Reds, Whites, And Rosés: What’s The Difference?

We all know that person, and might even be that person, who swears that red wines are the only type worthy of our attention. On the other hand, you might be the type of person whose nose turns up at even the smell of a dry red wine, and might only entertain sweet white wines. Today, we wanted to take a couple minutes to get in-depth about what makes whites, reds, and rosés special and unique.

Red Wine Has Tannins To Thank For Its Flavor And Color

Red wines are made from black grapes and are characterized by their deep red, purple, and blue hues. This rich color comes not from the grapes themselves, but from the skins. During the fermentation process, the skins remain in the juice, allowing for the pigment to transfer from the skin to the finished product. However, the skin does more than just add color. A grape’s skin contains tannins - naturally occurring compounds that add flavor and texture to red wines. Tannins are bitter in taste and are responsible for the dry flavor and gritty texture of red wines. Tannins are also found in grape seeds and stems, but most tannins in wine come from the skins. Tannins also result in a certain “mouthfeel” that accompanies red wine: gritty, puckering, and drying. Red wines should be served cool, just below room temperature, to help ensure smooth sipping.

For Sweet, Fruity Beverage, A White Wine Is Your Best Friend

White wines are traditionally made from white grapes and contain little to no red pigmentation. Whites are usually more fruity and floral than reds, and a lot of this is due to the aging process. While each wine varies, in general, red wines are aged in oak barrels, while most whites are aged in stainless steel vats. In barrels, wine is exposed to oxygen which strips it of its fruity flavors in exchange for smooth, rich, nutty flavors. Wines that are aged in stainless steel have reduced exposure to oxygen, which helps the wine retain its original fruit and flower notes. White wines are best served at fridge temperature. This helps to heighten the zesty lightness of the wine.

Hip, Hip Hooray For Your Favorite Rosé

Rosé wine, also referred to as pink or blush wine, is made from black grapes just like red wine and is having a moment among millennials. Even though these wines are made with the same grapes as red wines, in most cases the skins are only in contact with the wine for a few hours during the fermentation process - enough to give it a pink hue but not long enough to get the full taste and texture from the tannins. In other cases, pink wines are created simply by mixing red and white wines together. This gives winemakers the opportunity to combine the tastes and properties of barrel-aged and stainless steel-aged wines. Rosés are typically served somewhere between fridge-cold and room temperature. Generally, the fruitier the wine is, the warmer it can be served. Wines that are served “too warm” might taste more alcoholic, while wines that don’t seem to taste like anything are probably being served too cold.

Alright, some of you may be rolling your eyes because this is all old hat - but don’t worry. We’ll have plenty of time to get into the nitty-gritty of wine drinking, winemaking, and wine culture. In the meantime, break open your favorite Central Coast wine, and be sure to check out all of our great wine connoisseur gifts, posters, and wine prints from the Jan Davidson Collection.