Different Types Of Red Wine
Red wines are categorized by varietals the type of grape that is used to produce the wine. Some red wines blend several varietals to elicit different flavors or tasting characteristics. These red blends are also generally more affordable than single varietals from Bordeaux, Napa Valley, or Australia.
Within these types of red wine, each one can have a different style: light-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied. Red wines with a light body have an airy effect on the palate. These wines including Grenache and Pinot Noir tend to have fewer tannins and thus less of a punchy flavor. Medium-bodied red wines like Merlot and Shiraz have a higher alcohol content compared to light-bodied wines and offer a lingering flavor. Full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon from California contain more than 13.5% alcohol and offer a full mouth feel. They are rich and bold with intense flavors.
Not sure which type of wine you’ll like? Here, well break down the differences between red wines. Plus, well give you handy tips on which ones you may like based on your taste preferences.
Which Red Wine Is Best For Beginners
How Is Red Wine Made
To make red wine, the pressed grape juice is left in contact with its skinsa process called macerationto draw out color, tannins and phenols . With fermentation complete, the wine is aged in tank or barrel. Short aging results in a fresh, fruity red. To allow time for flavors to integrate, more complex wines need to age longer, often in oak barrels, which may impart notes of toast, vanilla or coconut.
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Who Should Buy It
This red wine vinegar is excellent as a dressing for vegetable salads and a marinade for red meat and chicken. You can get two bottles of these bad boys for a very affordable price. They are also carefully packaged like red wine, making them an excellent gift for someone who enjoys cooking.
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Best Overall: Marcel Lapierre ‘raisins Gaulois’
Region: Beaujolais, France | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherries, Red fruit, White pepper
In the world of affordable wines, it doesnt get better than Lapierres ‘Raisins Gaulois.’ This bottle is produced by one of Beaujolais’ most highly-regarded winemaking families. Organic, well-made and seriously easy to drink, this wine is loaded with flavors of tart cherries, juicy red fruit and white pepper. Serve slightly chilled with charcuterie, cheese, Taco Tuesday favorites and more. Youll never go wrong with this bottle.
How To Recycle Wine Bottles
Glass bottles can usually go in your household recycling bin. If your council doesnt accept them, you can take them to a local bottle bank.
The recycling process can vary depending on where you live, so make sure to check with your local area if bottles require rinsing first and whether metal screw caps should be replaced or recycled separately.
Natural corks cant go in your recycling bin. You can recycle natural corks through Recorked UK either by posting them or dropping them off at your nearest collection point.
Synthetic corks, which are made of plastic, cant be recycled. They should be disposed of in your general waste bin.
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Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Chateau Montelena was not only an entry into the Judgement of Paris, its 1973 Chardonnay came in first place for white wine. That finesse the judges fell for in 1976 can also be found in the winerys Cabernet Sauvignon to this day. The elegance lives in the vibrant acidity winding through this wine, casually pronouncing a whiff of plum and blackberry mingling with cracked black pepper. It all comes together on the palate, with an added cassis vibe and well-woven tannins calling from the edge of your palate. This is a special wine.
Planeta La Segreta Sicilia Rosso 2017
Sicilian wine needs your attention. Its out here being awesome and affordable, looking for love. Go get this wine. It has bursting berry fruit from wonderful acidity, making for a balanced, playful palate. Its a red wine for hanging out early evening and swapping hot goss while snacking on whatever you have lying around. Its that easy and delicious.
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What Is The Difference Between A White And Red Wine Glass
They differ in size, shape, and stem length. As you might have noticed, the bowls from white wine glasses are smaller and less curved. Their rim is also narrow compared to red wine glasses.
On the other hand, red wine glasses have large bowls so that drinkers can appreciate the flavors and aromas more. White wine doesnt need to be exposed to air. However, you will see that white wine glasses have longer stems because the drink is sensitive to temperature.
Best Overall: Louis Latour Chteau Corton Grancey
Region: Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Red currants, Blood orange, Dried raspberries, Baking spice
One of the top names in all of Burgundy is Louis Latour, and one of the most unique wines it produces is this Château Corton Granceya blend of four Grand Cru vineyards .
Delivering profound notes of black and red currants, blackberry fruit, blood orange citrus, and dried raspberries underscored by baking spices and dried red florals, this pinot noir is also a textural masterpiece with mouthwatering acidity and grippy cedar-like tannins.
