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The Different Colors Of Wine And What They Indicate

The Different Colors Of Wine

Color is the first thing we see when we pick up a bottle of wine. Color may indicate where the varietal comes from and how it was made. Pigmentation, extraction, and color can affect anything from a wine’s appearance down to how it ages. Every variety of wine has a story that defines it and the color is but one indication of what a specific wine is truly about.

The Story Behind Wine’s Coloring

When it comes to the grapevine, the hue of the respective berry is an indicator of the vine’s ability to survive, its growth, and the evolution of its surroundings.

Usually, in red wine, the hue is a way to determine the age-ability of the product and how it might feel in terms of texture on the tongue. It’s also a way for producers to make decisions that impact the stability and longevity of the plant.

How Does Wine Use Its Color?

Plants use color in many fascinating ways. With grapevines, the younger and bright red leaves use their pigment to fight off herbivores. The red leaves act as a shield against the piercing rays of the sun. As they mature, the greener hue represents that they’ve grown less vulnerable.

The grape berries use their pigments to attract animals to eat them. This helps the plant seeds to be dispersed across a much larger territory than the vine itself would be capable of. When it comes to white grapes, they’re only seen in two distinct mutations.

Their lack of pigment makes it harder for them to be dispersed and puts them at a definite evolutionary disadvantage. In order to expand their reach, these grapes will require the help of humans.

Factors That Influence Grape Color

As a plant grows, a variety of pigments will come into play to help the coloration process. This includes carotenoids, chlorophyll, and betalains. The versatile anthocyanin is the pigment that dominates the process.

What is anthocyanin? It’s a phenolic compound that is, to an extent, structurally similar to tannins. There are 20 different types prevalent among vinifera grapes.

This pigment presents itself in different hues. This hue depends on the type of grape and the pH levels of the grape’s surrounding tissue. In essence, the lower the pH levels are, the more you’ll find the color to shift toward the redder end of the visible light spectrum. The higher the pH levels are, the bluer the hues will shift.

What Happens To The Color Of Grapes During Fermentation?

As the winemaking process speeds up, the pigment is extracted as soon as the crushing of the grape takes place. The pigment is usually soluble, but only at lower temperatures. Five to eight days into the maceration process, color extraction reaches its greatest point in concentration. This is referred to as the ‘ceiling’. There will almost always be a bit of a decline after this level of concentration has been reached.

The color’s concentration can be tweaked with the help of techniques that increase co-pigmentation. Co-factors like monomeric phenolic compounds (quercetin and gallic acid) will bind with anthocyanin during extraction, leaving them stagnant until needed for later polymerization.

What Else Does Anthocyanin Affect In A Grape

Greater reductive strength can only be achieved with the help of shorter and more abundant tannin and color polymers. Reductive strength and the capacity of antioxidants (or the ability to absorb oxygen without oxidizing) is what truly shapes the longevity of the wine.

Tannins will grow and polymerize until they’ve reached their full capacity. At this point, they’ll be capped on each end by a color molecule.

This phenomenon occurs when a higher ratio of color to tannin leads to much shorter polymers and perhaps, a greater reductive strength.

This ultimately means that there’s an ability to absorb oxygen over time without any oxidation taking place.

Simply put, the hues that we see in wines are preserved and retained by bonding with tannins, and vice versa. When it comes to the mouthfeel, a softer experience will mean that shorter anthocyanin-tannin polymers are prevalent.

On the other hand, higher astringency results from longer tanning chains that are shaped by a low ratio of anthocyanin to tannins. In other words, this is when polymerization occurs in the absence of oxygen.

Conclusion

Winemakers can use the science of color to tweak their wine to best suit their brand or taste goals. In some cases, color can even be utilized to help extend the lifespan of a specific wine.

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How To Properly Chill Wine

chilling wine

Does keeping the wine bottles vertically in the fridge chill it faster than wrapping it in a wet towel? What’s the best way to chill bottles from your favorite red wine club? What about adding wine cubes to the wine?

Reaching the right temperature is vital for the best wine drinking experience. Read on to explore the importance of best temperatures and methods for chilling wine.

Finding The Right Temperature

When it comes to wines, chilling properly is crucial for revealing the tannins, body, and tasting notes of the wine without muting them. However, reaching the ideal drinking temperature varies widely between different types. For instance, biodynamic and organic wines from organic wine clubs and vegan wine clubs should be served more lightly chilled than their sparkling wine contemporaries.

1. The Right Temperature for Reds

From the tannins that seep out from the skin and seeds of the grapes to meticulous aging, red wines are processed differently from whites and other popular varieties. You need to figure out the body and dryness of the wine to properly cool it for serving.

