Essential Guide to Types Of Red Wine | 10 Must-Try Red Wines

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Essential Guide to Types Of Red Wine | 10 Must-Try Red Wines

We all have our favourite wines. Some like red wines, and some stick to white wines.

But do you know your red wine varieties well?

Talking about different kinds of red wine can be tricky because of all the fancy words. There’s a lot of lingo about varietals, vineyards, vintages, and tannins. But you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy red wine.

You might know a few reds. But do you know what’s red wine and what makes them special?

Today, we’ll talk about different red wines and what makes each of them unique.

Here are some main types of red wine to help you. Learn how they taste and what foods go well with them. This way, you won’t feel as awkward at your next dinner.

10 Major Red Wine Types

Check out the red wines list below. Learn about different red wines to feel more confident in a wine store.

types of red wine

1. Pinot Noir

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Tastes like: Light and a Bit Fruity and Earthy

Pinot Noir comes from Burgundy in France.

You notice flavours like bright berries, such as raspberry or cranberry. It might have some earthy tones at the end. It’s not too strong. In fancy words, they call it “light-bodied,” and it feels smooth when you sip it.

Pinot Noir is light in colour, and you can age it for a long time to make it taste even better.

Pairs well with: Salmon, Lamb, and Mushrooms

Pinot Noir goes well with different foods. It’s good with juicy a duck or other game birds. If you prefer fish. You can totally pair Pinot Noir with fish, like sushi or salmon.

Try it with simply grilled salmon, especially if the wine is lighter and not too strong. Even though it’s a red wine. It won’t clash with the fish flavours.

2. Merlot

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Tastes like: Smooth and a Bit Fruity.

Merlot is a friendly kinds of red wine that’s not too complicated. It’s easy to enjoy because it’s yummy and not too bitter.

Merlot is a chill red wine that’s used in many blends or on its own. It usually tastes just right. Not too heavy or too light. It’s like a medium-bodied friend with a bit of sweetness and not too much tanginess.

It can have flavours like blackberries, plums, and other red fruits. Sometimes, it even tastes a bit like fruit cake or chocolate. As it gets older, it becomes smoother and gains a touch of vanilla and spice.

Depending on where it’s from. It might have a bit more bite in cooler places and be super fruity in warmer spots.

Pairs well with: Chicken, Pasta, or Cheese.

When it comes to pairing Merlot with food, it’s quite versatile. But it tends to work well with richer dishes, like lamb, duck, or a tasty roast dinner. So, if you want a wine that’s easy to enjoy and goes with a variety of foods, Merlot is a good choice.

3. Cabernet Sauvignon

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Tastes like: Bold, Fruity and a Bit Peppery.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted grape. It’s a smart choice when you want a safe and classy option for any meal.

Whether it’s a California Cab with a fruity twist or a French Cab with an herbal touch. You will always find it interesting.

When you sip it, pay attention to the flavours—hints of cherries, currants, and a mix of spices.

Pairs well with: Any Meat and Dark Chocolate Desserts

This wine is a winner with just about any meat dish. Especially, those with a bit of fat. Its bold and powerful nature, low acidity, and rich fruitiness make it a perfect match.

With high tannins and great aging potential. This meaty vino is a delicious choice.

Pair Cabernet Sauvignon red wines with a juicy burger, savoury short rib, or tasty lamb. Enjoy it with a hearty steak, strong cheese, or dark chocolate desserts.

4. Shiraz (Syrah)

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Tastes like: Spicy, Peppery and Rich.

Shiraz is called Syrah in different parts of the world. It’s a popular type of red wine.

It has a deep purple colour because of its thick, dark skin. The wine is full-bodied, with high tannins and medium acidity.

It feels rich and bold when you drink it. When you sip on it, there’s a burst of flavours like rich blackberry in your mouth.

In some places, like in Europe red wine variety has earthy notes. While in other places, like Australia, it has a more fruity profile.

Old World Syrah from traditional wine regions, has herbal notes with a bit of spice and black pepper. As it ages, it can even have a hint of leathery tones. New World Shiraz, like the ones from Australia, is lighter and filled with flavours like blackberry, sweet licorice, and vanilla.

Pairs well with: BBQ, Spicy Foods, and Chocolate.

Because of its richness, it’s a fantastic match with barbecued foods. Such as burgers, ribs, or BBQ chicken wings. This wine is great to pair with a charcuterie plate.  It also goes well with hard cheeses that have good acidity.

When you eat it with cheese and meats, it enriches the experience. The salt, spice, and subtle flavours in the food complement the bold and peppery nature of Syrah.

5. Grenache (Garnacha)

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Tastes like:

Grenache is among the best red wine variety. Often overlooked but is great. It’s not too heavy, a bit strong in alcohol, and looks light in colour.

