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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Pair These Bottles With Your Favorite Desserts
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LIQUOR / Chloe Jeong
Sweet wine is one of the most overlooked and underrated styles of wine on the market. These wines provide thought-provoking and delicious drinking experiences, especially when paired with the right foods. Still, knowing where to start is key.;
“There are so many different sweet wine styles, from light and golden to dark and jammy,” says Carrie Lyn Strong, sommelier and owner of Strong Wine Consulting, LLC. “The names dont always indicate if its white or red, so just ask an expert.” Jeff Harding, beverage director at New York’s Waverly Inn, agrees. “Asking the sommelier or salesperson is the most important,” he says. “Then, decide what you like in sweet wine. Acid? Get a sauternes or Tokaji. Nutty flavors? Get a tawny port.”
With that said, here are the best sweet wines for every serving situation out there. Whether youre a dessert wine aficionado or a sweet wine skeptic, weve got the perfect bottle for you.
Finca Sophenia Altosur Malbec
Formerly labeled as Tupungato, the Finca Sophenia Altosur Malbec is a bottle of wine made in Gualtallary, Argentina. This red wine with violet hues has intense cherries, berries, and plum aroma with spicy and floral hints.;
The wine is very graceful and pure with sweet and round tannins. All of these make the Finca Sophenia Altosur Malbec very bold and structured. Best when paired with beef and venison, it has 14% alcohol content and a critic score of 93/100.
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Best California: Rutherford Hill Barrel Select Red Blend 2016
Courtesy of Vivino
- ABV: 14.5%
- Tasting Notes: Plum, oak, chocolate, cherry, raspberry
Napa Valley outfit Rutherford Hill has for many decades specialized in making their fantastic merlot. That top-notch merlot makes a splash in this 2016 red blend, an excellent representation of Napa Valley ingenuity from their celebrated winemaker, Marisa Taylor. Bold and fairly dry, this wine is packed with pleasant acidity and limber tannins.
Best Italian: Frescobaldi Nipozzano Vecchie Viti Chianti Rufina Riserva 2014
Courtesy of Wine.com
- ABV: 13.5%
- Tasting Notes: Red cherry, tannins, cocoa, salt
When a family winery has been in business for 700 years, you have to assume that they know what theyre doing. By now, Frescobaldi is a Tuscan institution and the generations of winemaking expertise shine through in this elegant 2014 bottle of Chianti Rufina.
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The Best Sweet And Fruity Wines
I was never much of a wine drinkerexcept for an occasional bottle of Arbor Mist, a brand a true wine lover might write off as juice rather than wine. Maybe I was only an “alcoholic juice” drinker? So I decided to do some experimenting to see what other types of wine I would enjoy .
I tried as many sweet, fruity-tasting wines as possible without breaking my bank account. I was not about to drop a lot of cash on a bottle of wine only to find out that the sink drain would enjoy it more than I would. In my search, I specifically looked for rosé, blush, moscato, and dessert varieties, as they usually have the sweeter taste that is more pleasant to the taste buds of an “alcoholic juice” drinker.
Best Value French: Chne Bleu Ablard 2011
Region: Rhône Valley | ABV: 14.5%;| Tasting Notes: Black cherry, Red licorice, Earth, Warm cinnamon
From an ancient property at the cornerstone of four appellations in Frances Southern Rhône, near the town of Gigondas and situated in Mont Ventoux, comes this absolute marvel of a wine. Owners Nicole and Xavier Rolet are incapable of making a bad wine, and incredibly, they’ve taken the extraordinary step of aging their wine for a generous amount of time prior to release. The vintage they currently have on the market is the 2012, but its terribly hard to find. Luckily, the 2011 is up for grabs: A decade-aged Rhône red consisting mostly of grenache, it is a testament to the efforts of these renegade vintners.
Wild red berry fruit, blackberry jam, French vanilla bean and garrigue layered with cigar box spices. Silky soft, elongated tannins support a panoply of flavors, from warm cinnamon and brown sugar spices to curry powder-dusted red berry fruit, with generous dollops of black cherry and red licorice. It finishes with grippy acidity and vivid earthy notes.
Region: Douro, Portugal;| ABV: 13.8% | Tasting Notes: Cranberry, Raspberry, Blood Orange, Cedar;
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The Health Benefits Of Red Wine
Terminology aside, why exactly is red wine good for you? What does it do inside the body, and how are its effects good for you in the short and long-term? Research has a lot to reveal when it comes to answering the health benefits of red wine:
- Improves cardiovascular health:;Perched at the top of red wines health list are its association with;the heart and overall cardiovascular benefits. Those struggling with high blood pressure and high bad cholesterol in particular benefit from the polyphenols, resveratrol and quercetin compounds in most red wines. These compounds combine to create a team of plaque-buildup fighting agents, reduce bad cholesterol from compounding and encourages good cholesterol reserve. The wine flavonoid quercetin, in particular, can lower blood pressure by helping to relax arteries and prevent cell stress.
