Red wine | Vino rosso
From northern to southern Italy, we select only those red wines from all regions that know how to meet our high quality standards. Discover with us the fascinating world of Italian wines. In addition, you will find a well-assorted selection of Spanish and Swiss red wines. Salute! Famiglia Vergani
How does the color come into the red wine
But not to make things unnecessarily complicated: red wine is always made from blue grapes. But blue grapes are not always used to make red wine. Because you can certainly make white wine from blue grapes. If you cut up a grape and look at it, you will notice that the flesh is light-coloured. If you crush the grape, you will quickly see that the juice is also light and not red. This is because the red colorants are in the skins, not in the juice.
The color of the wine depends not only on the grapes but mainly on how the wine is made. White wine is made by fermenting the grape must, that is, the pressed juice. After the grape harvest, the berries go into the press and in the fermentation tank the must ends up, without the skins. In red wine, the crushed berries are fermented. The crushed grapes are also called mash, so this process is also called mash fermentation. Through fermentation, the alcohol dissolves the pigments from the grape skins, and the liquid absorbs color. But not only color is released, tannins also enter the wine in this way. They provide for the furry feeling on the tongue and also for the fact that the wine becomes longer durable.
Particularly high-quality wines are even flooded by hand, which is the name given to the submersion of the skins or grape cap that floats on the mash. This brings all the liquid into contact with oxygen, resulting in more velvety wine at this early stage of fermentation. It is the mash fermentation that ensures wines have a longer shelf life by releasing the tannins from the skins. So this also clarifies the question why white wines can rarely be stored for a long time.
Simple red wines are also produced by another method, namely mash heating. This is because the red color can also be obtained by heating the crushed grapes. In this simpler method, the mash is briefly heated to 67-85°C and then immediately cooled and pressed. The resulting must does not yet contain alcohol, but it does have an intense color. As in the case of white wine, fermentation takes place without the must in temperature-controlled fermentation tanks. This results in simpler wines with less storability, but quickly ready to drink.
Which red wine to decant and which to carafe
It's talked about more often than it really needs to be when drinking: decanting. And if we want to be picky, the term is even confused or mixed up with decanting. Because decanting in the narrower and original sense does not mean the aeration of the wine, but the decanting for the purpose of separating the deposit. That is, the purely mechanical separation of the sediment from the wine. Some find that this sediment not only looks unsightly, but often has a bitter taste that one would not necessarily want to drink. Others, like Elio Altare, barolo king, who has already been portrayed in the "Vino e Vita" magazine, however, say with a smile: "Tartar? That's cutting-edge medicine. No pharmacy sells a better sedative."
However, such a sediment can be found above all in older red wines. And this is the crux: Older wines have a high risk of collapsing quickly when they come into contact with oxygen. The older a wine is, the less tannins it contains and the faster it reacts with oxygen. Experts therefore advise tasting the wine immediately after opening. If it already has a full aroma, you should not decant it. If you still want to decant, you should use a special carafe with a small opening. Basically, it helps with sediment to work with good light so that you can see when the sediment is approaching the neck of the bottle. And of course, the bottle should have been standing for a long time beforehand so that the sediment can settle on the bottom at all.
Aerating the wine is actually called caraffing . Especially with young red wines, it can make sense to give the wine an "oxygen shock" before enjoying it, so that it can still develop its taste. Why? The molecular structures in wine form quick bonds with oxygen, which makes it more accessible.
So what should be caraffed now? Younger, tannin-emphasized wines like Baroli from the Piedmont can definitely gain in taste, a little oxygen is good for them. Light white wines, older growths do not need this procedure. The younger the wine, the more time it needs to breathe, one to two hours in a carafe with a flat, wide bottom, which allows a large contact with oxygen, is certainly good. And no: just opening the bottle has virtually no breathing effect on the wine. The bottle opening is too small for the entire contents to interact with the little bit of oxygen in the neck of the bottle.
The right drinking temperature for red wine
Red wines are usually not drunk so cold. The lighter and fruitier the wine, the cooler it can be served. With the light red wines one speaks then of approximately 14 degrees.Mittelkräftige feel with approximately 16 degrees unfolding joyfully and the strong, full-bodied wines such as Chianti or Barolo or also Amarones would like it warmer, so with approximately 18 degrees these radiate their whole charm.
Red wine storage
Did you know that only a small part of the world's wine production has the capacity to improve with age? More than 90% of all wines are made to be drunk soon and should be enjoyed after one or two years. Only just 10% have the potential to mature into fine wines with time and time.
But how do you know which wines you should still store in the cellar and which ones belong to the 90% of quick drinking pleasure? The best way to do this is to look at the processes during fermentation. Storage causes a reduction of tannins in the wine. This leads to a reduction of the fruity primary notes in the aroma. So, in simple wines, oxidation sets in early.
