How to Select Red Wine

How to Select Red Wine

How to select different wines? Because there are thousands (yes thousands) of wine types in existence today—many of which are so obscure and rare that most people have probably never heard of them. With that many varieties to choose from, you can make many different types of wine: red ones, white ones, sweet ones, dry ones, sparkling…and mixtures anywhere in between.

But for the red wine, maybe it is familiar to a lot of people. When talking about dry red wine types (or dry wines in general), it refers to the level of sugar found in the wine itself. To understand dry versus sweet wines, we have to understand the process of fermentation. Fermentation is what gives us the alcohol in the wine—or in any other juice. Basically, fermentation is the process of yeast eating sugar. When the yeast eats the sugar, the byproduct is Carbon Dioxide, heat and alcohol. So let’s apply this to grapes:

Do you how to make out the red wine? How about the process? First, the grapes are picked, brought into the winery and then crushed. If the grapes are picked with a very low sugar level, that translates into not as much food for the yeast to eat, which means the end result will be relatively low alcohol. If the grapes come in with a high level of sweetness, that means there is more food for the yeast and the byproduct will be a higher level of alcohol. You can see this yourself…if you’ve ever had a light Pinot Noir you can tell the alcohol is not as high as a big, juicy Zinfandel. You should figure out which wines in the store are dry and which ones are not is actually pretty easy. All red table wines you find in the store on the shelf are always dry by definition. The sweeter late harvest, ports or late picked are usually on a different shelf away from the dry reds. To get a little more specific about the level of sugar you have takes a little more research and talking with the wine person at the store…but again, the definition of dry is less than 1.4% or so residual sugar.

So how to choose a excellent dry red wine? Then you should know the wine types first. Basically, they are red wines that have a dry level of sugar (below 1 gram per liter). So that translates into a residual sugar level of 1.2-1.4% or lower. When the red wine is fermenting, the yeast is eating all of the sugar until there is little or none left. Different types of yeasts can be used for fermentation that are meant to work up until a certain alcohol level. When the red wine is fermented to “dry” you know you have a wine that has a very tiny amount of residual sugar that will be hardly noticeable to most people. Voila! Dry red wine.

When you decide to choose one, try thinking about the following:

  • The types of foods in which the wine can be paired.
  • Your favorite flavor characteristics.
  • Your guests’ preferences.

Austria’s Wines Captivate the World, as well as the Austrian red wine, which is really different, you can make some study, and you will love it.