The skin color of the grapes contributes to the color of the wine; therefore red wine is made from dark-skinned grapes. The stems are first removed from the grapes before they are crushed. This is because the grape stems may make the wine astringent, or sharply bitter. However, some kinds of wines may include the stems to enhance the flavor. The seeds are also removed as the wine is made, because they may alter the future flavor of the wine in an undesirable way. The contents of the crushed grapes are fermented for a few days, and then stored in oak barrels or other means of storage usually only for one to two years although there are some wines that are stored for much longer times. Sulfites may be added to aid in preserving the wine. After the wine is stored it is then classified before bottling.
How to drink red wine? Well, of course, drinking it straight poses no problem at all, but for most wine connoisseurs, drinking wine goes well beyond the simple motion of simply passing the precious liquid through their throat. Two factors essential to drinking and appreciating wine are savoring its taste and appreciating its fragrance. By ‘tasting’, it means that you don’t simply pass the wine over your tongue and ‘taste’ it as it goes past your taste buds. Each section of the tongue, as every decent schooled child knows, differs in perceiving taste. For wine tasters, the following are essential: The tip of the tongue, which tastes sweetness, the sides of the tongue which pick up acidity, and the more ‘fruity’ nuances of the wine picked up in the center area of the tongue. Furthermore, the lingering taste that is left after the wine passes through the mouth, also considered the ‘aftertaste’, can be a determinant of the quality of wine.
Swirling the wine in your wine glass, which mixes together its various chemical components more thoroughly and gives you a better scent of the wine in your glass, enhances the wine’s specific scent. A better fragrance of your wine also means less difficulty in classifying it. By smelling thoroughly, wine drinkers learn what kind of wine they are drinking and appreciate it. Smelling is skill best improved through practice though. It’s not easy to distinguish a Merlot from a Cabernet Sauvignon in passing one’s nose through just a few glasses.
The key word in wine storage is not to allow anything, including air, to enter the bottle prematurely. Wine in bottles is stored vertically so that the wine comes in continued contact with the cork. Remaining moistened with wine prevents the cork from drying out, shrinking, and therefore allowing oxygen in. Allowing oxygen in makes the wine…uh, oxidize. In other words, oxygen will make the wine taste like vinegar, which is certainly not what a wine drinker is looking for in a decent drink. Be sure to keep the wine away from other substances with strong smells, as this may enter the wine bottle and modify its taste. Sunlight is a no-no when it comes to storing wine, as it may cause some unpleasant chemical reactions from occurring in the wine, altering its taste (Wine bottles are deliberately dark in color to avoid this).