Here’s the ideal temperature for serving red wines:

  • Light-bodied reds should be kept in the fridge for 1.5 hours at 550F.
  • Medium-bodied reds should be kept in the fridge for over one hour at 600F.
  • Full-bodied reds should be kept in the fridge for 45 minutes at 650F.

Too much warmth in red wine can make it feel soupy whereas freezing-cold red wines might taste duller and bland without any pronounced flavors. Moreover, red wines are best served after one hour of uncorking to allow them to breathe.

2. The Right Temperature For Whites

Although best served cold, white wines shouldn’t be icy-cold. The cold temperature accentuates the acidity and body of the wine to reveal subtler notes. If your white is too cold, it can often seem sharp, just like warm white wines taste acidic.

  • Light-bodied-whites are best served at 450F to 500F with up to two hours in the refrigerator.
  • Medium-bodied-whites gain the best notes at 500F to 550F with light chilling.
  • Full-bodied-whites express the best tastes at 500F to 600F.

Keep in mind that mature whites are best stored in the cellar than in the refrigerator.

3. The Right Temperature For Fortified Wines

Dessert wines and fortified wines require careful cooling because of the sweetness and sugar contained within. If you chill it too long, aroma and the flavor can become edgy whereas warm fortified wines may taste like syrup.

  • Vintage Port service is recommended at a temperature of 66˚0F.
  • NV/ Tawny Port is best consumed at 570F.
  • Dry fortified wines get the best notes at 500F.
  • Medium-bodied fortified wines can be chilled up to 530F.
  • Sweet fortified wines require standard cooling at 650F before serving.

Typically, fruity fortified wines are served chilled, unlike mature ones often served warm.

4. The Right Temperature For Rosés and Sparkling Wines

When it comes to Rosé wines, uncorking and letting the bottle sweat for a few minutes before serving reveals its flavors and aromas better than full-chilling. However, sparkling wines and champagnes need chilling to enhance the carbonation if you like the bubbles. Find out which is the right temperature for both.

Rosé wines: 

  • Dry Rosé is considered flavorsome at 460F to 570F.
  • Medium Rosé is recommended to be chilled at 550F to 600F.
  • Sweet Rosé should be cooled to 500F to 600F prior to serving.

Champagnes and Sparkling wines:

  • Sparkling wines are best enjoyed at 400F to 450F.
  • Champagnes and premium bubblies should be served at white wine temperature or 380F to 450F.

How To Reach The Right Temperature

Besides planning in advance, fermented drinks must be handled with care when chilling. Before you mimic all the methods advised on the internet for cooling wines quickly, check out which ones actually work.

Best Wine Chilling Methods That Work

  • Icy brine bath: Fill a bucket with ice, water, and salt to chill wines in less than 15 minutes.
  • Ice cubes: While ice cubes melt and change the tastes, they are the best in wine cocktails.
  • Bucket cubes: You can also fill up a bucket with ice cubes.
  • Reusable ice cubes: The stone-chilled cubes keep the wine cold for sufficient time without changing the flavors.
  • Grape cubes: Best ways to chill the wine moderately without diluting it.
  • By the glass: Place a glass or two of wine in the fridge instead of the bottle.

Best Wine Chilling Methods That Don’t Work

  • Chilled wine glass with a thin stem isn’t cooling enough for wines.
  • Sticking a bottle into the freezer isn’t a good idea given the liquid inside can expand, put pressure on the cork, and explore in the fridge or outside.

Bottom Line

When it comes to wine, every case is unique and every bottle special. That’s why it’s important to keep the best chilling practices for different types of wines in your mind at all times.

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Examining The Different Types of Chianti

Chianti is an aromatic wine produced from grapes grown in the hot and hilly region of Italy. Get ready to explore the four types of Chianti and tips for picking the perfect bottles.

Also, read on to uncover the best online wine clubs for Chiantis.

Where is Chianti?

First defined for its viticulture in 1716, Chianti is located in central Tuscany. Just like Barolo and the best Champagnes, this region is popular for the eponymous wine it produces. Chianti wines derive their unique medium body from the scorching dry terroir that brings out different aromatic notes along with a tart and acidic flavor.

Sommeliers can identify different types of Chianti by the seven sub-regions highlighted below.

