The Hues of Red Wine

© Cebas1 | - Wine Bottles In Wine Store Photo

Standing in front of you, a hundred plus bottles of red wine from cabs and merlots, to sauvignons and all in-betweens, all screaming “pick me, Pick Me, PICK ME”.

How does one choose?

To help you make an informed decision pertaining to red wine, here are a couple of tips.  There are a total of eight distinct types of red wine, the rest are blends and subtle offshoots of the eight.

To start, Merlot, say it with me, (Mare-Lo). Merlot has softness to it, which permits the inexperienced wine drinker a subtle introduction into the “red” category of wines. Optional food pairings to add, well nearly anything you can eat or cook will be a suitable pairing. Most typical is Italian food for the garlic to wine flavor enhancer, but like many at home master chefs, myself included, some tend to cook with garlic in everything. So, feel free to explore and test. Results will vary, bottles will be empty.

The typical taste of a merlot can range from blackberries, plums, and even having herbal notes. Textures can be round but a central palate space is common.

Next we shall look at the Zinfandel, slow and steady now (Zin-Fan-Dell). Excellent, this grape is a product of our friends in California, it has been said of the Zin, to be one of the world’s most versatile wine grapes making everything from a blush wine (White Zinfandel) to rich a flavor full red. I should suggest the best sort of pairings for this wine, would include my personal favorite, pizza, tomato-sauce pastas, grilled and barbecued meats to be added as well.

Barbera is the next. Let’s try it, (Bar-Bear-a), now this is not as popular as Merlot, however it has nearly the same attributes, making for a variation to consider, pending your budget. Taste pairing is unique; having a versatile pallet range to include tomato sauces, yet having many others to easily to compliment. The taste is that of a typical varietal wine, vivid black cherry and some plum fruits, having a smooth silky texture, with a tremendous acidity.

A personal favorite, Malbec, just like it sounds, (Mal-Bek) Pending specific region of growth let it be from France, Chile, Argentina, cooler regions of California or even Australia, Malbec’s can offer a variety of flavors and carries an easy drinking style. Flavors to include plums, berries and spices. It compliments meat based meals, foie gras, and pending growth location, the regions style of dish, IE. Argentine Malbec suits Hispanic, Cajun and Indian Dishes.

Pinot Noir, its fun, try it with me (Pee-Know Na-wahr). As many would say this is a noble grape if ever one could be. Seldom blended, difficult to grow yet the taste never has roughness. However the smoothness, due to it’s transparency to the place where it is grown, having a staggering low range of wines able to be produced, it at times can be a mute point to define the best of it’s expressions given it’s variety. Non red meats will the Pinot pair well with, grilled salmon, chicken and lamb, and even the delicacy of authentic sushi rolls. Tastes can range, from fruity such as cherry, strawberry and plum down to a wet and damp earthy tone. Tread lightly when pairing, follow the above, and all will work it’s self out nicely.

A truly Mediterranean style of wine, simply by it’s name, Sangiovese-Once more, with feeling please (San-gee-oh-ve-zee). As you may suspect form the fun flowing name, this wine pairs well with Italian dishes and other Mediterranean-style foods. This wine is a producer of the Tuscany Region’s Chiantis, and more recent to modern era, California’s. Berry and plum flavors are common ideal once more, for the dishes of the Mediterranean.

Thee illustrious Syrah or Shiraz. Each one, (Sah-ra or Shi-raz) Here is the red meat wine, it pairs well with steaks, stews, wild game, beef, should I continue? It has tastes of black pepper spice, black fruits, and of roasting meat. Mostly being rested in oak barrels, it will leave notes of Toffee. Hearty, spicy reds are produced from Shiraz, to include both average, and some of the worlds most intense, hearty, and darkest reds with a life of longevity.

To finish off, the list of eight, we have Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a long one, so please, take your time (Ca-burr-nay so-veen-yaw). Cabs pair well with prepared red meats, offering currant flavors with age, having bell pepper notes on the finish. Some vanilla flavors can be tasted yet not from the specific grape but from the oak treatment, the wine rests in.

So explore, taste and enjoy!

Jay simply has a creative soul, and a passion for writing. His topics, they very pending the spark of the day. As a loving father and a husband who could not have asked for a better wife, Jay spends most of his time playing with his two sons and then reading. As a self proclaimed master at home chef, Jay subjects his wife to a plethora of recipes and always looks for more. Jay Lives in Kansas City, Missouri but is always whiling to freelance. You can reach Jay at

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