Red wine is a fascinating drink. Archeological evidence shows that wine fermentation has been around since around or before 7000 BC, and it is still well-loved today. However, red wine today is a complex beverage with many features. People pride themselves on being connoisseurs of such a multifaceted substance, as it takes a long time to become well-versed in its particularities.
Here are seven interesting facts about red wine:
Fact #1: It takes a specific grape to make wine.
Red wine comes almost exclusively from the Vitis vinifera grape, of which there are between 5,000 and 10,000 different varieties. However, even with all of those varieties of grape available, a relatively small number of them are commonly used to make wine.
Some very common ones are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, although there are around 20 that make up most of the red wine people would commonly drink.
Fact #2: Wine tricks your nose
When tasting a red wine, one of the first steps is to smell it and find the flavours within. However, what many people are smelling – including earthy smells, berries, and herbs, are actually just the smells that come from the grapes themselves and their fermentation process, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those flavours were added into the wine.
The decisions winemakers make allow their wine to take on unique flavours and scents, which distinguish it from other wines. Climate, location, grape variety, and fermentation process, among many other factors, can change a wine’s scent and flavour.
Fact #3: The colour of wine changes
The colour of red wine comes from the skins of the grapes themselves. Although those same red grapes can be used to make white wines, when the juice is soaked in the skins, the grape skins act as a dye. Over time, red wine will lighten, unlike white wine which becomes darker with time. The colour of red wines can range from a deep purple to almost copper in colour, depending primarily on the age of the wine.
Fact #4: Wine boosts your health
Tannin, which is found in the skin of the grapes, is a naturally occurring substance which provides health benefits to the drinker, as do antioxidants which are also found in red wine. It is true that drinking a small amount of red wine has health benefits.
Certain types of red wines are better than others – for instance, young wine, dry wine and wine with lower alcohol content are better than older wines, wines with higher alcohol content, and sweeter wines.
Fact #5: Wine fits an endless number of tastes
Because of the many different factors that go into creating wine, there is pretty much something for everyone. Red wine will have a different taste based on the variety of grape used, how long it has aged, the methods used in aging, and a number of other factors.
Fact #6: Its tannin has many uses
While the tannin in a red wine offers some health benefits to the drinker, it also has other uses. First, it adds to the texture of the wine. A high tannin wine will be more dry than other wines. The level of tannin depends on how long the grape juice sits in the grape elements – skins, seeds, and stems – after the juice has been pressed. Tannin also acts as a natural preservative, so high tannin wines can age longer than others.
Fact #7: Red wine has a “body”
People who know their wines will often talk about a wine being light-, medium-, or full-bodied. Red wines that are described as full-bodied usually have lots of tannin. These wines fill the taste buds with flavour that lingers. Light-bodied wines are lighter in texture and will have fresher, fruitier flavours and probably lower tannin levels.