Good to Know:
When it comes to red wine, balance is a non-negotiable for Alexandra Neverov, sommelier at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, New York. For me, there has to be this unspoken equilibrium in a great red wine, from tannins to alcohol to acid and fruit balance, she says. Neverov also goes for reds with pronounced aromatics. If I find myself entranced, then I feel that wine can be truly enchanting.
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Early Mountain Eluvium 2017
When we are on the other side of this national health crisis, go to Virginia. Stay in the beautiful Shenandoah, tucked into the Blue Mountains. Hike and paddle during the day, eat venison and local cheeses as the sun sets, and sip some of the most exciting wine in the country. Wines from these hills are bright and balanced, even when brooding. This wine defines that. Dark, supple fruit, with high acidity and satisfying tannins, make for a unique American wine experience.
Domaines Barons De Rothschild Lafite Lgende R 2017
Yes, Bordeaux can be delicious and affordable! YESSSS! This bottle has all the things you want in a wine from this region, such as a soft fruit core balanced by moderate acidity. It also has earthy notes of dark berry fruit that bring comfort to the senses. Its a nice weeknight red to drink with herbed buttermilk chicken or braised duck.
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Best Chilean: J Bouchon Pas Salvaje
Courtesy of Plonk Wine Club
Region: Central Valley, Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Red fruits, Cherry, Wild Strawberry, Floral
Never heard of País before? If you love earthy, medium-bodied reds with tons of acid, then this historic grape needs to be on your radar.
Produced from organically farmed vineyards in the heart of Chiles Central Valley, this flavor-packed wine jumps with notes of wild strawberries, red flower petals and wild herbs. For a crowd-pleasing red that promises to satisfy the masses, look no further than this tasty, budget-friendly option.
Best Red With Christmas Dinner
Our experts Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter gave us their top tips on food and wine pairings, including:
- The best wine with roast turkey
- The best wine with smoked salmon
- The best wine with vegetarian food.
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Tips For Picking A Good Bottle Of Wine
Since good wine is so subjective, knowing how to choose the right wine means considering several factors including occasion, flavor preferences, labels and price points. While the combination of these factors is different for each person, the tips below will help anyone in search of that perfect bottle of wine.
1. If you are new to wine, start with a white or rose.
Just as your food preferences evolve as you mature, the wines you enjoy are also likely to change over time. However, a study of consumer palates by Sonoma State University found most people first enjoy a sweet white or rose wine, then later fall in love with dry reds or wines with more distinctive flavors. Fifty-four percent of respondents in the Sonoma State University study said they preferred semi-sweet or sweet white or rose wines when they started drinking wine. While each persons experience is different, an early distaste for drier wines or wines with high tannins may be due to their unique flavor and sharp bitterness.
If the thought of drinking a sweet wine makes you cringe, that doesnt necessarily mean you should jump to reds. Instead, opt for a dry white or rose. Beginning with a lighter-bodied wine can be a step to learning to enjoy a variety of wines.
2. Reflect on other flavors you enjoy.
3. Consider the occasion.
4. Be sure to read the label and learn what youre reading.
5. Look for second-label wines.
6. Dont stress over the age of the wine.
7. Dont let price dictate your choice.
Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is the flagship offering from Californias Chateau Montelena, and this vintage stands out in particular. According to the winemaker Matt Crafton, a mild summer allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. The resulting wine opens with a floral nose, proceeds into flavors of plum and marzipan on the palate, ending with a coffee and caramel soft sweetness on the finish.
To buy: $175, montelena.com
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Find Your Perfect Match With The Best Red Wine Options
McKenzie Hagan | May 14, 2020
Discovering the best red wine is all about tastes. Some people like it sweet and others like it dry. Some prefer the richness of full-bodied red while others find themselves coming back to the easy drinking of an airy, light-bodied red. The red wine your best friend falls head over heels for might not necessarily be your jam. Each wine is unique with its own tasting notes and aromas to draw in your senses.
There are hundreds of tasting notes for every taste bud. From almonds and berry fruits to cherry-like and velvety, theres a red wine out there for you. Here, well break down the best red wine options and help you choose the ones youll like most based on your preferences.
Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Cabernet from Chile comes in many forms from soft and structured, to grippy, dense, and age-worthy. When done right, it can also be easy-drinking and crowd-pleasing. This is that wine. Its not too heavy, but it still shows some depth and is ready to drink. I mean, the price is nuts for the quality. Buy it by the case in the name of spontaneity.
