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    Best Red Wines: Info & Basics

    Have you ever wondered what the best red wine is to pair with your favorite meal? Confused about what makes good red wine good? Read on - because we’ll be answering almost every question you ever had about delicious red wine.

    If you’ve ever had a sip of dark, dry red wine and puckered your mouth in surprise, don’t worry - we’ve got you covered with some of the best sweet red wine on the market. From club red wine that’s available from your favorite wine club to the best red wine in the world, we’re about to go on a guided tour of the red wine universe. Let’s get started.

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    How Is Red Wine Made?

    From the best cabernet sauvignon to your favorite dinnertime blend, red wines have a few things in common. To produce some of the world’s healthiest wine, red grapes are crushed with their skins intact and fermented. They are then aged - longer than white wines are- to reduce their tannin content and make them smooth and easy drinking.

    Whether you drink the best cheap red wine or vintage reds from France, they all started out as red grapes. The most popular red wines combine rich, smoky flavors with refreshing sweetness. The flavors in each bottle come from the specific type of grape used to make the wine and the fermentation process.

    Before we delve into the details, let’s talk about something less delicious - the notorious tannins.

    What Are Tannins?

    What makes a good sweet red wine easy on the palate? It’s not just the sugar content - it’s the fact that the tannins have mellowed. The same goes for dry red wine.

    Tannins are natural substances that are found in grape skins, tea and other plant products.  The same way a cup of tea is really hard to drink if it brews for too long, a red wine can be mouth-puckering and harsh on the palate when it first comes out of the fermentation tank.

    Even the healthiest red wine needs to taste good, or you simple wouldn’t want to drink it. To mellow the tannins in some reds, the wine is placed in barrels and allowed to mature over several months or years. Over time, the tannins break down and allow the full delicious flavor of the wine to reveal itself.  

    Red Wine’s Ageability

    It’s not every red wine that improves with age. Light red wine may be ready to drink after a year or two, while some reds like Grand Cru Bordeaux and Port can be aged for decades.

    Young Merlot and Pinot Noirs can be consumed almost immediately and are some of the best red wine for sangria. Young Pinot Noir and Chianti wines are also some of the best red wine under 20 dollars and can be enjoyed right after you buy them.

    Red Wine Stemware

    Now, you may be wondering what wine glass to use when you enjoy red wine - after all, there are so many different types!

    Here’s a rule of thumb: the more tannins in the wine, the broader your glass needs to be. Strong reds like Cabernet Sauvignon taste great in a wide Bordeaux glass.

    If you’re tasting the best merlot wine of your life, you’ll want to use a medium-wide glass since this brings out spicy and fruity flavors. The same glass would go very well with a good pinot noir.

    Whether you’re drinking a premium Bordeaux or a good cheap red wine, drinking it from a high quality, thin-edged wine glass will always make a difference.

    Top 6 Red Wine Clubs

    If you’d like to taste a glass of the best red wine in the world, you don’t need to fly to France just yet. The 3 wine clubs we’re about to profile offer a selection of the best red wine to drink. Not sure what the best red wine for beginners is? They’ve got you covered. Let’s find out more about the clubs and what they have to offer.

    Winc.com

    Winc uses an interactive online taste quiz to get a good idea about your palate - what flavors you like and what foods you’ll be pairing your wine with. With that info in mind, they’ll send you a box of delicious red wines that should match your taste. Their packages begin from $13 per bottle.

    California Wine Club

    California Wine Club has been providing for all palates since 1990. Whether you prefer to enjoy red wine from classic regions like Italy and Argentina or you want to know what the US has to offer, California Wine Club offers that and more with various types of subscriptions on offer. The company partners with small and independent wineries across the world, ensuring that the best produce is celebrated and that hardworking innovators in the industry are recognized. 

    Virtually all of the red wines on offer can be found at a much cheaper rate than anywhere else. California Wine Club has handpicked a huge selection of both high-quality and award-winning options for red wine lovers, all of which have their own story of where they come from and the effort that’s gone into making them. Plus, the company ensures that all budgets are met, so everyone can enjoy the rich flavors and textures of artisan wine.

    Naked Wines

    Naked Wines is an innovative British startup that funds independent winemakers and provides its members with excellent wines at wholesale prices. If you love the idea of helping wine entrepreneurs to grow, and enjoying the fruits of their efforts, this club may be ideal for you. Their boxes start from 60 British Pounds for six bottles of red.

    Laithwaites

    Laithwaites has made its mark on the industry in the last 50 years, offering some of the most flavorful and memorable red wines currently available. It only costs a minimum of $39.99 a month to enjoy what award-winning vineyards have to offer, whether they’re based in Italy, Spain, Southern France, or in a region you’ve never explored before. Unlike a lot of its competitors, Laithwaites hand selects red wines that are also suitable for vegans, so you don’t need to miss out on making new favorites just because of your dietary choices.  

    Some of the most luxurious award-winning red wines are exclusive to Laithwaites, so if you’re a big fan of the red stuff, it’s probably the right club for you. Plus, if you don’t like a bottle for whatever reason, there’s no risk involved, so you can just let Laithwaites know and they’ll refund you without any issues.

    VINEBOX

    VINEBOX has a unique offering: for just over $70 a month, they’ll send you some of the world’s finest wines - by the glass. Your subscription box includes vials of top-quality estate wines from around the world, including famous wine producing regions in France. If you like what you taste, you’re welcome to order a full bottle from VINEBOX at a discount.

    Gold Medal

    For the last 30 years, Gold Medal has been one of America’s most popular wine clubs. It offers six different subscriptions to choose from, all of which provide an opportunity to explore the best reds around. The Diamond Club, for example, lets you get a glimpse into some of the most luxurious, cellar-selected red wines with a rating between 93 and 99. Or, if you’re a Pinot Noir fanatic, you can get a subscription to this range to enjoy the exclusive flavors. 

    If you prefer to enjoy homegrown produce from the US or explore what the international winemaking community has to offer, you have the chance to explore the world with Gold Medal. Its website gives an insight into how its exclusive range of red wines are rated and the vineyards in which they originate from, making you a more educated and ethically responsible buyer of your favorite red wines.

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    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.

    Cabernet Franc

    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.  

    Cabernet Sauvignon

    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.  

    Gamay

    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.

    Grenache/Garnacha

    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.

    Malbec

    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.

    Merlot

    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.

    Mourvèdre/Mataro

    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.

    Nebbiolo

    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.

    Pinot Noir

    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.

    Sangiovese

    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.

    Syrah/Shiraz

    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.

    Zinfandel

    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

    1. Good red wine doesn’t just taste great - it’s good for your health too
    2. The health benefits in red wine come from the tannins it contains
    3. Red wine changes color as it ages, becoming lighter and redder, with hints of orange
    4. A good dry red wine is better for your health than a sweet red wine
    5. 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.  

    Last Tips

    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.