What Are The Different Types of Red Wine?
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What Are The Different Types of Red Wine?

What Are The Different Types of Red Wine?

Different Types Of Red Wine

Are you familiar with the different types of red wine? Or do you find yourself constantly buying the same bottle of red wine time and time again? If so, it may be time to expand your horizons and learn about the different types of red wine.  If you think all red wine is the same, you'd be sorely mistaking.

Each red wine has different characteristics that make it unique. Some have an earthy, oaky flavor, while others simply taste more fruity and sweet. Join us as we discuss the different types of red wine.

Red Wine


Cabernet Sauvignon 

Cabernet Sauvignon was actually created by mistake. In southwestern France in the seventeenth century, a red Cabernet Franc grape plant and a white Sauvignon Blanc grape plant were mistakingly bred together. They created what is now known as Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Cabernet Sauvignon has a beautiful dark red color, full bodied flavor, and an average alcohol content over 13.5%. This type of red wine is most commonly made in California, Australia, France, and Chile. Cabernet Sauvignon has dry flavors and a hearty level of tannins, which is the reason your mouth may feel dry when drinking it. Common flavors found in Cabernet Sauvignon are pepper, tobacco, dark fruit like cherries, and vanilla. This type of rich wine pairs well with steak, hard cheese, dark chocolate, and salty snacks like pretzels or corn chips.

Wine isn't the only thing that pairs well with cheese and chocolate. Check out what to pair with scotch for an extra delicious tasting event.


Merlot, meaning 'The Little Blackbird' in French, is the second most popular wine in America, after Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot grapes arrived in the U.S. in the mid 19th century. Merlot has a low tannin level, which means it has a smooth, velvety constancy in the mouth and is very easy to drink. This type of wine has an ABV content of around 13% but can reach 14.5% when the grapes are grown in a warmer climate like Australia, California, or Chile. Merlot has flavors of plums, chocolate, and dark berries. It is on the more dry side and is not considered a sweet wine.


Zinfandel grapes originated in Croatia. They made their way to America in the mid nineteenth century, and are now grown over 10% of vineyards in California. Zinfandel wine has a robust flavor and a high sugar content. This wine typically has an ABV content of over 15%. The flavors depend on how ripe the grapes are when the wine is made. In cooler ares where grapes are grown, flavors like red berry and raspberry are dominant. In warm areas, flavors like pepper, blackberry, and anise steal the show. Zinfandel wine is commonly paired with meat such as pork, beef, or lamb. Pasta and poultry are also a great accompaniment to a hearty glass of Zinfandel.

Syrah & Shiraz

Syrah & Shiraz are the same type of wine. The reason there are two different names for it is because when Syrah made its way to Australia from France, Australian winemakers began calling it Shiraz instead of Syrah. This may be due to the Australian accent and the Aussie tendency to jazz up common words. For the purpose of this article, we'll be calling this wine by its original name, Syrah.

Syrah is the darkest red wine on the market, even darker than Cabernet Sauvignon. This type of wine contains a large amount of tannins, which means your mouth will feel dry when sipping it. Also due to its high tannin content, it is said to have one of the highest levels of antioxidants in any red wine. It's extremely full bodied and will leave a heavy feeling in your mouth. Syrah boasts intense flavors of pepper, tobacco, smoke, and dark berries. Syrah goes great with any food, but it's the ideal accompaniment to red meat.


Malbec comes from a thick skinned grape that originated in France. Today, most Malbec grapes are grown in Argentina, with over 75% of Malbec wine originating from the country. Seven other countries also grown Malbec and it is now one of the top 18 noble grapes.

Malbec wine that comes from Argentina has the main flavors of plum, chocolate, and blackberry. You'll also taste the underlying flavors of leather, cocoa powder, violet, and sometimes a sweet tobacco. Malbec wine that originated in France on the other hand, is lacking in fruity flavors and instead has a more leathery, bitter taste. Those who enjoy bitter flavors like currant and black plum will favor a French-grown Malbec wine.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the most popular light bodied red wine. These type of wine grapes originated in Burgundy, France and grow best in cooler climates. Pinot Noir wine typically has an ABV content around 11-13.5%. This dry wine is medium bodied and contains a low tannin count. It's a light red wine that is easy to drink and has flavors like cherry, raspberry, mushrooms, and cloves. Pinot Noir is easy to pair with almost any food, but goes especially well with meats like duck, chicken, and pork.



Sangiovese is pronounced “san-jo-VAY-zee.” The name Sangiovese is Latin for the 'blood of Jove," referring to the ancient Roman god, Jupiter. This type of red wine comes from Italy's most popular type of red grape. The Sangiovese grape is now grown on 175,000 acres of land across the world, including Italy, The United States of America, Australia, Argentina, and France.

This type of wine has a lighter flavor than pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, and depending on where it is grown, can end up with many different flavors and characteristics. Sangiovese wine is medium to full bodied, dry, and has fruity and savory flavors. The most common flavors found in a bottle of Sangiovese are cherry, plum, licorice, leather, and herbs.


Nebbiolo wines come from a top quality grape found in  Northwestern Italy. This type of wine is characterized by its strong tannins and distinguishing strong aroma of tar and roses. Unlike other wines, Nebbiolo wine has a tendency to loose color over time. After a few years, the color changes from a deep red and purple color to a brick orange.

Nebbiolo wine has a bold, full bodied flavor and you'll commonly taste cherry, coffee, and anise. This wine is rich in tannins that will cling to the inside of the mouth and tongue. This red wine pairs well with dishes rich in high fat foods like butter and olive oil.


Red Wine

How many red wines are there?

There are over a thousand varieties of grapes used to make wine. That being said, there are tons of different types of red wines on the market. The eight most popular ones are the ones we've listed in this article, but the list doesn't end there. You may also have heard of less popular ones like Chianti, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, and Garnacha.


Which type of red wine is the best?

When deciding which type of red wine is the best, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer a wine rich in tannins like Nebbiolo, while others like Pinot Noir due to its low tannin count. You should take some factors into account when deciding which type of wine to drink, like what foods will pair well with it. If you're cooking a red meat, then you'll want to go with a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you'll be making a pork dish, then a wine like Pinot Noir would be better. As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the best type of red wine. Each wine has its own individual characteristics and flavors and its best to choose for yourself which one suits your palate.


Interested in learning more about wine? Check out our other blog posts:

How to open wine without a wine opener

How is wine made?

How long does boxed wine last?


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