Is Concord grape wine the same as red wine?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Concord grape wine is not exactly the same as red wine. While both are made from grapes, there are some distinct differences in their production and characteristics.

1. Grape Variety: Concord grape wine is made exclusively from the Concord grape variety, which is a type of Vitis labrusca grape. On the other hand, red wine can be made from various grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc. Each grape variety has its own unique flavor profile, resulting in different characteristics in the final wine.

2. Flavor Profile: Concord grape wine is known for its intense and “grapey” flavor. It has a distinct sweetness and a strong grape juice-like taste. This flavor is often associated with childhood memories of grape popsicles or grape juice. In contrast, red wine can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the grape variety, region, and winemaking techniques used. Red wines can range from fruity and jammy to earthy and tannic.

3. Vinification Process: The process of making Concord grape wine differs from that of traditional red wines. Concord grapes are typically pressed and their juice is fermented to produce the wine. This process retains the natural grape flavors, resulting in a wine that closely resembles the taste of the grapes themselves. On the other hand, red wine production involves crushing the grapes, fermenting the juice with the grape skins, and extracting color, tannins, and flavors from the skins during maceration.

4. Tannins and Structure: Concord grape wine generally has low levels of tannins, which are responsible for the drying sensation in the mouth. In contrast, red wines often have higher levels of tannins, especially if they are made from grape varieties with thicker skins. Tannins provide structure and can contribute to the aging potential of red wines.

5. Food Pairing: Due to its sweet and fruity profile, Concord grape wine is often enjoyed on its own or paired with desserts. It can complement dishes with fruity or chocolate flavors. Red wines, on the other hand, are more versatile when it comes to food pairing. They can be paired with a wide range of dishes, including meats, cheeses, pasta, and more.

While Concord grape wine and red wine share some similarities as they both originate from grapes, their flavor profiles, production methods, and food pairing options differ significantly. So, if you are looking for a wine with a distinct and grapey flavor reminiscent of childhood, Concord grape wine would be a great choice.