In terms of number of wine varieties, it is truly safe to say that one never runs out of wines to try. The overwhelming options may sometimes leave wine lovers confused. Hence, walking into a wine store without even a glimpse of idea about wines in general is likely an embarrassing situation to get through.
To learn the basics of red wines, below are the eight major types of reds available you might want to get to know:
- This variety is known to be the less popular dupe for Merlot but works just as great as the latter in terms of versatility in food pairing. In fact, it can go well with any kind of dish, even those with tomato sauces. Barbere is a red grape that grows commonly in the vineyards of California and Italy and produces a strong cherry and plum flavors that are just perfect for its texture, low tannins and high acidity.
Barbere wines are usually deep colored and the young ones are full of blackberry notes. Have a glass of this type of red wine and experience its robust and intense fruit flavor and tannic properties.
- Cabernet Sauvignon. Unanimously recognized as the world’s best red wine because it goes best with any kind of red meat, Cabernet Sauvignon mostly grows in California, Chile, and Australia. The variety usually outshines with its inviting blue color, producing wines that are from medium to full bodied. Cabernet Sauvignon usually take a long time to age, hence the young wines tend to bear high level of tannins.
For the flavors, you can choose between blackberries, raspberries, and cherries. Also, if the wines have gone through oak treatment, vanilla flavors may be present.
- Although Malbec in the famous Bordeaux region of Italy, a lot of Malbec grapes are currently present in Argentina. Thus, in fact, it is considered the latter’s most popular red wine. It thrives well particularly in Argentina’s Mendoza region because of its friendly climate. Nonetheless, Malbec grapes can also be found in Australia, Chile, and some regions in California, Italy, New Zealand, and Africa.
Since Malbec grows in a number of countries, the taste usually varies majorly on the place it is grown and how it has been developed. However, regardless of the origin, most Malbec wines always appear to be well colored bearing hints of plums, berries, and spice. Malbec is also popular as a blending wine with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet, Sauvignon, and Merlot whose blends are famous for their healthy perks.
- This variety is also a popular one in the world and is considered new red wine drinkers’ most favorite because of its softness it releases. It grows popularly in Italy but is also common in California, Romania, Chile and state of Washington. Merlot is more often blended with other Bordeaux wines that is why it is also abundant in France.
As to the taste, Merlot wines are usually medium to full bodied and bear scents and flavors of blackberry, plum, and herbal accents. Sometimes, flavors of chocolate and vanilla are present too. Also because of its wide flavor options, Merlot is known to go well with salmon dishes and red meats especially when served at a temperature as cold as 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pinot Noir. Usually grown in Burgundy, France and other regions with cooler climate, Pinot Noir are rarely blended and usually have no tannins. Although difficult to grow, Pinot Noir wines are still widely available in the market. Go for this type if you are planning to devour chicken, lamb, and grilled salmon. Have it as cold as 60 degrees Fahreheit. The aromas can be fruity with hints of tea leaf that you might also love.
- This variety is another from Italy and is commonly used in red wine blending especially with Super Tuscans and Chianti. Sangiovese are usually medium bodied with flavors like plum and fresh berry. They are known to go well with any Italian dish and even Mediterranean cuisines.
- Syra or This wine variety which mainly grows in Australia is often medium to full bodied with slight hints of spice, fruity, an pepper flavors. It can be aged for a long time. Shiraz is usually sweeter than Syra, though, and can appear in darkest, deepest reds. Syra or Shiraz are also a hit for wine beginners.
- Grown primarily in California, Zinfandel wines usually have the flavor of berries and pepper. Zinfandel grapes produce wines from white to deep reds to even roses. The heavy wines particularly go well with grilled dishes and pasta.