Course: Understanding Wine

Class 2: Tasting Reds



Defining Extract

If you were to leave a wine glass containing just a few drops of red wine and return to it a day or two later, you would find that the water and alcohol had evaporated, leaving just a dry, red stain in the bottom of the bowl. That stain consists of flavor compounds, pigments, sugar, tannins, acids and minerals -- in short, all the solids of wine without the liquids.

These solids are called dry "extract" (because they are "extracted" from the grapes during fermentation) and the process of capturing them as "extraction."


Extract and Grape Variety

The amount of solids that can be extracted depends on the grape variety. Grapes containing high levels of solids -- complex varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon -- can...

Ready to enroll? First, you must register for a membership to Your membership benefits include:

FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School

Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes

FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are

E-newsletters with advance ratings

Editors’ blogs

Food and wine matching tool

And much more

Log In If You're Already a Member

Please log in using your email address and password for Wine Spectator School students who enrolled before 7.4.10, log in with your email address and school password or get more info here.

Forgot Password?

By clicking "Log in" you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Wine Spectator Online

Read our FAQ for more information

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences