While wine is not a healthy drink by any stretch of the imagination, wine certainly has some health benefits.
More than 100 studies have linked wine consumption to a decreased risk of heart disease.
In fact, research strongly suggests that drinking a little bit of wine is better than not drinking any at all 🙂
Today, we will learn about some key differences in red vs white wine and find out which one is better for you.
Although the color is the most obvious difference between the two, there is also a major difference in the way red and white wines are fermented.
Wine is made from grapes – the grapes are grown in the right conditions, harvested, crushed, and then placed in vats/buckets/jars to ferment.
During fermentation, the sugars that are found naturally within the grapes get converted into alcohol. Sometimes, yeast is added to achieve the desired level and rate of fermentation.
After being crushed, the grapes are ‘pressed’ to remove the skins and other particles (stems, seeds, etc.)
The timing of the grapes being pressed varies for red and white wine.
- During white wine production, the grapes are pressed before the fermentation process while for red wine, the grapes are fermented along with the skins, stems, and seeds and then pressed.
- The pressed wine is then aged and bottled. Oak or stainless steel barrels are used for aging.
Red Vs White – Storing & Serving Temperatures
The temperature at which wine is stored is extremely crucial to ensure that it retains its signature flavor and aroma. Frequent temperature swings, exposure to high/low temperatures, and harsh light should be avoided.
55° F (12.7° C) is considered to be the ideal temperature for long-term wine storage.
However, red and white wines are served and stored at different temperatures to bring out their best flavor.
- White wine is stored and served at temperatures ranging from 45 to 55° F (7.2 to 12.7° C)
- Red wine is stored from 55 to 65° F (12.7°to 18.3° C)
The ideal humidity for storing wine is about 70% but 50 to 80% is quite acceptable. Extremely low humidity can cause the wooden wine corks to dry out and air might seep into the bottle. Hence, a sealed bottle should always be placed on it’s side so that the liquid is always in contact with the cork.
As you’ve probably realized, a conventional refrigerator has dry air and the temperature is below 45° F. Hence, it’s not really the best option for storing wine. Kitchen cabinets are also bad as kitchens are usually quite warm and it’s hard to control factors such as temperature and humidity.
I think anybody who is even remotely serious about preserving and consuming fine wine should opt for a dedicated wine cooler with dual zone cooling for red and white wines.
These are not really that expensive and they look very classy indeed.
Pairing Red or White Wine With Other Flavors
Now the topic of wine pairing is highly vast, and subjective and despite all the ‘rules’, pairing is open to interpretation and personal preferences.
Still, we will quickly brush up on the basics of pairing white and red wines with the right foods.
Please note that the objective of creating a suitable pairing is to bring out the best flavors of the food as well as the wine.
Even if you are eating a plate of delicious food, your brain ceases to be ‘surprised’ by the taste after a few morsels. A properly paired wine can help to cause a pleasant change in the flavor. This ‘resets’ the process and both the food and wine become ‘surprisingly’ tasty again. Let me elucidate with the help of an example:
We all know that spicy chicken wings or pork belly go very well with a nice cold beer.
Now, spicy food causes a slight burning sensation in the mouth. This sensation is relieved with a sip of cold and bitter beer.
Drinking bitter beer on its own can be enjoyable but the taste may get repetitive and boring after a few sips. However, the cold beer tastes a whole lot more appetizing after a bite of peppery food.
In essence, the beer becomes tastier because of the spicy chicken wings and the wings become even more flavorsome after a sip of beer. This is a case where the pairing is much, much better than the sum of the components (beer and wings).
I hope you got the basic idea behind food pairings…..here are a few tips for wine pairings…
Generally, the wine should be slightly sweeter than the food served with it. The food should be less acidic than the wine.
White wine goes very well with mellow meats such as chicken and fish. Generally, white wine is paired with these meats so that it creates a contrast in flavor. As in, the food and wine taste quite different but still go well together. (Example: lime and coconut)
Red Wine is perfect for bold flavors and red meats such as lamb, pork, etc. The flavor profile of red wine is usually congruent with that of meats. This means that instead of contrasting the flavor, it complements it on account of similar compounds. An example of a congruent pairing would be meat and mushrooms. They both go extremely well together but the flavor is somewhat similar and not contrasting as in lime and coconut.
Health Benefits of Red Vs White Wine
In terms of vitamins and minerals, red wine has slightly higher amounts of potassium, riboflavin, iron, manganese, and magnesium.
However, white wine has 4 fewer calories per 1 serving (usually 5 ounces or 148 ml)
What tilts the balance strongly in favor of red is the fact it is fermented WITH the skins, seeds, and stems, accounting for that it contains a lot more plant compounds. These compounds have anti-oxidant properties and deliver a host of benefits
Studies indicate that red wine can help to lower the risk of heart disease, increase good cholesterol and mitigate the effects of brain decline due to aging.
Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, can also help to improve longevity, decrease the incidence of cancer and protect against diabetes. (Resveratrol supplements are getting quite popular, by the way).
Wine, in general, can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by about 25 to 40%. This claim is supported by at least 100 studies.
Wine can also help to improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and death. However, moderation is key. Please enjoy alcohol responsibly.
Conclusion: Both red and white wines are delicious if paired with the right foods but in terms of health benefits, red wine has a slight edge over white wine. Do let us know which one you personally prefer in the comments section.
Underground Wine Merchants was founded by Wine Lovers & For Wine Lovers.
We’d love if you’d stay and look around our website a bit, we’ve got some Amazing Wine Cooler Reviews, such as Edgestar Wine Coolers, Avanti Wine Coolers, Vinotemp Wine Coolers, Newair Wine Coolers, and Danby Wine Coolers.
If you have any questions about what you’ve read, or about wine in general, feel free to reach out and let us know, or leave a comment below!
Karina & The Underground Wine Merchants Team