If you are new to wine tasting you will probably hear of a number of terms that might seem strangely foreign to you. Moscatos, dessert wines, corking, a nose of this and that, but there is one fundamental starting point that you are probably confused about right now; the difference between reds and whites.
Red Vs. White
Here’s what you have to know between the two. Red wines are made with black grapes and white wines are made from white grapes. Although the two come from what was once a singular species of grape, it is said that the white grape was basically a mutation …that we have all grown to love and enjoy.
The aging process is also different between the two with red wines being typical to maturity through the use of oak barrels whilst white ones are stored in vats made of stainless steel.
We move on to color, what gives red wine its distinct red hue and why is white wine seemingly clearer? Red wines are made from the fermentation of the seeds and the skins of the grapes, whilst whites are usually peeled and have their seeds removed. Having the seeds and skins in is actually a good thing since most of the health benefits of red wine come from having these around.
However, we have to make one thing clear. These “fundamentals” are not always the case, some producers have whites aged in oak barrels to give it a nutty flavor, thus the Chardonnay was enjoyed. Some reds are aged in stainless steel vats to keep floral flavors intact. There are red grapes wines that do not follow convention and are peeled and have had their seeds removed and whites that have been fermented with seeds and peels. It is still dependent on the producer and the type of wine you’re having.
Which Should I Have?
It really depends on your preferences. If it is a mealtime question then you are better off the stick with white wine if you are having fish, vegetables or anything light, and a good red wine if you are having dark meat. Poultry is a little fickle, chicken and turkey go great with a white wine, but gamey poultry such as duck is best to enjoy with a red wine of a medium body.
At the end of the day, it will still be up to your palette to define your preference.