How Is Wine Made
Wine is made by picking, crushing, fermenting and ageing grapes.;
The process begins by picking the grapes, before theyre taken to the crushing pad. Here, a destemmer will remove the stems from the bunches of grapes and will lightly crush them at the same time. The next step differs between red and white wines when it comes to removing the skins. White wine is pressed and the grape skins discarded, while red wine is made from grapes that are fermented with their skins still attached.;
Next is the fermentation period, where yeast is added to the vats of grapes in order for the sugars to convert to alcohol. When producing red wines, carbon dioxide is released, which causes the grape skins to rise to the surface.
The ageing step comes next and its here where creativity and flavour profiles really come into play. Wines can be aged for anything from a few months to several years. Some white wines are ready to be bottled after only a few months while most dry red wines benefit from being left up to two years. Wine can also be aged in new oak, used barrels or stainless steel, in American oak barrels or in French oak barrels, or in charred barrels, like those used when ageing Bourbon.;
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Best Overall: Vietti Moscato Dasti
In the world of sweet wine, Vietti Moscato checks all of our boxes. Produced by one of Piedmonts highly respected names, this wine is extremely well-priced and made with organically farmed fruit. Above all, its pleasant sweetness is balanced by high amounts of natural acidity. Notes of canned peaches, white flower petals, candied ginger and honeysuckle dominate the wine’s frothy palate. Serve with spicy appetizers, fruit-forward desserts or sugary brunch dishes .;
“Sweet wine is misunderstood and undervalued in the restaurant experience,” says Matthew Kaner, wine director & president of Will Travel For Wine, INC. “It has a strong place at the end of a meal, whether as dessert or paired with dessert.”
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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Grover La Rserve Red Rs 1150
This incredibly nuanced and detailed wine is a critics favourite. Its popularity stems from its incredibly velvety tannins and dense, layered flavours. Think chocolate, coffee beans and vanilla! Aged in French oak barrels for six months and produced in collaboration with world renowned wine expert Michel Rolland this is a bottle to delight family and friends over dinner. And dinner can be anything from roasted lamb to pasta dishes, soft full flavour cheeses or hearty kebabs and mutton biryani.
Best Under $: Tobin James Zinfandel Late Harvest
;Courtesy of Wine.com
Winemakers Tobin James and Lance Silver have honed in on the style of the rich vineyards of Paso Robles, Calif. with this sweet and spicy zinfandel. Their tasting room is something of a Paso Robles hub for seekers of quality wine. That jovial spirit is captured in this bottle.
There are notes of plum, blueberry, dark chocolate, raisin and spice. This wine is not too sweet, with vibrant acidity and gentle tannins. This pairs well with barbecue chicken wings or General Tsos chicken.
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Sweet Sparkling Red Wines
Brachetto is the grape, and the wine, Brachetto dAcqui DOCG, is made exclusively in Piedmont, Italy. The wine is a light ruby red color with aromas of strawberry, sweet cherry sauce, raspberry, violet and, rose candy. There are 3 official types of Brachetto dAcqui:
- Brachetto dAcqui Rosso: Basic Brachetto is playfully fizzy with 2 atmospheres of pressure and is known for having low alcohol at 5.5% ABV. Sweetness ranges, but is usually high at around 90115 g/L residual sugar, or the equivalent of about 45 teaspoons of sugar per glass.
- Brachetto dAcqui Spumante: A full sparkling version of Brachetto dAcqui with usually around 34 atmospheres of pressure, a fine bubble finesse and usually 6% ABV.
- Brachetto dAcqui Passito: A richer and sweeter Brachetto wine where grapes are picked and hand-dried on wooden racks for several weeks and then pressed to produce wine. The wines are very sweet with added richness from 11% ABV.
Lambrusco Rosso & Lambrusco Rosato
Lambrusco is the fruity red wine from Emilia-Romagna, which is also well known for Parmesan Reggiano cheese.
