There’s a Red for You
No matter what flavors you favor or what your wine drinking style is, there is a red that's right for you! Red wine blends seamlessly into whatever you’re doing, whether it’s barbecuing burgers in the backyard, entertaining over the holidays, or stepping out for an upscale dinner. For every type of red wine, there's a unique mood and personality, ranging from bold and dramatic, to mellow and smooth, to bright and lively. Red wine doesn’t need to be intimidating or complicated – it’s all about uncorking your personal tastes and preferences and finding the perfect pairing to suit your style.
Wine is also a common thread that ties people together with its delicious flavors, aromas, and sultry appeal. Not only is red wine a fabulous beverage, but producing it and tasting it is considered an art form to those who love it most. Across North America, the must-have list of popular types of red wine include:
• Cabernet – A full-bodied red, Cabernet Sauvignon is an oaked red wine that is known as one of the best red wine varieties in the world, and it also happens to be a California specialty. Cabernet is generally characterized by its bell pepper, vanilla, and black cherry notes but each winery’s bottles have their own original flavors, making drinking each bottle a unique experience. For the perfect pairing, Cabernet goes hand in hand with simple grilled red meats like steak or prime rib, hard cheese such as Romano and parmesan, and cured meats.
• Merlot – Merlot is an easy-drinking, unpretentious wine, making it one of the most popular reds in North America. Many people who are new to the world of red wine begin by drinking Merlot because of its approachable and enjoyable flavor that’s not overpowering. Merlot flavors differ from winery to winery but often have notes of cherry, plum, and strawberries, giving it a medium/light body that pairs well with almost any food, including pasta, steak, and smoked meats.
• Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a light and fresh red wine variety that’s often described as delicate by winemakers, who also find it one of the most difficult and temperamental types of grapes to grow. Pinot Noir is generally known for its notes of leather, cherry, and plum, with a soft, earthy aroma. Its delicate nature makes it a great match for salmon, chicken, sushi, roasted vegetables, and lamb. Many people who find other varieties of red wine too strong or full-bodied for their tastes often favor Pinot Noir. A great, easy-sipping wine, Pinot Noir has a top spot on many wine lovers’ favorites list.
• Syrah – Also known as Shiraz when it’s grown in Australia, Syrah is a deep, dark, and intense red that’s not for the faint of heart. This bold and spicy red wine is often characterized by its earthy, peppery, and leathery qualities, among other delicious flavors that each winery boasts. Over the course of a wine tasting, Syrah is often served at the end because it’s one of the most intense reds. Its full-bodied taste lends itself beautifully to all types of red meat, stews, and wild game. During the appetizer hour, Syrah is excellent with charcuterie boards that include cured meats and hard cheeses.
• Zinfandel – Zinfandel is known for its full, jammy flavors. Zinfandel is a rich and smooth red wine that’s both easy to drink and full-bodied. Zinfandel is a versatile wine that is often rich with blackberry, black currant, prune, and plum flavors, but every winery has a special combination of flavors that is unique to their wines. Its complex quality makes it easy to pair with many foods, including tomato sauce pasta dishes, pizza, burgers, and cured or grilled meats.
• Malbec – Most famously grown in Argentina, Malbec is an easy-drinking but complex wine that is often blended with other varieties like Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot. Malbec is generally known for its spicy berry flavor that is an ideal companion for ethnic dishes like Mexican or Indian, as well as fois gras, chicken, rich fish, and red meat.
There are many ways to enjoy a glass or a bottle of red wine, whether its drinking wine with a meal, sipping a glass of wine after the kids are in bed, during the wine-o’clock cocktail hour after a long day, or opening a couple of bottles to share with friends. The beauty of red wine is that there’s no wrong way to drink it — whatever your tastes, you can easily find at least one type of red wine that you love.
Let your taste buds guide you to discover your favorite reds and start stocking your wine rack with bottles that you’re excited to open and share.