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Wine Spectator School

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...

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