When you hear the words red wine what comes to mind? Do you picture row upon row of barrels aging in a cool wine cellar just waiting for the perfect moment to bottle their delicious contents? Or do you picture yourself enjoying the ruby-red libation in your own glass?
Whichever is your fantasy, in reality, red wine is a very popular alcoholic beverage made from dark-coloured grape varieties. Most red wines get their colour from pigments in the skins.
The resulting wine varies in colour and can change as the wine ages. The colours can range from violets through reds and even to browns for very mature red wines.
Evidence of red wine can be found as early as 6000BC, being made in Europe, Asia and Iran. North America saw red wine production much later, around the 1800s.
The production of wine typically involves crushing the grapes to extract the juice, adding yeast and letting the mixture ferment. Of course, today’s wineries use modern equipment and methods to ensure clarity and flavour of the resulting product. Many vintners have decades of experience behind them, adding to the unique flavour of their particular winery’s creations.
The flavours of red wine can be described as fruity, aromatic, spicy, earthy, astringent and full-bodied. Characteristics such as acidity, alcohol level and sweetness round out the description. As with other wines, the flavours and characteristics of red wine come from a combination of where the grapes were grown and the processes used in their making.
Ontario red wines have many fine characteristics and flavour profiles due to the climate of the Niagara region in particular. Many very enjoyable and complex reds can be found in this fertile growing area.
Red varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir top the list of favourites. These can be paired with food or enjoyed on their own. Successful pairings can be made with seafood, poultry or beef. The most flavourful cheeses would also be well accompanied by a red wine.
Remember to cook with red wine too. It is excellent for marinating, deglazing or as an ingredient in many dishes.
Are you counting calories? A typical glass of wine contains approximately 100-125 calories. The good news is that most wines can be considered “low carb.”