  • Montalbano is located in the western side of Florence
  • Rufina is situated in the eastern end of Florence
  • Colli Fiorentini is positioned in the southern area of Florence
  • Colli Aretini is positioned in the southeast region of Florence
  • Colli Senesi is the southern zone that includes Montepulciano and Montalcino
  • Montespertoli is placed around the southwest of Florence
  • Colli Pisane lies at the westernmost end of the Chianti zone

What Are The Types of Chianti

Read on to learn all about the composition and characteristics of the four unique types of Chianti wine.

Standard Chianti

This is a type of Chianti aged for a minimum of three months and composed of up to 70% of Sangiovese grapes. The remaining 30% is filled with Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah grapes.

Chianti Classico

Classico is produced in small batches from the Classico district situated between Siena and Florence. To be labeled as such, it must be aged for at least 10 months. It’s a medium-bodied wine filled with tannins owing to the presence of 80% Sangiovese and 20% of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The signature seal of Chianti Classico is the famous black rooster.

Chianti Riserva

Overall this type is the same as Standard Chianti except for the aging duration. Riserva demands up to 38 months in the cask to mellow the tannins. The drinkability of these wines stretches up to 15 years.

Chianti Superiore

When Chianti grapes are sourced from areas other than the Classico district, it’s labeled Superiore. These wines are aged for a minimum of 9 months and made from lower yields.

Picking The Best Chianti

The best way to pick an ideal Chianti for your palate is with horizontal tasting. You need to compare and contrast different Chiantis from several wineries to appreciate its nuances. Take a look at other defining characteristics to differentiate and select the best Chianti.

  • Classification: Chianti and Chianti Classico are classified DOCG, the highest tier of wine status according to Italian standards.
  • Grapes: You’ll find Chiantis with Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot in addition to Sangiovese which leads to notes of bitter herbs, spice, balsamic vinegar, and red fruits.
  • Aging: Young Chiantis are typically purple-red, tart, and light while aged ones show up as burgundy red with savory flavors.
  • Food pairing: Pick your Chianti by food pairings such as pizza, salami, game meats, and sauces dominated by tomato.

The Best Chiantis From Wine Clubs

How do you find a Chianti that agrees with your taste buds? Let the experts help you decide. Here are four wine clubs with different types of sought-after Chiantis that can help you out:

Plonk Wine Club

A small-batch wine called Chianti Istine Classico 2014 is a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Colorino. This cask-aged wine brings hints of cherry fruit and licorice that pairs with meatballs, penne pasta, and steaks.

Naked Wines

An award-winning wine, Villa Saletta La Rocca Chianti Riserva 2007 is known for its intense aroma and smooth notes of black fruits. This red wine pairs excellently with roasted red meats and juicy vegetables.

Laithwaites

The Tuscan-special Superstar Chianti Superiore from Poggio Tempesta is a medium bodied bottle that brings out cherry and mocha flavor. It complements dishes like aged cheeses, poultry, and red meats.

Gold Medal Wine Club

One of the exclusive blends from GMWC is the Classico Riserva titled Fontodi 2006 Chianti. This 95-point wine is a mix of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes aged for up to two years. Expect leathery notes of blackcurrant and cherry. Nothing brings out the flavors of this wine quite like lamb dishes.

Bottom Line

While it’s certainly a more pronounced flavor when compared to the best Champagnes online, a dry red Chianti is perfect owing to its four unique variations. This exotic Italian terroir packs a punch that pairs well with a range of different dishes and tasting preferences.

Sign up for a wine club today to start tasting the very best Chianti’s from the comfort of your home.

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What Is Fining and How Does It Work

While natural winemaking uses unfined wine, fining brings clarity, taste, and shelf life to wine. However, this process also scrapes off the natural nutrients and aroma of the wine.

Find out all about the meaning of fining, the step-by-step method behind how it works, and comparisons with ways to detect whether or not a wine has been fined.

Fining Defined

While many winemakers believe fining removes the natural texture and color of the wine, processing the wine in this manner while in the cellar is a crucial part of the clarification and stabilization process in winemaking. It’s essential for removing colloids in the wine, which come from tannins, phenolics, and polysaccharides.

Fining is defined as the act of eliminating unwanted elements in the wine. These are usually done with the help of agents or substances that create enzymatic, ionic, or adsorbent bonds for easy removal.

Typically, unwanted particles such as residual grapes and yeast give a hazy or cloudy tint to the wine when it faces heat or light, which is removed by the process.

How The Process Works

While some winemakers filter, others fine, and some others don’t implement either process. Typically, the process is completed prior to bottling the wine or polishing it given it’s part-and-parcel of the tasting notes of a wine.

Take a look at the following steps on how fining takes place in the winemaking process.