The taste of Grenache is like biting into strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. There is a hint of cinnamon in there too.

Depending on where it’s from. It might also taste like orange peel or red grapefruit.

Pairs well with:

There’s a bit of spiciness, making it go well with dishes full of herbs and a little kick, like Mexican food. If you’re into milder stuff, a light Grenache goes perfectly with a mild curry.

Just a tip: Serve it a bit cool for an extra refreshing kick. It will calm down the spiciness in your food.

6. Tempranillo

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Tastes like: Flavors of red fruit, leather, and vanilla.

Tempranillo is an old grape and the most popular red grape in Spain.

The wines it makes are not too light or too heavy. When it’s young, the colour is like a ruby. As it gets older, it turns deeper red.

This grape has a lot of tannins that make your mouth feel dry. But it also has a good amount of acidity and a high level of alcohol.

In younger red wines, you’ll notice strong hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. As these wines get older. They gain flavours like leather and tobacco, giving them even more depth. The finish, or the last taste you get, is usually smooth.

Pairs well with: Spanish dishes, grilled meats, and paella.

If the wine is on the younger side. It pairs well with dishes that are a bit more delicate. Like games or meals with mushrooms.

But if it’s an older Tempranillo with its intense flavour. It matches perfectly with classic red wine partners like steak or barbecued meat.

7. Malbec

Tastes like: Dark fruit flavours like plum

Malbec are yummy red wines that originally came from France. But is mostly made in Argentina now.

It has a deep purple colour. It tastes like plums or cherries, with a hint of smokiness. You might also taste a bit of tobacco and pepper. Malbec from the New World (Australia), has sweet hints of vanilla.

It has lots of tannins, high alcohol, and a full body. It gets better with age.

Pair well with: Grilled meats, beef, and hearty stews.

These red wine categories are an excellent match for rich, meaty dishes.

Be careful, though! The high tannins can be strong. So, pair it with bold and flavorful dishes. Like steak or spicy foods. Pair Malbec with lean meats like flank steak or spicy foods like Mexican or Indian dishes.

If you have a lighter Malbec, it can also go well with tuna.

8. Zinfandel (Primitivo)

Tastes like: Bold and sometimes a bit sweet.

Zinfandel is in the rich and strong red wines list. Zinfandel tastes like yummy berries. Like a juicy and spicy strawberry. But with a kick. The taste changes depending on where it’s grown. But overall, it’s nice, juicy. It packs a punch with its alcohol content and a hint of acidity.

When you sip Zinfandel. You get flavours like dark fruits – blackberry, blackcurrant, and a touch of raspberry. If it’s from a warm place. You even catch hints of smoke and black pepper.

Pairs well with: Pizza, burgers, or anything grilled.

This wine goes well with dishes that are full of meaty goodness and bold flavours, especially pork ribs. Enjoy it with your favourite pizza or pasta. A match made in heaven. Zinfandel enjoys being paired with dishes that are full of flavour, maybe even a little bit spicy.

9. Sangiovese

Tastes Like: Flavors of cherry, herbs, and a bit of spice.

Sangiovese is a big red grape from Tuscany Italy. When you take a whiff of this wine you smell cherry and fig

When you sip Sangiovese. The acids in the wine make your mouth water. The tannins stick to the sides of your mouth. You notice hints of tobacco, soil, and pepper. It’s a bit complex but in a good way.

Usually, it’s a medium-bodied wine with high tannins and very high acidity. Most people enjoy it when it’s young, but some types are better if you wait for around 4 to 7 years.

Pairs Well With: Italian dishes, Pizza and Pasta

This red wine type is perfect for your favourite Italian dishes. Especially, pizza and pasta. The flavours in Sangiovese make it a great match for tomatoey pasta or herby chicken.

10. Nebbiolo

Tastes like: Bold and has flavours of cherry, rose, and truffle.

Nebbiolo is a bold red wine from Italy. It looks light in colour. But don’t be fooled. It’s bold and packs a flavourful punch. This red wine isn’t for those who like things mild.

As you take a sip. You’ll feel strong tannins.  A mix of red fruits with a touch of flowers like roses. Accompanied by leather, cherry, and coffee notes.

Pairs well with: Rich pasta dishes, risotto, or grilled meats.

Pair Nebbiolo varieties of red wine with hearty, rich foods. Think of gamey and fatty meats like wild boar, goose, duck, or pork shank. It also pairs wonderfully with rustic Italian meals, especially pasta.

And surprise! It’s a great match for some oriental flavours too. Like Chinese or Asian dishes.

Final Words

The world of red wine is diverse and exciting. Now that you know the famous types of red wine. Taste and savour various types red wine and find what suits your palate best.

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