Pinot is a cool climate style that is a little brighter than some of the other reds. They are a little bit more in the red fruit aromatic spectrum so tastes like cranberries and strawberries should come to mind. This is a lighter style of red that works well with some foods that you might normally think of pairing with a white wine; seafoods and white meats for example.. Best food to pair it with: “People say, ‘Don’t, drink red wine with fish.’ When combined with Omega 3s and all the fats in fish, tannins can create this weird metallic, copper flavor,” Selecman said. “Pinot noir is very light in tannins, so it won’t give you that unsavory taste. Pair it with some barbecue-glazed salmon, ideally.”
On the nose Merlot tends to give us a little bit more of an herbal quality to it. There is little bit less of the earthiness that we find in Pinot Noir and its taste consistent with its color seems to be a little bit darker in its fruit range. Merlots flavors are little bit more like blackberries and plums and a little bit less like strawberries and cranberries. These medium-bodied wines are less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon and are often blended with other grapes to bring softness and complexity to a finished red wine. Well-known wine blends that may contain Merlot include Meritage, Bordeaux, super Tuscans, and Priorat, among others. When we encounter it from a cool place we often get a woodsy character to it almost like cedar or even roasted bell peppers. It is very well-suited to food.. Best food to pair it with: It’s fairly food versatile, and it definitely doesn’t demand being paired with fatty, saltier foods—like a cab. Vegetable-based dishes or tomato-based pastas are excellent counterparts to this varietal.
Cab is an intense powerhouse of a wine that will deliver a big oof of flavor., generally big, full-bodied, and tannic, and the wines made from them can age for years. Aromatically Cabernet Sauvignon has some resemblance to Merlot in its fruit, but if you taste carefully it definitely in the dark fruit blackberry and cherry range, but it adds to that herbal quality, flavors that remind me of darker foods like liquorice and chocolate and coffee. In my opinion, there is good wine around the world... Cabernet Sauvignon always seems to appeal to my senses the most. Especiailly Napa Cabs... juicy jamy wine with an almost chewy mouthfeel that is silky smooth and slightly sweet with a moderate and appealing tannic bite accompanied by a good alcohol kick that is balanced with the rest of the notes which reminds me a dark berry and stone fruit compote with a shot of good cognac and sweeted with the slightest bit of cane sugar or even some aromatic honey. Best food to pair it with: Cabernet needs fat to latch onto—if you don't have fat or salt in your meal, the dryness of the cab will coat your tongue. If you’re at a steakhouse, your go-to order should be cabernet sauvignon.
If you are stuck juggling between the cab and the merlot, pick up a malbec. It's like the Goldilocks of red wine.
Best food to pair it with: “My go-to here is BBQ, brisket, pulled pork... any sweet and spicy food, Malbec complements them very nicely, which isn’t easy to do.”
Syrah / Shiraz
Red Wines from Lightest to Boldest
Where does boldness in wine come from?A combination of several fundamental traits in wine define how bold it is. For example, the tannin level in wine indicates boldness, and so alcohol level. Higher alcohol wines tend to taste bolder. On the other hand, wines with lower alcohol, less tannin, and higher acidity are lighter-bodied.
- Another common way to identify a wine’s position in the spectrum has to do with its dominant fruit characteristics:
- Wines with red fruit flavors tend to be lighter-bodied
- Wines with black fruit flavors tend to be fuller-bodied
Some other Red Varietals
There are many type of reds but typically you wil fear about these:
- Zinfandel wines run the gamut in flavor characteristics and range from big and hearty to light and delicate. They are primarily single varietal wines, often produced in the United States with particularly stellar varieties coming from Sonoma County. Zinfandel isn't used in a ton of blends, but you may find it blended with the Petite Sirah grape or in some blends. In Italy, Primitivo is actually the same grape as Zinfandel, so wines labeled Primitivo are also Zinfandel wines.
- Sangiovese is another favorite. While it is primarily recognized as an Italian wine grape found in Chianti, Sangiovese is also grown in other wine regions, such as the United States, and used to produce single-varietal named wines. Other wines that contain Sangiovese as either the primary grape or in blends include super Tuscans, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Some wines can taste kind of flat with these stronger flavors, it is more on the earthy side in flavor characteristics with medium tannins and high acidity . Gamey meats go outstanding with sangiovese. The wine helps bring out some sweetness in meat, venison, and duck. And of course, it goes exceptionally with tomatoes, vinaigrette, and balsamic sauces and dressings. ”
- Barbera is a grape and wine varietal that comes mostly from Northern Italy. It's a low-tannin red with soft plum flavors and zingy acidity. Barbera is almost exclusively used as a single varietal wine, and you will find some wine regions outside of Italy produce Barbera wines.
- Cabernet Franc originated in France and is used in single varietal, Bordeaux wines, and Bordeaux-style blends from around the world. It may also be blended in small amounts in Chianti, super Tuscan wines, and Meritage style wines. Cabernet Franc has medium-tannins with flavors of plums, berries, and spice.
- The Nebbiolo grape can be found labeled as the varietal, but it's mostly found in Italian wines from Tuscany including Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is a medium-bodied wine with strawberry characteristics and powerful tannins. Nebbiolo wines can often be aged for longer than a decade because of the powerful structure the tannins provide.
- Grenache/Garnacha is known in Spain as Garnacha, Grenache is often earthy, smoky, and soft. You'll find these wines labeled as a single varietal, but it's also a great blending grape found in many of the world's greatest wines including Spain's Priorat, GSM from Australia and the US, and many blends from France's Southern Rhône region including Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône. You'll find Grenache also grown and labeled as single varietals in Australia, the United States, and other regions from around the world.