Wine Myths Debunked: White from Red?

Setting the record straight on common wine misconceptions

In this recurring series, Jonathan Cristaldi debunks some common, socially ingrained myths about wine and the people who make, drink, and live all things vino.

Myth #1:
White wine can only be made from white (well, green) grapes. 

The truth:
White wine can actually be made from red/black grapes.

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The details:
Think about a recent bottle of Champagne you enjoyed. In your glass, the bubbly might have shimmered a golden color, maybe even a slight amber hue—but it is plainly a white wine. With any bottle of “Champers”, there are three possible grapes that produced the juice inside: Chardonnay (a green-skinned grape), Pinot Meunier (a black-skinned grape) and Pinot Noir (also a black-skinned grape). If that bubbly was made from say, 100% Pinot Noir grapes, how then is the color of the Champagne, not red? How is it a deep golden color? During harvest, when pressed, the juice from most grapes–red, black or green-skinned, runs clear. Red wines and rosé wines attain their color when the clear juice is left in contact with the red and black grape skins, often during fermentation or for a “cold soak.” There’s an exchange of “color tannins” with the juice, and the vibrancy or density of the resulting red color depends upon how long the juice is left in contact with the skins. So, back to that Champagne made of Pinot Noir…the juice was pressed and was not allowed to mingle with the grape skins, so no color-tannins were exchanged, and a near-white, golden colored sparkling wine was made from a red grape. Happens all the time. 

Have a wine myth in need of some debunking? Leave a comment below or tweet it to @NobleRotNYC

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