The wines range from dry to sweet , so look for wines labeled with Semisecco, Amabile, or Dolce for a sweet style. Wines range in color from pale ruby to dark purple with aromas of blueberry, cherry sauce, violet, and red currant. Most Lambrusco wines have light alcohol at 11%12% ABV
Best Spanish: Tinto Pesquera Crianza 2016
Courtesy of Drizly
- Region: Spain, Ribera del Duero
- ABV: 14%
- Tasting Notes: Oak, vanilla, black fruit
Spain strikes again with this robust red from Tinto Pesquera. This bottle is powered by the noble tempranillo grape, often used to make Port in Portugal where it goes by a different name, Tinta Roriz. But this wine is a whole other ballgameaged 18 months in American oak barrels, six months in the bottle, and ready for demanding tongues everywhere. Pair this bottle with red meats and aged cheeses.
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Best Under $: Friend And Farmer Biodynamic Red Wine No Added Sulfites
The Handwork Granacha is certified organic, biodynamic, and made from 100 percent grenache. The vineyard is owned by three brothers in La Mancha, Spain. Their dedication to their land and home country is expressed in their commitment to organic and biodynamic wine production. When it comes to funky, earthy natural wines, this bottle is on the lighter end. It has a profound earthiness, but is still light and fruity.
This bottle is full of tart cherry and strawberry flavors, and packed with mouth-watering acidity. To cap it off,;the value is unbeatable. For under $20, you get a quaffable bottle that pairs excellently with paella, a simple roasted chicken, or other light meats.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Aged
As it’s famously said, wine and cheese age beautifully with time. Produced by Oak ridge winery, the Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is an aging red wine that is both rich and intense.
Also comes from the Lodi region in California, you can pair this red wine with lamb. This is one of the best cheap red wines on the list and has around 14% alcoholic content.
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The Classic Champagne Cocktail
Let’s move into sparkling wine cocktails, shall we? “The” Champagne Cocktail is a classic cocktail that was invented in the 1860’s. It’s tangy and refreshing, perfect for sipping with a little nuance from the angostura bitters and lemon. The best part: Adding a sugar cube to champagne makes a fountain of bubbles that positively sparkles!;
Best Ros: 2020 Pratsch Ros
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Austria | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Watermelon, Peach, Raspberry;
Rosé has been having a moment for a while now, so there are many great options to choose from in a wide range of styles. For beginners, we recommend a light, dry style with lots of fresh, vibrant fruit, like this high-value gem from Austria.
Its made from the zweigelt grape, a locally popular variety that is known for bright berry flavors accented with a hint of black pepper, reminding us a lot of pinot noir. Succulent strawberry, watermelon, raspberry, peach, and pear notes are lifted by vibrant acidity and a hint of hibiscus perfume in this refreshing pink wine that makes a perfect companion to parks, picnics, and pools.
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Best Sparkling: 2020 Aviny Petillant Blanc
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: Spain | ABV: 10.5% | Tasting Notes: Peach, Grapefruit, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom
This lightly sparkling Spanish white isnt as well known as Cava or Prosecco, but beginners and experienced wine drinkers alike have been known to become enchanted with it from the first sip. From the Penedès region, where Cava is made, its a cheerful bottle of bubbly made from muscat grapes along with more traditional local varieties.
The bubbles are fine and smooth and the flavors are seriously freshthink just-picked peaches, juicy grapefruit, and crisp green appleand scented with a fragrant bouquet of honeysuckle, jasmine, and orange blossom. The fruity and floral notes make it smell like a sweet wine, but on the palate, youll find that its deliciously dry.
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.;
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Sweet Red Barefoot Wines
When searching the Barefoot Wines website, you can filter results from sweetest to driest. Some of their sweetest red wines include:
- Rosa Red Blend: Pair it with fresh fruit, light appetizers, or just drink chilled on a hot summer day. You’ll find sweet jammy flavors on the palate and some hints of spice on the nose. It costs about $6 a bottle.
- Sangria: Instead of making your own sangria, Barefoot Wines offers Red Wine Sangria with lots of bright citrus flavors, like orange, lime, lemon, and grapefruit. It’s great on its own, or try it with some spicy dishes, like Italian meatballs. You’ll pay about $13 a bottle.
- Barefoot Red Moscato Red Moscato: Traditional Moscato is white, but Barefoot Wines makes a sweet red version with bright cherry and raspberry on the palate, followed by a citrus finish. It’s easy to pair with a variety of dishes, but consider fresh fruit and cheese platters to let this wine shine for around $13.
- Sweet Red Blend: Probably one of the most popular Barefoot Wines, the Sweet Red Blend is made with a mixture of Barbera, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Grenache, and Petite Syrah grapes. These grapes typically produce jammy wines, and you’ll get lots of raspberry, plum, and maybe some cherry notes on the palate. Break out the BBQ and try some grilled meats and veggies with this wine — it can also stand up to some spice. This wine ranks in Influenster’s top 20 wines with over 900 reviews. It’ll cost around $13.