EXPLORE THE WORLD OF RED WINES

by

In winter, red wine is synonymous with cosy night-time chats by the fire and long, lazy lunches with a rich roast and gravy. From a fruity Pinotage to a spicy Shiraz, each type of red wine has a unique flavour profile that will enhance the occasion wherever, whenever.

Red wines are not just to be consumed, they need to be sipped, savoured and considered, enjoyed at a pace which allows time for enjoyment and appreciation.

Whether it’s exploring new or unusual varietals, or reminiscing over old classics, take the time to explore the exciting, ever-changing world of red wine.

THE HISTORY OF RED WINE

Red wine has been around for centuries. Traces of tartaric acid, an obvious indication of wine, has been found in clay vessels in Iran, previously Persia, dating back to 3000 BC and before, long, long before any other beverage, besides water, was available for consumption. 

Obviously, this was centuries before the discovery of refrigeration or chemical preservatives, so fermenting grapes to make wine was one on of the few ways of preserving liquid. 

The first European settlers to the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 were specifically tasked with planting grapes to make wine that would be supplied to the passing ships, whose supply of fresh water would often not last the long sea voyage to the East.Today, red wine is so much more than simply a liquid refreshment. Red wines are enjoyed worldwide for their diverse and complex flavours and aromas but also, the best red wines tells the story of provenance. A good red wine expresses the terroir where the grapes are grown, be it on a rocky hillside, a cool verdant valley or a sandy, windblown slope, a good red wine will reflect that story in its character and texture, drawing the consumer into a big and beautiful story of heritage and geography.

EXPLORING DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF RED WINES

The world of red wines is vast, with many varietals, blends, and styles. Each different type of red wine offers unique aromas and flavours that make it identifiable, from big bold Cabernet Sauvignons with aromas of black cherry, cedar and flint to spicy Shiraz with hints of chocolate, tobacco and peppercorn on the nose. Sweet or semi-sweet red wines go best with dessert.

In the Cape Winelands, where the climate is warm and dry, we can expect big, bold reds packed with flavours and character with excellent ageing potential.

And speaking of ageing, the tannins in red wines although softened by barrel maturation, allow the wine to age beautifully. As the red wine changes in colour from a purply puce to a dark garnet colour, so too do the flavours deepen in complexity and character, making it even more enjoyable.

Type of Red Wine - Grapes

PICKING THE PERFECT WINE

When picking the perfect bottle of red wine, one needs to consider the food, the price and the taste profiles of the guests. Red wines can range from fruity and light, to rich and full-bodied. So, if you are serving delicately flavoured food, it’s best not to slam those flavours with a big, bold red. Similarly, a hearty casserole will not pair well with a light, fruity red. Wine and food are supposed to enhance each other, not cancel each other out.

Also, if guests are invited for a festive party, don’t expect them to sit down and savour your expensive bottle. Rather serve an easy-drinking wine that will get the party started, and keep your full-bodied red for a special occasion.

Exploring the world of red wines can be a rewarding and fun experience. There are two red wines in the HER Wine Collection that will enhance any occasion:

The HER Wine Collection Pinotage: This is a wine to entice and excite. Its rich, welcoming flavours will set the mood for a delightful evening.

The HER Wine Collection Shiraz: This spicy wine is packed with rich, berry flavours and hints of vanilla.

Type of Red Wine - HER Shiraz

THE BENEFITS OF A TASTING EVENT

Tasting events are another great way to explore different types of red wines in a more relaxed and social setting. These events typically involve sampling different types of red wine to better understand their nuances and flavours and often include food stalls where wines can be paired for different dishes and experiences can be shared with like-minded people.Typically, these events will feature a host of wineries offering a selection of wines from their range. These events can be a great way to learn about different types of red wines, gain insight into their flavour profiles, and pick up some tips from the experts on what to look out for.

Type of Red Wine - Tasting Event

HOW TO STORE RED WINE AT HOME

Once you’ve found the perfect bottle of red wine, it’s essential to know how to store it so that it can properly reach its full potential. Red wines should ideally be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat sources and vibrations that could affect their ageing potential and flavour. So storing in the kitchen near the stove or above the microwave; or even in the lounge near the fireplace might look good, but will ruin your wine. Rather pick a cool, dark place like under your bed or in a well-insulated storeroom cupboard. 

Exploring the world of red wine can add a wonderful dimension to your life. It’s a great way to learn to appreciate the finer things in life be it food and friends, or the tradition and culture behind the ancient craft of winemaking.