Red wine, eh? Before I dig into red wine varietals, I want to answer an important question: What makes red wine red?
You see, all wine starts life as white wine. Grapes, when first crushed, produce clear juice. If you just squeeze the juice out of red grapes and ferment it, you won’t get red wine. That’s because the color compounds in red grapes — called anthocyanins — are in the skins. The way you get the red color into the wine is by leaving the juice in contact with the skins for a while, often for a week or more.
What if you don’t leave the juice together with the skins for that long? Congratulations, you’ve made a rosé. There are other ways to make pink wine, but by far the tastiest is to crush red grapes, leave the juice on the skins for one to three days, and then press it off. I’ve had a number of excellent dry rosés made this way, from red grapes like Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah. They’re wonderful summertime wines and they’re not at all sweet. Some of our favorites are the Fiddlehead Cellars Pink Fiddle (Santa Rita Hills), the Foxen Rosé of Mourvèdre (Santa Ynez Valley), the Alma Rosa “Vin Gris” Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills), and the Chateau L’Afrique Rosé (Cotes de Provence).
You can’t make red wine from just any grape, however. There’s not enough anthocyanins in Riesling, for example, to do it. But certain varietals do have enough, and we’ll start talking about those next week.
UpdateFitness: Ran 3 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 449 words, 420 seven-day average, 283 average, 49555 total, 945 to go for the week; 15-day streak