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What Are The Types And Styles Of Red Wine
There are hundreds of types of red wine varieties in commercial use, from light and finessed to bold and structured, however, only about 35 varieties contribute to the majority of red wine production. The most grown grape varieties are:
- Tempranillo. Red and black fruit, earth and herbs.
- Syrah. Dark fruit, pepper, spicy and savory.
- Grenache. Ripe red fruit and sexy texture.
- Pinot Noir. Earthy, silky and complex.
- Sangiovese. Red fruit, earthy and herbal.
Best Australian Red: Penfolds 2017 Bin 389 South Australia Cabernet Shiraz
Region: South Australia, Australia | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Black cherries, Cassis, New leather, Fruit cake
Penfolds, unquestionably the greatest winemaking estate in Australia, is best known for its iconic wine, Penfolds Grange. Chief winemaker Peter Gago made it his mission to produce well-structured wines with deep flavors and, as he puts it, a propensity to age.
While Grange is primarily shiraz, with a splash of cabernet sauvignon sourced from specific sites in South Australia, Penfolds’ Bin 389 combines 54% cabernet sauvignon with 46% shiraz and is often referred to as Baby Grange. Plus, this wine comes at a more approachable price tag than the Grange.
Region: Mendoza, Argentina | ABV: 14.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherry compote, Salty dark chocolate, Cedar spice
Achaval-Ferrer’s Quimera blend is a wine of remarkable precision: Co-founder Santiago Achaval, one of the most respected winemakers in Argentina, and winemaker Roberto Cipresso comb the vineyards, tasting grapes and hand-selecting vines specifically for this blend. In 2014, they conceived a dynamic and complex blend of 50% malbec, 24% cabernet franc, 18% merlot and 8% cabernet sauvignon.
Region: Ribera del Duero, Spain | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Spiced plums, Forest underbrush, Cigar box
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Asda Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha 2019
£6 for a 75cl bottle
This wine is from the sun-baked Spanish vineyards of Aragon. Its intense flavour comes from the 25 year old vines, according to Asda.
Log in or join Which? to find out how this affordable garnacha measured up in our tests.
Want to buy without reading our results? This wine is available at Asda.
Buying Guide For Best Red Wine
Red wine is a globally beloved drink, enjoyed by many groups of people for all kinds of occasions. Red wine, created by fermenting grapes, has been around for millennia. Red wines are made around the world, from France to Australia, America to Chile, and South Africa to Italy.
While there are 32 or so main varietals of red wine, there are countless other types and blends, and each region, vineyard, and season offers something distinct and enjoyable. Whats more, a bottle opened today would probably have a different taste than if you opened the same bottle in three years time as wine grows in complexity as it ages. Wine varies greatly, and there is a red for everyone.
All you really need to know about wine is what you like. Our buying guide will help you differentiate between types of red wine so you can find the right bottle for you. For our five favorite red wines, see the matrix above.
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Sierra Cantabria Seleccin 2018
The Rioja region has defined a certain style of Tempranillo: soft, somewhat supple, and structured. Fortunately, that awesome profile lineup can cover all price points. If you like the feel of Pinot Noir but need a good cheap bottle for a weeknight, this is a great grab and go. Its plush, with a nice, calm fruit core and great acidity. Cheese plates and tapas are in order.
M& s Classic Lomas Del Marqus Rioja Reserva 2015
£9 for a 75cl bottle, vegan and vegetarian
Is this M& S Rioja the perfect tipple for a cold winter’s evening? Our panel of tasters tell all.
You can log in now or join Which? to see how this wine did in our winter line-up.
Want to buy without reading our results? This wine is available at M& S or Ocado.
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How To Buy Good Wine
This article was co-authored by Samuel Bogue. Samuel Bogue is the Wine Director of the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group in San Francisco, California. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, is a Zagat “30 Under 30” award winner, and is a wine consultant for the San Francisco Bay Area’s top restaurants.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 45,924 times.
Good wines do not always come with a fancy label or a high price tag. You can find good wine in almost any price range, and from near every part of the world. Exactly what makes a good wine varies from person to person, but there are some clear indicators of how a good wine should look and taste. Find a good wine by learning a little bit about different types of wines, trying different varieties, and serving your wine properly.