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Powerful red wine, what it means that a wine is powerful

A powerful red wine is typically a wine with great body and flavor concentration. The flavor and fullness in red wine comes predominantly from the grape skins. In powerful wines you will find a great part of solids and thus flavors from the grape skins. Typically, a powerful red wine is vinified for a longer time in the "lees" / grapeskins, such that a larger part of the grape solids will be extracted to the wine (like allowing your tea bag a little longer in the tea).

Grape varieties and crops are essential for how powerful the wine becomes. Grapes with a relatively large amount of grape skins compared to the amount of "juice" gives more powerful wines. Amarone is considered to be powerfuk, the power of Amarone is obtained by the grapes after the harvest is dried, and thereby the water content in the grapes is reduced, leading to the dry matter in the juice is increased.

Barrelaging the wine can also help to give the wine more flavor concentration.

Another parameter which contributes to the "power" is alcohol percentages. High alcohol helps to give the impression of a powerful wine. Wine grown in warmer areas, are more often perceived as being powerful, in contrast to wines grown in cooler conditions which generally achieves greater finesse.

Powerful grape varieties
Examples of grapes that gives powerful wines are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah / Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec, Zinfandel / Primitivo.

Powerful wine types
Examples of powerful wines: Amarone, an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, Chateau Neuf du Pape, Californian Zinfandel, Argentinian Malbec, Brunello.

Many consumers are fond of powerful wines. But powerful wine does not necessarily equal good / great wine. In order for a wine to be considered good / great there must be balance between the wine's power, balance, and the wine's other items such as fruit acid / freshness and minerality. Some red wines are more focussed on elegance than on "power". For example, red wines made from Pinot Noir grape are expected to be more elegant and refined than powerful. The same could be said of Chianti, Beaujolais and Piedmont wines.