  • Step 1: Agents such as gelatin, plant proteins, isinglass, casein, eggs, bentonite, cyanide or carbon are added to the wine.
  • Step 2: The enzymatic/ionic/adsorbent bonding takes place.
  • Step 3: The unwanted particles change into an agglomeration, which dissolves and precipitates into the bottom of the wine.
  • Step 4: Wine is racked to eliminate the sediment.

Oftentimes, the winemakers who highlight that the wine has been fined on the bottle disclose the agents used to complete the process as well.

Is Wine Better After Fining?

Red wines are known to derive a softer astringency and color after fining. That’s why the process is often debated amongst wine experts. Check the pros and cons below and decide for yourself.

  • Appearance: The process transforms the wine from cloudy or hazy to clear and light.
  • Allergy/ Dietary Restrictions: Many techniques include agents that are potential allergens. However, it’s essential for the removal of hydrogen sulfide from the wine.
  • Shelf life: When unfined, the suspended particles can make the wine hazy or change its appearance within two to three years or when the proteins denature at high temperatures
  • Clarity: While most wines will clear on their own, this process improves stability and clarity of the wine.
  • Taste: Many winemakers who engage in this process also say that it reduces the bitterness of the wine by lowering the concentration of the flavors, and hence, most winemakers say ‘unfined’ proudly on the bottle.

How Do You Tell If A Wine Has Undergone Fining?

Wondering if your wine is fined or unfined? Unfined wines have more antioxidants, preventing oxidation, but this may not be a sign of a better wine. To decipher whether your wine at hand is fined, you need to look at the following telltale signs.

  • Appearance: If you see suspended particles or multiple layers of color to the wine in the bottle when kept undisturbed for a few hours, the wine isn’t fined.
  • Australia and New Zealand wines: The wine labeling laws in these two countries require winemakers to disclose the agents used on the bottle itself.
  • French wines: You can see the words ‘ non-collé’, which means unfined in French when you buy unfined wine.
  • Other parts: The native equivalent or the word ‘unfined’ may be displayed on the bottle. However, most non-European wine laws don’t require unfined or the equivalent of fined to be displayed on the bottle.

Bottom Line

Fining is the among the best ways to remove the unwanted particles from your wine. While it can remove bitterness, concentration, aroma, and flavor, it can also protect the wine and smoothen its drinkability. You can identify if a wine is fined along with the list of agents from its label mostly.

Seeking fined and unfined wine options? Browse the selections available from your favorite wine club to find the perfect wine club gift that may be fined or unfined depending on your personal preferences.

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The Complete Guide to Rosé Wine

Neither white nor red, Rosé wine occupies a special place in the hearts and palates of wine drinkers.

If you’re new to Rosé wine, you may be wondering exactly how this fascinating wine is made, what sets it apart from both white and red wine, and what food to enjoy it with.

We’ll cover the basics behind Rosé wine in this comprehensive guide and so much more.

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What Is Rosé Wine?

The pink color and interesting flavor of good Rosé wine lead many first-time drinkers to believe that it’s simply a blend of red and white wine. Let’s set the record straight: Rosé is a unique wine in its own right and is made using a specialized method that produces its blushing color and mild flavors.

Rosé wine is made from red wine grapes, but it spends less time in contact with the skins which prevents it from becoming full-blown red wine. After a special pressing and fermentation process, the wine emerges with its delicate flavor and color that makes it perfect for easy drinking.

We’ll discuss the process in which Rosé is made in more detail below but first, let’s learn more about the types of rose wine, their different flavors, and the best foods to pair them with.

Rosé Flavor Profiles and Pairings

Rosé wine can be divided into four broad flavor categories – and each of them goes very well with certain food pairings. Next time you serve Rosé with a meal, you’ll want to keep the following in mind.

Light Rosé

The drier light Rosés, including Pinot Noir and Provencal Rosés, go well with seafood, salads, pasta dishes and most summer meals. Off-dry varieties like Portuguese Rosé can also be paired with slightly spicy meals very successfully.

Light, Medium, Floral Rosé

Zinfandel, be it natural or Rose Champagne, and some southern French and Spanish Rosé fall into this broad category. While lighter floral Rosé is great as a dessert wine or served with delicate cheeses, the fuller-bodied variety can be served with spicy meals too.

Medium, Full and Round Rosé

We’re now heading into the more robust territory, with weightier Rosés like Spanish Navarro and Bordeaux Rosé which is often made from the Merlot grape. The extra weight and intensity of flavor that these wines bring to the palate make them ideal for pairing with more intense flavors including anchovy, garlic, and even slightly acidic dishes containing tomatoes and citrus.

