Know Your Red Wine Varieties


Red wine is more than just red grapes and our article explains four of the most popular varieties in more details so you can talk wine-speak more fluently. For instance, did you know that the darker colour red the bolder the wine? Rosier coloured wines are lighter in texture and flavour, while bolder flavoured wines have a dark red or purple color.

It’s also worth noting that grapes grown in warmer climates will produce wines with bolder bodies, while grapes grown in cooler climates provide lighter wines. Another bit of knowledge surrounding red wine is that bolder wines mean higher alcohol content, due to the high level of tannins in their composition. Lighter wines don’t have such an elevated level of alcohol, because they have fewer tannins in their makeup, and are slightly more acidic than their darker coloured red wine affiliates.

Light wines are commonly known for their red berry flavor, while the deeper, red-coloured wines have a black berry flavor. Read on to find out more about some of the more popular varieties of this delicious fermented, red grape.


Quite commonly called Syrah in Europe, this wine is better known as Shiraz in Australia and is a full-bodied red wine with a dark colour. When you drink it, you’ll really notice that black fruit flavour and might even pinpoint black currant if you have a good palate! You can really notice the tannins in this wine, together with the wine’s often high alcohol content. Some varieties of Shiraz even offer toffee notes due to the fact that they are stored to rest in oak barrels. This is the kind of wine that will successfully accompany meat dishes, especially red meat.


Merlot is a very popular type of red wine because it is relatively easy to drink. It is somewhere in the middle between red wines with bold bodies and the lighter variety, so is a good ‘middle of the road’ wine choice for various occasions. Merlot is a good introduction to red wine because it is so smooth and pleasant to drink. It is less rugged than Cabernet Sauvignon, allowing you to enjoy flavors that include plums, black cherries, and even herbal flavors. You can pair this wine with any food of your choice.

Cabernet Sauvignon

It is considered one of the best red wine varieties in the world, although many wine producers blend it with Merlot and Cabernet Franc to improve its flavor. In many cases, the wine is left to rest in oak barrels which helps create a full body, in which tannins are highly present. When the wine is young, its tannins are rather gripping, this grip fading away as the wine ages. An older Cabernet Sauvignon is a bit softer, but still maintains the characteristic bell pepper flavors. It is best served with dishes of red meat that are prepared in a simple manner.

Pinot Noir

Because it is rather difficult to grow this wine assortment, Pinot Noir is considered a noble wine. This high esteem is given to this variety because it is smooth and never blended – wine producers consider it perfect as is! A bottle of Pinot Noir will surprise you with a fresh and delicate body. It has fruity flavors, plums, cherries, and even strawberries can tempt the palate when drinking this wine. It’s a wine that goes great with dishes containing chicken or lamb, grilled salmon, and even with Japanese dishes, such as sushi.


Source by Zoe G