Red wines are made from the fermented juice of dark colored grapes. The red and purple colors in the wine are derived not from the green flesh of the grape, but rather the dark pigments found in the skin. Red wines are fermented with the grape skins, allowing for extraction of colors, acids, and tannins.
Wines are generally named after either the variety of grape they are made from (Merlot, Chardonnay, Grenache), or the region where they are made (Bordeaux, Champagne).
Beaujolais can refer to any wine made in a specific region of France. Although some white wines are made in the Province of Beaujolais, the majority is a light bodied red made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais wines tend to have lower tannin concentrations, giving them a fruitier, fresher flavor.
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The name Bordeaux can refer to any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Bordeaux is the largest wine producing area in the country. The vast majority of Bordeaux wine is red, with blends consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes being the most common. Bordeaux wines are known for tannic, full bodied, dark fruity flavors, and can also be referred to as 'clarets'.
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Burgundy wine is made in the Burgundy region of France. Wines referred to as Burgundys are usually dry red wines that are made using Pinot Noir grapes. These wines generally have full bodied, complex earthy flavors.
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Cabernet Franc is a very popular type of grape that is grown in regions around the world. It's origins have been traced to southern France in the 17th century. It produces a lighter red wine, with floral, fruity, and peppery flavors.
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Wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is produced worldwide, and represents a large portion of all red wines sold everywhere. The grape is quite hardy and easy to grow, which has contributed to its popularity. Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have cherry and plum flavors, and sometimes cedar woodiness as well.
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Chianti wine is produced in the Chianti region in Tuscany, Italy. Most Chianti wines are made with a blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes. Chianti wines are known for dark cherry, and subtle spicy flavors.
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Grenache is one of the most popular red wine grapes in the world. The grape is generally grown in warmer climates, and is believed to have originated in Spain. Grenache wine tends to be softer with berry and pepper flavors.
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Ice wine is a very sweet wine that is made from grapes that were left to freeze while still on the vine. The freezing concentrates sugars in the grapes, which gives a smaller yield of much sweeter wine. Ice wines are made from a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Vidal, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. All ice wines are very sweet and are considered 'dessert wines'.
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Malbec is red wine made from the grapes of the same name. Malbec grapes have a dark, purplish, inky color that leads to a strong, dark red or violet wine. The Malbec grape is believed to have originated in France, and is often used as a component in blended French wines such as Bordeaux. Malbec wine tends to have dark fruit flavours, reminiscent of berries or plums, along with floral undertones.
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Merlot is one of the most planted red wine grapes in the world. Merlot grapes tend to be a dark bluish color, with soft flesh. Merlot is an early ripener, which gives it a a softer character that is well suited to blending with higher tannin wines (such as Cabernet Sauvignon). The Merlot grape is originally from France, and is commonly used in blended French wines such as Bordeaux. Merlot wines tend to be soft and sweet, with plum and earthy flavors.
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Montepulciano is a red wine grape that originates from Italy. Due to the fact that Montepulciano grapes tend to ripen later than other varieties, they are generally only grown in more temperate climates such as those of central and southern Italy. Montepulciano wine tends to be smooth, with mild tannins and a deep, full bodied flavor.
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Port is a fortified red wine that originated in the Douro Valley region of northern Portugal. In some places wine labelled as 'Port' must only come from this specific region, but similar wines are now being made all over the world. The majority of Ports are very sweet, and Port is commonly served as a dessert wine. Port wine is sweet, rich and heavy, and generally has a higher alcohol percentage than other wines.
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Sangiovese is the most popular variety of red wine grape to originate from Italy. Sangiovese grapes take longer to completely mature, so they are generally grown in warmer climates that are similar to that of central and southern Italy. Sangiovese grapes are commonly one of the most prevalent in many Italian blended wines, most notably Chianti. The wine of the Sangiovese grape is known for spicy strawberry and earthy flavors with a lighter body.
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Shiraz (or Syrah) is a dark grape that is used to make red wines worldwide. Its initial origins have been traced to southeastern France, but it has been grown in regions around the world for decades and Shiraz is one of the most planted red wine grapes internationally. Shiraz wine is know to be full bodied, with jam and spicy licorice flavors, although the taste can vary depending on the climate of where the grapes were grown.
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The name Valpolicella refers to wines made in the Valpolicella district of northeastern Italy. The majority of wines produced in the Valpolicella district are blended reds which generally consist of Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes in varying ratios. Wine has been made in this region for thousands of years, dating back to the time of ancient Greece. Most Valpolicellas are light bodied, with sour cherry flavors that are similar to French Beaujolais.
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Zinfandel is is a black colored wine grape that is believed to originate from Croatia. The Zinfandel grape is now grown in regions around the world, but is particularly popular in California. Zinfandel wines tend to be robust and full bodied, with berry, spice and pepper flavors.
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