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Red Wine Vs. White Wine: A Novice’s Breakdown

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Ever attended a wine tasting, only to feel lost when the guests milling around the party creatively define their preferences and styles in wine?

Wine tasting is an art; red or white, the fabled alcoholic blend is actually one of the most complex beverages in the world. It takes years of study for a person to be adequately defined as a wine sommelier.

There is nothing like sampling some wines to make you truly appreciate the craft that is wine-making. Ever thought about a trip to the wine country? If you do plan on booking a wine tour soon, then start off by polishing your wine skills with the most essential knowledge: the difference between red and white wines.

In The Beginning…

The fundamental difference of these two wines is in how they are made. Both are created by compressing grapes to gather the juice for fermentation. The processes for red and white wine differ at this point.

Unlike white wines, where only the juice is used for fermentation, red wine mixtures are incorporated with the skin and seeds of grapes as well. These solid components are later filtered, by which time they have given that bold red color to the wine:

Tannin Tangents

So what is so special about the grape seeds and skin that changes the color of a wine so drastically? In simple terms, these parts of a grape contain tannins. Tannins are found in a number of woods and plants which are typically used to create tea mixtures.

While both white and red wines contain tannins, the levels are quite low in white wines and considerably high in red wine. The dryness you experience in most red wines is the effect of high amounts of tannins. White wines are filtered meticulously before the main production process to give it that clear look and buttery effect.

Light, Medium & Heavy

If you have been to a wine tasting, you could not have possibly missed out on the word “body” being added in wine descriptions. Though wine’s body basically defines its tannin levels, it also covers the alcohol content and the fermentation style.

Heavy, or full-bodied, wines primarily consist of red varieties, the most common ones including Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet. On the other hand, the predominant light body wines are the white varieties, such as Chardonnay.

Strength In Flavor

Red wines by nature are stronger, with a richer color and a complementing deeper flavor. Red wines can be infused with a variety of flavors, such as fruity, spicy and meaty. These wines are exquisitely delicious with heavy meals, especially steaks and roasts.

White wines are lighter and crisp in feel, with a flavor which is typically described as fruity, or even citrusy. These blends tend to pair well with fish, chicken and other light meals such as pasta.

So the next time you have a glass of wine at that next tasting, hopefully you will be able to make a great impression on the guests with your newfound wine knowledge.

In the meantime, how about booking a wine tasting tour to learn more about some of the famous wines in the world? Artisan Excursion offers convenient wine tours in Solvang and the surrounding regions of Santa Ynez. Call us today to escort you to an exciting wining adventure!

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