goes perfectly with grilled meats, cheeses or vegetables.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a hybrid grape variety made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is particularly greedy in hot climates , which explains its presence in France, but also in Chile, California, Argentina and South Africa. In France, it is one of the main grape varieties of the Grands Crus of Bordeaux.
Red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon have a purplish red color , with a deeper spectrum. They then reveal aromas of black fruits (blackberry, blackcurrant) in the mouth, as well as notes of dried herbs and discreet touches of tobacco. These cuvées are often complex, powerful and intense wines, with good aging potential.
The qualities of Cabernet Sauvignon red wines work wonders with red meat, whether grilled or roasted, but also with dishes in sauce and tomato-based recipes.
Originating in Burgundy , Gamay (or Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc) is a cool-climate grape variety. Also it is cultivated particularly in Beaujolais , but also in Turkey, Canada and Switzerland.
The red wine made from Gamay is distinguished by its light, slightly purplish color. On the palate, it reveals flavors of red fruits (raspberry and blackcurrant), and it is often very appreciated for its beautiful freshness.
Its nuance of red fruits, its good acidity and its low tannin content make this wine an interesting choice to easily accompany all kinds of dishes: white meats, charcuterie...
Anecdote: in the Beaujolais wine region, Gamay is the only black grape variety that makes up the 10 crus of the appellation.
Thriving in cool to temperate climates , Pinot Noir is a grape variety used by winemakers in the Rhône Valley , Alsace and Savoie. Abroad, they can be found in Germany, Italy, Australia and the United States.
These complex wines offer a nice deep red . These are wines with flavors of red fruits , licorice and cloves. With age, they also release notes of undergrowth, spices and leather. They work wonders with white meats, goat cheeses, or even mushrooms.
Particularly enjoying hot climates , Malbec is found mainly in Bordeaux , the Loire Valley and Cahors, but it is also grown in Argentina and Chile.
The complex wines of this variety have a deep red , almost purple colour. These kinds of wine generally have fruity aromas (blackberry and black cherry), but we also appreciate the notes of spices and herbs. These dense wines go well with hard cheeses and grilled red meats.
Very present in Bordeaux , and throughout the South-West of France, Merlot is a red grape variety that likes hot climates . It is therefore frequently found in Italy and California.
A bottle of red wine made from Merlot displays a pretty ruby red color , which can tend towards purplish. This popular variety then gives fruity flavors , as well as hints of licorice or mocha.
With its light acidity and light tannins, red wine made from Merlot goes perfectly with red meats, but also cheeses and vegetables.
Tasty in hot climates , Syrah is a grape variety originating from the Rhône Valley . In France, it is found in the Côtes-du-Rhône and in the Languedoc. Internationally, it is grown in Australia, South Africa, Argentina and the United States.
These deep red wines reveal flavors of black fruits , with a spicy and peppery finish. Rich in tannins, these kinds of wine are pleasant with fatty, but not very spicy foods, red meats, or creamy cheeses.
The red wines of our estates
If you like the fruit flavors of red wines, you will be charmed by our selection of bottles of red wine from our estates in Provence .
- Grande Cuvée rouge 2019 - Domaine de Berne - AOP Côtes de Provence : this emblematic cuvée in organic conversion presents flavors of black fruits;
- Château des Bertrands red 2019 - AOP Côtes de Provence : this red wine from Provence seduces with its beautiful aromatic structure;
- Great Red Harvest 2019 - AOP Côtes de Provence : this authentic red wine reveals aromas of black fruits, liquorice and pepper.
Would you like to offer a good bottle of red, or complete your collection? Red wines are very diverse, and offer very different qualities depending on the grape variety. You now know how to choose a good bottle, and enjoy the best red wines .