How to Choose the Best Red Wine for You!
– I’m Seeing Red….Lots of Red!
So, you finally narrowed down your wine preference
to red over white or blush.
Great! You are done now, right?
You can just walk into any store blindfolded and start grabbing bottles and be guaranteed to like it, right? You can ask the kids in the car to just pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and count your way down the aisle, right? Yeah, I don’t recommend these scenarios.
How do you find the perfect red wine for you though? Obviously, you could ask a friend or family member who seems to know what they are talking about. Or, simply walk into any wine store and ask the clerk for recommendations. The problem with asking others, however, is that they don’t know your specific tastes and likes. They might recommend an excellent Pinot Noir, but your preference might be more in the Cabernet Sauvignon range. Instead of making it stressful, let’s make it fun!
Red wines are robust with flavors, aromas, and tastes. Regions all over the world have their own characteristics, as well does each grape variety. Some are full bodied, meaning they will be a bit heavier in your mouth. Others may be lighter yet more complex. Anywhere from Oak to Cherries to Tobacco could make up the flavor profile of a particular wine. The world of red wine is interesting, exciting, and unique as opposed to any other beverage in the world. So why not explore it and have fun with it!
Sure, you can become an expert on the growing, fermentation, bottling, and aging processes to get a better idea of what each wine on the shelf will taste like. You could also become an expert taster, sniffing and swirling wine after wine after wine until you could tell better than a google map where the grapes were grown. These are options for you. But….if you just want to enjoy some good red wine and you are a novice, there are options for you as well.
The best way to go about this is to try a few grape varieties that have different characteristics. Pinot Noir and Merlot are not going to taste the same to you. There will be varying levels of acidity, body, aromas, flavors, and alcohol content across the board when trying different red wines.
So, let’s explore together some of the most popular red wines and get you going in the right direction!
The most popular grape varietal in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon is a great starting point to find out how you do with very high tannins, which are compounds found in grape skins, stems, and seeds. Tannins are what cause the “dryness” in wines, or that puckering feeling you get in your mouth. Cabernet Sauvignon has one of the highest levels of these little compounds, therefore making it a very dry red wine. Spiciness and bold fruits make this wine very popular, and it is great to try with most red meats. Try out Cabernet Sauvignon to see how you are going to handle the dryness.
Ok, so, Zinfandel is where you are going to find out how you handle a higher alcohol level. While most red wines are already up there when it comes to alcohol content, Zinfandel is the probably the winner. Averaging around 15% alcohol, this bold and full-bodied wine will be very intense. Since alcohol is made from sugar, you can definitely feel the sweetness in a Zin. They are made from very ripe grapes, giving it a good zesty fruity flavor. Not as popular as some of the other reds, but a taste that you just might like the best! Like I said, give it a try.
Get ready to pucker again, just not as much as with Cabernet Sauvignon. Acidity is the game here, and Pinot Noir is playing it hard. Acidity is where you get the sour and tart tastes in wine, and Pinot Noir balances this beautifully with the tannins. There is a nice burst of fruit with most Pinot’s, and this compounded with the acidity and tannins makes for a refreshing, yet bold wine.
Shiraz / Syrah
As I mentioned before, the body of a wine is important to overall satisfaction. How a wine feels in your mouth can determine whether or not you drink it again. Shiraz or Syrah, is a full-bodied, heavy in your mouth red wine. Very intense flavors such as tobacco, dark plum, and chocolate are common with these wines. Who knows, this might be your thing? Like I said, everyone is different, and this wine definitely is different.
Now, I only told you about 4 red wine varietals to try. The reason is that these 4 hit hard in each of those categories: Tannins, Alcohol, Acidity, and Body.
However, there are many other wines, some just as popular if not more so than these, to give a try. Merlot, Grenache, and Malbec to name a few are great choices in the red wine world. Then there are your Red Blends, meaning that the winemaker used a combination of grape varietals to make the wine. There are so many to try!
Just remember, the most important person to whom the wine tastes good to is…..you. So, as a novice, the best way to find out what you like is to try a few different wines. Try the dry wines. Tart. High Alcohol. Full Bodied. Find out what you like. Just don’t start too cheap. That’s where you might want to get recommendations, or even better, use your Vastewine App. We give each wine a score consisting of the perfect blend of value and taste, making the entire process much easier for you. As always…
Enjoy every sip, Every bottle.
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