Life is full of many comparisons that prompt us to make a decision. Biggie or Tupac? West Coast or East Coast? Bloods or Crips? Hmmm…dilemmas, dilemmas…lol.
The same holds true in the world of wine. People are always asking, “which one do you prefer, red or white?”
While I normally lean towards white, I can rock with the reds as well. Red, white, sparkling…I don’t discriminate!
But, why?? Behind every decision should be a legitimate reason. Let’s go back to my original questions…
- Biggie vs. Tupac: Biggie! Even though I’m from the West Best Coast, I still think Biggie was a better lyricist. (yeah, I said it!)
- West Coast vs. East Coast: WEST…even though I am partial now to what’s called the third coast, I’m a Cali girl at heart, so no explanation needed.
- Bloods vs. Crips: Uh…yeah, I’m going to leave that one alone! No bangin’ on this blog ;)
- Red Wine vs. White Wine: It’s hard for me to say aside from taste.
When it comes to wine, it’s easy to point out which types you like, but do you really know what sets them apart? On my recent trip to Temecula, I learned a lot about the difference between red and white wine from our host at Lorimar Winery. This is helpful information everyone should know as they explore wine. I want to make sure you know as much as possible about the type of wine you claim.
- Production Process
The main difference between red and white wines is the maceration process, which is how red wines receive its red color. With red wines, the grape stems, seeds, and skins are left in the juice. Because of this, tannins and pigments will leach out of the stems, seeds, and skins into the grape juice. It’s these tannins that produce the complexity of red wines. In the production of white wines, maceration is either actively avoided or allowed in very limited manner. When making white wine, the stems, seeds, and grape skins are removed from the grape juice after pressing.
Reds lose color as they age, while whites gain color. Random, but I left a glass of this amazing French Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Trust, I had every intention of drinking it, but I went out of town. Let’s just say this wine started off a medium yellow and it’s now the color of urine (sad face). That’s the first (and only) time I poured out wine. #neveragain
- Taste Test
Tannins are another difference between red and white wines. Tannins are found in the grape skins, and are transferred into the wine from the skins. They are mainly found in red wines, and are the reason for the dry, puckering sensation in the mouth and back of the throat, while drinking the wine. They also help preserve wine and allow red wines to be aged longer than white wines.
Wine is one of the few commodities (along with Black people) that can improve with age, but it can also rapidly deteriorate if kept in inadequate conditions. Heat is the number one killer of all wines. Heat does not discriminate either! Temperatures higher than 70° F will age a wine more quickly than is usually desirable. And if it gets too much hotter, your wine may get “cooked,” resulting in flat aromas and flavors. The ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F (and 55° F is often cited as close to perfect).
- Serving Temperature
Red wines are best served at room temperature or slightly below (55° F). White wines are great chilled (45° F).
- Airing: Drink it Now or Lay it Down
Red wines need to breathe, so they should be opened and allowed to sit so that some of the alcohol may evaporate and allow the wine to balance out. This will allow more of the flavor and texture to come out, making the wine more enjoyable, but if kept out too long the wine will start to oxidize and become harsh and bitter. Whites are usually ready to drink right after opening. So, when you allow a wine to sit that’s called “laying it down.” As mentioned, red wines get better with time, so you’ll most likely want to “lay down” your reds and drink your whites now.
- Alcohol Content
Oh, and you know I couldn’t leave without mentioning which one was buzzworthy. Reds tend to have more alcohol by volume (ABV), averaging 12-16 percent. On the other hand whites are normally between five and 15 percent. Sweet whites like moscato make up the lower end in the spectrum. Surprised? Not really. It’s because of all of the sugar, but that’s another lesson for another day…
Now that you know a little more about red and white wines, let me know which wine do you claim?