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What are Some Different Kinds of Red Wines?

A bottle of white Zinfandel wine.
A glass of red wine.
Red wine fermenting in a vat.
Red meat often goes well with red wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon, one popular type of red wine, is full-bodied and has the taste of currants.
A picnic basket with a bottle of red wine.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2014
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Red wines come in many types, and in fact, so many types exist that creating an exhaustive list would be quite difficult. Most are organized by the types of grapes used to make the wine, and some are named after the regions in France where they originated. Wines from Italy do not follow the same naming principles as French inspired wines, however, and shouldn’t be missed. A good Chianti from Italy can rival the heartiest Zinfandel or Cabernet. Red wines are also produced in many other countries around the world, but often keep the names of their originators.

A Shiraz or Syrah is considered one of the heartier red wines. It is a deep, dark red in color, and when properly prepared, it should exhibit flavors of berry, spice, and black pepper. Wines like the syrah are often served with darker meats, like beef, or with wild game. They may also be served to counterpoint dark chocolate. Syrah grapes are grown with great success in France, California, and Australia.

Cabernet Sauvignon may come from Chile, France, Australia, or California. It is one of the most well known red wines and is usually very hearty. Some note the grapes are slightly reminiscent of bell peppers in taste and smell. Depending on the region and winemaking process, Cabs can be intensely oaky, with a warm spicy flavor. They compliment red meat, especially beef, very well.

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Merlot wines have huge growing regions. One can find examples from Italy, France, Washington state, Chile, Romania, and California. This variety is often considered an introductory wine to the wine taster. It has a softer taste than Syrahs and Cabs, and people often liken its flavor to berries and herbs. Merlots are often paired with numerous meats and with fish.

Pinot Noir grapes are known by how difficult they are to grow. Pinot grapes are grown successfully in France, California, Oregon, and New Zealand, however. Unlike the previous wines mentioned, the flavor accents are on cherries rather than berries. Some also compare the Pinot Noirs to plum and tea leaves in aroma and flavor.

Many wine drinkers are familiar with white Zinfandel, a very sweet, blush colored wine. Red wines made from Zinfandel grapes are not at all sweet, however. They are often called "spaghetti wines" since they pair nicely with tomato sauce based foods like pastas or pizzas. Zins can be complex wines, but they are quite heavy. They may be highly flavored with oak and have a berry aftertaste.

Other red wines include the Sangiovese, most popularly produced in Italy, and the Barberra, which bears some familiarity to the Merlot. Consumers can also purchase red wine that is merely classed as a table wine. Some of these can be quite excellent as well, and represent a blending of several different grapes. They can also be excellent bargains and may be just as complex in taste as more expensive wines.

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jcraig
Post 10

@Izzy78 - Thank you very much for this basic assessment on red wines.

I really feel like that for the most part, red wines are not something that the average consumer will buy and they will probably only buy it for health reasons, as you said.

If one is looking to simply buy wine for their health, they do not to look into buying really fancy wine and should only be looking to buy wine that is suited for their health, and not to drink in excess at all.

That being said any of the three wines listed in the last post would be sufficient to satisfy improving one's heart health and any specialty wines would only add unnecessary cost to the consumer.

Izzy78
Post 9

I love red wine and I feel that there are three type of red wine that should be used to base taste of red wine in general and can be used in comparisons.

The first wine is a Merlot, which I feel is a very light red wine and probably the most popular red wine. This wine is not as strong as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, so if someone is looking to drink red wine for their health, I would say they need to pick this wine.

As far as those liking a dark red wine, Pinot Noir is fairly dark, too much for my tastes, and for those looking for a little more of a darker flavor than Merlot and not as much of Pinot Noir, the middle ground is definitely Cabernet Sauvignon, which one can drink for both taste and health.

eidetic
Post 8

@betterment - That's a great idea, but unfortunately not everyone lives in an area where they can just go visit a winery and take a tour. However, a lot of wine stores do free wine tastings once a week or so. It might not be as fun as touring a winery, but it's a great way to try some wines and find out what you like.

betterment
Post 7

There are so many kinds of red wine out there, it really is difficult to keep them all straight. And if you just go around buying a bunch of different kinds, you risk spending money on a wine you're not going to like.

One way to get to try a bunch of different kinds of red wine is to go to a vineyard and do a wine tasting and tour. It's a lot of fun to see how wine is made, and you'll get to try a bunch of different kinds of both red and white wines.

LoriCharlie
Post 6

@ceilingcat - That does sound fun, but I must admit I buy wine the opposite way. I'm kind of picky, so when I find a red wine that I like, I buy it almost exclusively for quite awhile. I recently discovered a Pinot Noir at my local store that I really like and that's in my price range, so I've been buying it once a week for quite awhile.

ceilingcat
Post 5
I love almost all kinds of red wine. This allows me to be kind of adventurous when buying wine, because I'm pretty likely to enjoy almost any kind of red wine I pick out, provided it's not just a bad wine.

Sometimes I like to go to the wine store and pick the red wine with the most fun label or company name. It sounds a little bit silly, but it works really well for me. Plus, it makes buying wine a lot more fun and I'm always discovering something new I like.

FirstViolin
Post 4

@streamfinder -- It sounds like you would like a red zinfandel wine. Zinfandels are often fruitier than say, a red Bordeaux wine.

However, if you want fruity, but not too fruity, then a chianti red wine might be up your alley. They often have a kick, and aren't always as sweet as the zinfandels.

StreamFinder
Post 3

Can somebody tell me what a good fruity red wine might be? I don't have a preference as to region or anything, but I've tried a Malbec red wine before and really liked it, if that gives you any hints.

Thanks all!

naturesgurl3
Post 2

Of all the red wines, I think that the Australian red wines are my favorite. I also like French wine if someone deciphers the label for me -- those red wine labels can be tricky to understand, what with the different appellations and regions.

I guess I just don't have the patience to sit down and learn the difference between a Burgundy or Bordeaux, so I always have to take a buddy with me when I buy red wine.

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