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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I seem to recall that there is a red grape that makes white wine. Not by separating the skins from the juice as is done with most white wine, but due to the intrinsic properties of this particular grape. Can you help me?
—Randall E., Georgetown, Texas
Keep in mind that most rosés are made from red wine grapes. Instead of making wine with the grape skins (which is where most of the color comes from), only the juice is fermented. Depending on the grape and the winemaking process, this can be quite pale.
I should also point out that traditional Champagne and sparkling wine is made from any of three grapes—Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier—two of which are red wine grapes. Again, depending on the mix and the process, there you have another scenario where red grapes can make white wine, in this case sparkling.
Outside of that, there are some rare examples I can think of where a white wine is made from red grapes that are quickly pressed and the juice kept from contact with the skins. I’ve had a few vintages of the Domaine Serene Coeur Blanc, a white wine made from Pinot Noir, which is really quite lovely and rich and unusual. And Italian producer Cavallotto bottles a wine called Pinner, which is a white wine made from red Pinot Nero grapes.
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