Drinking red wine is enjoyable, to say the least, but how much do you really know about red wine types? Many wine drinkers would be hard pressed to pick out the difference in a merlot or cabernet. Never fear, if you’re looking to stock your home wine cellar with a variety of types of red wine but don’t know where to start, we have you covered. Here are the 6 most popular red wine types that every wine lover should try.
Merlot is probably the most familiar of the types of red wine to most people. The simple, sweeter flavor makes it a good starting point when diving into the world of reds. This wine has a fruity, velvety taste along with a smooth, soft finish that the majority of wine tasters enjoy. It also pairs well with a wide variety of foods, making it a versatile choice and must-have for your home bar.
Malbec is one of the red wine types that is increasing in popularity lately. This bolder red is aged in oak barrels, giving it a toasty, smokey flavor. It is not an expensive grape to grow, making it affordable as well. People that enjoy both sweeter and drier wines will be pleased with this variety that lies somewhere in the middle. Pair Malbec with sweet and spicy flavors like pulled pork, barbeque, and brisket where it can stand up to the intense flavors.
Cabernet is the most planted variety of grape. This bold, dry wine is high in acidity and quite savory. It is a complex wine but something many wine drinkers are familiar with, so it is perfect for your home wine cellar. Most wine enthusiasts adore cabernets as a “serious” wine drinker’s wine. A wine this bold needs fat to pair with, otherwise, the dry acidity will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Pair cabernet with a great steak for the perfect compliment!
Pinot Noir has the supple softness of merlot with a bit more complexity. It has a lighter body with fewer tannins than other red wines, making it very drinkable. It is the perfect choice when you want an interesting yet easy to drink wine. Because of the low tannins, you can also pair this wine with fish. Normally the tannins in red wine react to the Omega-3s of fish to produce an unpleasant metallic flavor. A pinot noir, however, pairs perfectly with fish such as glazed salmon. When it comes to types of red wine to add to your home cellar, this is definitely a must-have.
Zinfandel is a red wine not grown extensively outside of the United States. It is fruity and spicy and has a higher alcohol content than most other varieties. This wine tends to have cherry or strawberry type flavors with low tannins and a smoky taste. Like pinot noirs, zinfandels are quite easy to drink, making them one of the red wine types perfect for keeping on hand at home. Zinfandels pair very well with dishes such as pizza and lasagna with their cheeses and tart tomato-based sauces.
Sangiovese is the most planted grape variety in Italy. It is a light, tart wine with more acidity than others. This wine is dry and savory and best enjoyed with food. Its strong flavor profile makes it the perfect complement to acidic foods such as tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and tart dressings. It also, of course, pairs wonderfully with a variety of Italian classics. Sangiovese is also a go-to wine choice when serving gamey meats such as duck or venison as it brings out the sweetness in the meat.
While we could go on and on about the different red wine types, these six wines provide and an excellent foundation for any home wine collection. So, which types of red wine are your favorite? If you want to learn more about wines and winemaking, explore What Goes Into Making the Most Expensive Wines?