An Overview of Red Wine
The label and packaging of red wine can vary greatly. Its a mark of the creator and sometimes team of people that it takes to deliver a finished bottle. Its only a starting point to discovering the nature of whats inside. For red wine, there are many indicators on the bottle that elude to the moments to come. The varietal itself should spark some activity in certain parts of your brain. Some popular red varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet-Franc. There are many more red wine varietals, and the only way to truly discover them and classify them in your brain, is to simply begin the journey one varietal at a time.
Studying the bottle more closely will also reveal the location, appellation, or region of where the red wine grapes were grown or produced. It is truly remarkable to think of the diversity of geography, weather, culture, and economy that surrounds red wine making. Making red wine is a global endeavor and its only spreading. This said each location where the grapes are grown will bring out different qualities and characteristics in the grapes and eventually the red wine. This is known as terroir and embodies the grape varietals, the chemistry and make-up of the soil, the elevation, slope, sunlight distribution, geography of the soil, and climate conditions. In short, there are so many variables that influence the grapes that certain regions have developed their own personalities for red wine. Getting to know the impact of a region is much like learning about the different varietals themselves.
A year or vintage on the bottle marks the year in which the grapes were grown (or the majority of the grapes used in the bottle). When it comes to wine, including red wine, all of the influences on the grapes, and the fermentation, and aging process will result in different characteristics coming to light. Sometimes different vintages are blended to maintain consistency in the red wine character. In many cases, however it truly marks the year of the growth and harvest. With senses tuned to particular region, varietal, or bottle of red wine, these sometimes small to large differences in vintages will surface. And this is one of the exciting aspects of wine, following expected and not-so expected changes in the flavor and bouquet of some of your favorite red wines.