While there are plenty of questions you might ask yourself during a wine tasting, maybe you’ve always wondered what’s the real difference between red and white wine? While most of us already have our wine preferences, not everyone knows the true difference between red wine and white wine. That’s why we wanted to explain what really makes red and white wine so distinct, so next time you visit a local NC winery, you know exactly what you’re sipping from the start.
Types of Wine are Made With Different Grapes
The key difference between red wine and white wine is how they are made. Different kinds of wine are made using different very grapes – so naturally, red grapes are used to make red wine, and white grapes are used to make white wine. However, that’s not the only thing that separates red and white wine. Their fermentation processes are very different, which is how they achieve their distinctive colors!
Red wine fermentation includes the seeds and skin of the grapes, while white wine does not. The skin of red wine grapes is what provides the rich, warm reds we are so familiar with. By removing the skin, white wine achieves a more translucent, golden coloring. It’s rare that white wine is fermented with its skins still intact – this creates an entirely different kind of wine, known as an orange wine, because of its strong coloration.
Another key difference between these two types of wine rests in their flavor profile, which is due to the tannins so commonly found in wine. Tannins come from within the skin of the grape, and create the bolder, rich flavors you taste in every glass. Without them, wine tends to have a lighter, crisp flavor palette instead.
The Aging Process
Another distinct difference between red and white wine is how each wine is aged. During the aging process, each type of wine receives different levels of oxygen. Oxygenation is what modifies the floral notes and distinct flavors within each wine, which can change throughout the aging process, creating a more sweet or dry wine. To achieve a more oaky flavor, wine is aged in oak barrels, while steel drums help create a lighter, floral flavor. Both processes are highly popular among vineyards and wineries in the Carolinas. Oak barrels will help create your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon, while a steel drum would create a smooth, rich, Pinot Grigio.
At RayLen, we take our aging process very seriously and make sure every bottle has aged enough before we bring them into our tasting room. North Carolina wines are unique partly because of their aging process, which helps us make the distinctive flavors you sample in every glass. A wine tasting will let you experience flavors like never before, and learn more about the differences in red and white wine. To truly learn more about the Yadkin Valley wine region’s flavors, and the history of NC wine, just schedule a tasting and tour of RayLen’s vineyards.
The Pairing Process
If you’ve ever visited a North Carolina winery, you’ve heard us talk about the wine pairing process. Not all wines were meant to be enjoyed with every dish you serve. White wines, because of their acidity, and floral palette, are best with lighter fair or spices. Red wines pair well with things that have natural, heartier flavors. While both are meant to be enjoyed with all different kinds of foods, some flavor palettes taste better with certain flavors. If you want to learn more about the pairing process, venture into wine country and just ask these must-have local wine tasting questions.