Full, Rich and Savory Rosé

Our final category of Rosé wines could also be called “red wines without the tannins”. Cabernet Rosé, including the delicious California variety, certainly falls into this category, as do some delicious, full-bodied Syrah Rosés. The full, red flavor of these wines makes them well suited to some of the dishes you’d usually pair with other red wines: grilled meat, curries, and other warm summer dishes. Like almost all other Rosés, they are best served chilled.

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How Rosé Is Made

Much of the unique properties that set Rosé apart from other wines are a byproduct of its winemaking process. Here’s a look at the unique process that goes into every glass of blush from grape to glass.

Maceration

This is where it all begins. Red grapes are crushed and their skins are left to soak in the resulting juice. After a few days, once the pink color and delicate flavor of Rosé has seeped out of the skins, the skins are removed and the wine is fermented. This produces light, crisp Rosé with a fruitier palate. Some of the best rose wine is produced using this method.

Saignée

An alternative method of making Rosé involves draining off some of the liquid from a vat used to make red wine. This allows the remaining red to become more concentrated while the Rosé is fermented separately. Rosé wines produced using this method are more full-bodied and closer to red wines in flavor.

Vin Gris

Vin Gris is a French term that literally means “grey wine” – but the resulting drink is anything but dull. This type of Rosé is made from red grapes using white winemaking methods. The grapes are crushed and the skins removed right away, but since they are red grapes the resulting juice is left with a pink hue and slightly fruity flavor.

Decoloring

Finally, there is an unusual method of making Rosé from red wine using activated charcoal known as decolorizing. Red rosé wine made using this method has a lighter color than the original red wine used to make them, but they tend to taste just like red wines. For Rosé connoisseurs, this can reduce the enjoyment of drinking these wines.

Old vs New

There are two main regional categories of Rosé: old world and new world. The age and growing region affiliated with these wines gives each type a distinctive taste.

Old World

Old world Rosé is usually grown in Europe, on vines that can be centuries old. Good Rose wine produced from these vines tends to be more acidic and richer in flavor.

New World

New world wine is grown in countries like the United States, Australia, Chile and Argentina. The vines tend to be younger and produce light, fruity, easy drinking Rosés.

 

Top 5 Heavenly Styles of Rosé Wine

Pinot Noir Rosé

Challenging to grow and rewarding to drink, Pinot Noir Rosé is full of fruity flavors like melon and strawberry without being overly sweet – or sometimes not sweet at all. It’s a great wine to enjoy with cheese and salads.

Syrah Rosé

This dark and spicy Rosé is like chocolate cherry without the sweetness. As a dry Rose wine, it pairs well with garlic-rich foods, pizza, and pasta.

Tempranillo Rosé

A Spanish Rosé with a light and fruity palate, Tempranillo Rosé is easy drinking and a must for summer dining. It pairs very well with salads, chicken dishes and mild cheeses.

Provence Rosé

Grown in one of France’s premier wine regions, Provence Rosé is some of the best Rose wines and never disappoints. Its subtle flavor makes it ideal to pair with almost any dish, offering unmatched versatility.

Tavel Rosé

A full-bodied Rosé that has a flavor profile similar to some red wines, Tavel is a perfect partner for meat dishes, grilled chicken or barbecue.

Top 3 Rosé Wine Clubs

Vinebox

Vinebox offers a selection of some of the world’s finest wines, delivered by the glass. While it’s not a Rose wine club as such, its selection frequently includes some excellent vials of blush. Quarterly subscriptions start from $79.

Naked Wines

Naked Wines is a British startup that funds independent wine producers and gives you access to their wines at wholesale prices. Their selection of Rosé is excellent, and you’ll find it well represented in almost every mixed wine gift box they offer.

Winc

Winc.com is known for taking the hassle out of buying wine with great wine deals and flexible orders – from a single bottle to a large case. Rosé wines are always a popular choice on their website, with American, European and South American wineries represented.

Last Words

Rose wine combines the crispness and easy-drinking quality of white wine with the complex flavors and full body of a red – what more could you ask for? With a variety of palates ranging from fruity to earthy and dry to sweet, there are enough top Rosé wines to please everyone.

Now that you know the main types of Rose wine and how to pair them with your favorite dishes, you’re probably keen to order some bottles for yourself or for a friend or loved one. The clubs featured in our wine club reviews are a great place to start exploring the possibilities.

Accordingly, here’s to the times you’ll spend with friends and family enjoying a delicious bottle of Rosé.  Cheers!