How Does White Wine Differ From Red Wine?

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Color and Flavor

  • White wine differs from red wine in a variety of ways, including the obvious difference in color. Red wine is a rich burgundy color and sometimes so full bodied one can't see through the glass. This is not the case with white wines, of which one is able to see through the wine glass. White wines are sweeter than red wines, which may be more tangy and dry due to the way that red wine is processed with the stalks and stems, seeds and skins of grapes, producing a distinctively bold flavor. White wine may be preferred by drinkers who haven't acquired a taste for full-bodied red wine. There exists a rosé wine which is light and tastes like a cross between a red and a white wine, with a sweeter flavor than red wine. Rosé (pink) wine may be used as a "crossover" drink by white wine drinkers wanting to experience the difference in taste and richness before trying red wine.

Pressing Red Grapes

  • During the fermentation process of red wine, the grapes are re-pressed several times in order to extract the full flavor of the grapes and to release tannins which give the red wine its full body and substantial flavor and bouquet. White wine is not fermented in the same way as red wine, having only one pressing, which gives the wine its light, crisp clean flavor without the depth of body that give red wines such character. Red wine is usually aged in oak vats to impart even more flavor from the wood.

Wines and Food

  • Red wines such as claret and port with their full bodied flavors are best served with meats such as roast beef, venison, lamb, game birds and meats cooked in rich dark-colored sauces to complement each other's intensely layered flavors. On the other end of the spectrum, white wines are matched to lighter fare such as poultry, rabbit, pork and fish.

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