The difference between White wine, Rose and Red wine?

white rose red wineWhite wine is white or pale, Rose is pink or brick and Red wine is red, purple or opaque in color.   Well, other than the obvious differences in color appearance, they are also different in how they were made, how they taste and therefore how they pair with food.

White wines

White wines are made from white or green grapes, that is only half correct because terrific white wines could be made from red or black grapes.  First of all, regardless of green or dark grapes, all grape juices after pressed are either clear, pale or light green-ish in color.  White wines are wines made by fermenting only the grape juice, all skins and seeds are separated immediately after crushing the grapes.

Chardonnay is the obvious king of white wine, and it is a white grape.  Technically, any grapes can be made into white wines, however that might not always produce the best flavors.  Zinfandel is a dark grapes, but can be made into both white or red wines.

Red wines

The process of making red wines is similar to white wines, except both seeds and skins are left in the juice during fermentation.  Red wine get all of their red or purple color from the skin of the grapes.  In addition to color, they also impart other flavors and texture to the wine, noticeably their tannins.  This brings to red wine more complexity and structure compared to white wines.   Some grapes with thinner skin produce rather lighter red, in both color and structure, such as Pinot Noir and Garnache.  For others, thicker skin grapes deliver some of the most robust, bold and fuller body wines; Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo and Petite Sirah are known for more powerful wine.

Rose’ Wine 

Rose is made from red or purple grapes, and it is somewhat between white wine and red wine.   After crushing, the grape skins will be left macerating with its juices for a few hours.  Its juices will take on the color from the skin, as well some of the flavors; this result in a pink-ish wine with tannins and additional flavors extracted from its skin, such as rose pedals and dried flowers. 

Zinfandel is a dark grapes, which could be made into some of the tastiest red wine in Napa Valley; at the same time, Rose made from Zinfandel is very delicious.  Garnache is a very popular red grapes in Spain, which has been known to make Rose.

White wine and Rose are often early favorites for new wine drinkers, they are fruity, usually sweeter and very refreshing when served cold.  On the other hand, it takes time to acquire the taste for more tannic and complex Red wines.   Many wine-drinkers started out enjoying white wines, they flirt with Riesling, slow dance with Chardonnay, with but time after time, they eventually fall in love with Syrah, Tempranillo or Cabernet Sauvignon. The song “Lady in Red” perhaps was talking about more than just a dress. Cheers!

Thomas Le, CS.



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Thomas Le

-Certified Sommelier (CMS)

Napa Reserva -Falling for wine, one sip at a time. TM


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11 Responses

  1. Aaron says:

    You are so right about Zinfandel for rose wine. It tastes really good when we tried.

  2. Napa Reserva says:

    Yes with some selected wines that could age up to 20+ years. The vast majority of wines are meant to be enjoyed within 7/8 years or sooner.

  3. SK Roy says:

    Can I preserve red wine for twenty five years

  4. Xolile Mbanga says:

    I’d like to get frequent wine news, as I am red wine esp Shiraz enthusiast

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