Types of Red Wine
When you take a look at the wine section in any store, the first thing you’ll notice is how many types of top red wines there are.
In this section, we’ll make sure you know your Gamay from your Grenache and your Malbec from your Merlot. Whether you’re after the best red blend wine or a good cabernet Sauvignon, we’ll cover all the best red wine for beginners.
Main Flavors: Dark berries, espresso, olives
Cabernet Franc is bursting with dark, juicy flavors and smoky sophistication. It provides the dark tannins and depth that goes into most Bordeaux blends, along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The best Cabernet Franc is rich, dark, and weighty on the palate - and some tasters even say it tastes like violet.
The best Cabernet Franc under $20 may not even be French. There are plenty of delicious American wineries that produce this cultivar.
Main Flavors: Basil, Cherries, Green Peppers
The best cabernet sauvignon may come from France, but Napa Valley in California produces excellent bottles of this tannic red wine. Often blended to tame its powerful flavors, good cabernet sauvignon is strong but smooth and pairs well with meaty dishes.
The best cabernet sauvignon under 20 is almost always Californian or Chilean, filled with the robust flavor provided by the warmth of these two regions.
Main Flavors: Mixed berries, Strawberry, and Tropical Fruit
The best gamay may be the famous Beaujolais Nouveau, an easy-drinking French wine that appears on shelves around the world each year. Gamay is fruity, inviting, and lacks the tannic punch of the heavier red wines.
Main Flavors: Allspice, cinnamon and black cherry
The best grenache wine tastes like the festive season, with delicious spicy notes and a satisfying sweetness. While the best grenache may be Spanish, Australia produces many notable grenache brands too.
Main Flavors: Sour cherries, nutmeg
While Grenache is smooth and spicy, the best Malbec wine has a very slight acidity to it. This cuts through the spicy flavors and produces a wine that’s exciting to drink.
A wine that grows exceptionally well in South America, the best Argentinian Malbec includes wineries like HJ Fabre which produce well-priced, good Malbec wine under $30.
The best merlot wine is light and fruity. This is a wine to enjoy with friends and family as it pairs very well with a variety of food. Although not as popular as it was two decades ago, it still offers excellent flavor and enjoyment.
Many good merlot wines are produced in Washington State, while the French still produce outstanding examples of this easy-drinking favorite.
Main Flavors: Earth, cherries, spices
Another good red wine for those of us who enjoy spicy flavors, Mourvèdre is grown in the warm regions of the south of France and in Spain. The Mediterranean sunshine gives a warmth and spicy finish to this earthy, rustic wine.
Main Flavors: Ripe plum, deep cherry
A dark, fruity and delicious red wine, Nebbiolo is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy and is not found in many other regions of the world - although there are a few wineries in California that produce it.
The best langhe Nebbiolo wines include iconic brands like Rivetto, which also produces rich Barbaresco wine.
Main Flavors: Aromatic herbs, beets, dark berries
A good pinot noir is a great achievement for any winemaker. This type of wine is not easy to produce, with the grapes reacting strongly to changes in weather and climate, producing harvests that lack flavor.
The best cheap pinot noir may be blended in sparkling wine, but there are many excellent single cultivar wines out there. Californian wineries are a good bet if you’re looking for the best pinot noir under 20.
Main Flavors: Star anise, smoky bacon, tobacco
Italy’s Tuscany region produces the best Sangiovese wine, with some Italian winemakers blending it with Cabernet Sauvignon. Sangiovese has a sweet, spicy flavor with hints of smokiness.
The best Sangiovese in North America is produced in Washington State, with several exciting wineries like Walter Dacon producing excellent examples of this variety.
Main Flavors: Berries, cloves, peppercorns
The Southern Hemisphere and California produce some of the best shiraz wine, with wineries as far apart as Australia, South Africa, and Napa Valley adding to the selection that’s available to wine drinkers.
A good shiraz wine is spicy, peppery, and is instantly warming on a cool fall evening. The sheer number of producers means that the best syrah under 20 includes a long list of wineries.
Main Flavors: Raisins, cherries, chocolate
Zinfandel has its origins in Croatia and is grown all over the world. The best red zinfandel has a complex sweetness and a subtle, smooth flavor like rum raisin chocolate.
The best old vine zinfandel in the US is undeniably from California, where the mild weather produces a delicious sweetness that makes for smooth enjoyment.
5 Facts That You Didn’t Know About Red Wine
- Good red wine doesn’t just taste great - it’s good for your health too
- The health benefits in red wine come from the tannins it contains
- Red wine changes color as it ages, becoming lighter and redder, with hints of orange
- A good dry red wine is better for your health than a sweet red wine
- Red wine grapes came first - then farmers developed white grapes through selective breeding
Red wine health benefits from tannin
Red wine is considered to be the healthiest wine because tannins contain a substance called resveratrol which is good for the heart.
The healthiest red wine contains more tannins and less sugar. That means the best red wine for health would be a young, dry red wine.
Young red wines are better for you than old red wines.
As red wines age, their tannin levels are reduced. This gives them a smoother mouthfeel, but it also reduces their health benefits just a little. If you want to stay young, opt for young red wines!
The color in red wine comes from the grape skins.
Did you know that the color of red wine comes from the grape skins? That’s also the reason why red grape wine is good for health.
Red wine grapes can be made into white wine.
By peeling red grapes, winemakers can produce white wines like Sangiovese Bianco and white Pinotage. With the grape skins removed, the wine they produce tastes just like white wine.
Red wines commonly contain less sulfites than white wines.
If you’re allergic to sulfites, you’ll want to stick to red wines. The best organic red wine without sulfites includes wines like Frey Vineyards Natural Red and several Bordeaux wines including Château Le Puy Côtes de Francs.
Best Food That Goes With Red Wine
Red wine is robust, rich and flavorful and is the best wine with brisket and other red meat.
Some of the best red wine at Whole Foods, like Michael David’s Earthquake Zinfandel and Melomi Pinot Noir, will pair very well with steak, beef stew or roast chicken dishes.
Red wine with steak is a timeless classic. Choose a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon for a full flavor experience.
Now that we’ve covered the most popular red wines and taken you through the world of the best red wine, we’d love you to experience it for yourself.
Joining a wine club is a great way to sample the best tasting red wine out there. You’ll enjoy some of the world’s best boxed red wine – all at almost unbeatable prices.