Love your wine red? You’re not alone. It is still the preferred choice of about 70% of wine drinkers across the world. What many don’t realize though, is just how much choice there is available when it comes to cultivating your palate and finding the truly perfect combination for your taste buds.
Here are nine of the most popular red wine types to help guide you on your journey of discovery:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
Now found in wine growing regions all over the world, Cabernet Sauvignon originally hails from the Bordeaux region of France. Generally considered to be the king of red wine, Cab is usually characterized as full-bodied with bold tannins. This is a result of a higher concentration of alcohol, in addition to some of the most pronounced flavours which tend to be dark cherry or dark current.
If you’re just getting into red wine, Merlot is a great place for you to start. Medium, smooth, and highly drinkable, many love Merlot for its deep fruity flavour. The pronounced tasting notes found in this grape will vary depending on where it is grown, so take note that if you’re looking for those sweeter tannins and cherry flavours, you should look for a bottle produced in a hotter climate. Those from cooler climates will tend to be on the drier side.
3. Pinot Noir
With softer tannins and higher acidity, Pinot Noirs are known being light, aromatic, and totally delicious. Many boast intense floral aromas and you can usually find hints of cherry, cranberry, or even beet and rhubarb. A note on food pairing? Pinot Noir is lovely with sushi and salmon dishes.
Although it also originated in the Bordeaux region, Argentina has really taken Malbec and made it something all its own. This wine is characterized by an electric purple colour and rich berry flavour. It is full and powerful in the mouth and tends to make a strong impression.
If you’re looking for big, bold flavours, this is the grape for you. Grown most commonly in Australia and some parts of France, Shiraz, or Syrah as it is also known, will give your tasting notes ranging from blueberry and plum to tobacco and black pepper. It is in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to tannin and can stand up well to full-flavoured dishes like smoked meat and wild game.
6. Petit Sirah
This grape has a very devout following, and although is relatively rare, no list of the most popular grapes would be complete without it. Grown mostly in California, this grape offers medium acidity, high tannins, and high alcohol content. If you were even going to bust out the decanter, this would be the wine to do it with. The flavours of dark chocolate, blueberry, and sugar plum will benefit greatly from being given a few hours to breath.
A beloved staple in Tuscany, this grape is characterized by high acidity and a light colour. It has flavours of plum and cherry, anise, and tobacco. As you may have guessed, it pairs perfectly with Italian food and it sure to act as a nice complement to just about any pasta or pizza.
Although we tend to associate Zinfandel with California, the vines of this diverse grape actually came first from Croatia. The flavours in a bottle of Zin can vary a lot but you’re likely to sense overripe fruit and spices. The spicy and tobacco notes found in Zinfandel make it good choice to serve alongside ethic cuisine, as the two will complement each other with their differing levels of spice.