Now, if a wine has a lot of tannin and acidity and a complex aroma, exciting tertiary notes such as ripe fruit, foliage, moss, tobacco, liquorice etc. in red wines or the typical tropical fruit and honey aromas in white wines emerge from the breakdown of the tannins. When the zenith is passed, the aromas tip over into sherry notes or that of rotten apples. But there are also red wines and rare white wines that should definitely be stored because the aging process changes the wine in an impressive way. Wines with a lot of alcohol, tannins and acidity are often unapproachable and unattractive in their young years. It is only through the breakdown of tannins over the years that the full complexity of flavours and harmony on the palate develops. These drops are deliberately vinified so that they live from the complex aromatics.
With patience you can letstore (among others):
- Top wines from Tuscany such as Chianti Gran Selezione, Brunello or the "Supertuscans".
- Barolo, Barbaresco, Amarone
- Great Spanish wines from Priorat, Bierzo, Ribeira del Duero or Castilla y León
- Bordeaux wines e.g. from Saint-Emilion, Medoc, Pauliac, Pomerol or Saint-Estèphe
- Bottle-fermented sparkling wines with vintage such as Champagne, Franciacorta
- Great white wines, often aged in wooden barrels
- Top Burgundy and Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Importance of tannin in red wine
Among other things, tannin prevents early oxidation of the wine, which is why it is also called an aging agent. Basically, we can say that the more tannic a wine is, the longer it can be stored. Tannins are also found in the rape and seeds of the berries, but their hardness is undesirable in wine, so the grapes are destemmed and the mash is pressed without crushing the seeds. Another origin of tannin can be through the aging of the wine in wooden barrels, new wood exchanges with the wine and releases tannins to it. It is the great art of the winemaker to find the right measure and the right wood for a wine.
Wine ferments and rests not only in steel tanks or wooden barrels. Wine containers made of clay have been around for thousands of years. And more recently also of concrete. And once again, we are devoting ourselves to the subject of wine containers. And by this we don't mean the various pretty bottles and their shapes or colours, but we are dedicated to the larger calibres, the tanks and barrels, amphorae and eggs.
Yes, you have already read correctly, eggs. Because in the past few years, vintners have increasingly discovered the advantages of concrete for their profession. Apparently, concrete offers ideal conditions for wine production. The advantages: Like steel, concrete allows for a clear aroma that is unaffected by wood, i.e. without tannin release. At the same time, however, the material has the advantage of a fine oxygen permeability due to its slightly porous structure. Which in turn means: the wine can breathe- in very fine doses. Opinions regarding the influence on taste differ, skeptics are convinced that they can perceive a minimal minerality, which of course advocates strictly deny. However, concrete has an undeniable advantage, it clarifies the wine in a natural way, and this brings us to the Egg of Columbus, so to speak. Because at the curved egg wall, the wine molecules collect and slide down, the clear part of the wine rises up in the middle. White wines are both fermented and stored in the egg, red wines are only filled for maturation after fermentation. However, it is not only the proverbial weight of the concrete ice that is important, but also the costs are not to be sneezed at, an egg container can easily cost more than 3000 Swiss francs.
However, the egg shape is not completely new, since ancient times, the arched vessels of the amphorae have been known as well-known wine vessels. Currently, they are experiencing a real renaissance, more and more vintners are fermenting their wine naturally in clay pots. Namely in huge clay amphorae buried in the earth. Biodynamics is the new guiding principle here. If one were to call it a trend, the winemakers in question would probably be personally affected, because natural wines are about a very philosophical basic attitude towards wine and its preparation. Thereby, one goes back to antiquity. Clay shards from excavations prove that as early as 7,500 years ago, they were in contact with wine, i.e. wine was stored in clay vessels. Or rather, the juice was stored and wine was produced by spontaneous fermentation. It is assumed that vine and wine originated in the South Caucasus, today's Georgia. And around the Black Sea, this old method has been preserved over all the centuries. This is also the origin of the "Kvevri", the name of the huge clay vessels, which are made by hand over several weeks and then gently fired in a large kiln. Of course, they are only produced in small quantities. Transport has proved to be a particular difficulty, as the amphorae have a very thin wall of natural clay of only approx. 1.5 cm for their size. Every winegrower is happy if he doesn't get a pile of broken pieces after waiting for several years. In order for them to withstand the weight and pressure of filling, they are buried in the ground. But once the clay amphorae are in the ground, there is little left for the winemaker to do. After all, the whole idea is to let nature prevail. The earth provides the perfect temperature balance and certainly no one can accidentally disturb fermentation processes, leave a door open or otherwise interfere with nature.