Red Wine

Discover These & Choose The Right Red Wine For Any Occasion

"You really know a lot about all the different types of red wine.  How did you know that this wine would match perfectly with our meal?"

I'll let you in on a little secret:

It is really not difficult to learn about different red wine types.

Each type offers its own unique flavors and characteristics.  By learning about the types listed here, you will know what to expect from different red wines and blends.

Full-Bodied Red Wines

A full-bodied wine is one that has a lot of flavor.  When pairing with food, you must be careful with these as they can overpower or clash with the flavor of your meal.

A good rule of thumb with these wines is if you are pairing it with food, make sure that the dish be more flavorful than the wine.

Full-bodied wines match well with game meat, roasts, steak, lamb and roasted vegetables.



Mourvedre wine is famous in the Rhone region of France, in Jumilla and Valencia in Spain, California, Washington and Australia.

This grape is used mostly in red wine blends such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (also known as GSM).

It makes wine with high tannins and high alcohol.

Medium-bodied Types of Red Wine

Many medium-bodied grapes can be made into full-bodied wines.  You will see that depending on the wine maker or the region where the grapes are grown, these can make wide variations on the same little grape.

Medium-bodied wines match well with milder foods like veal, pork chops and game birds.


Syrah has been a very popular grape variety. It makes a very dark, medium-bodied wine with a robust flavor.

Australia's Syrah (called Shiraz) has a wide range of flavors ranging from light and fruity to robust and spicy.

Discover the different wine regions of the world that make this delicious wine.


Sangiovese is grown in Tuscany, particularly in Chianti. Of all the types of red wine that come from Italy, Sangiovese makes Italy's most famous red wine.

Chianti wine has some tannin, but gets nicely rounded out by fruit flavors.  Some experts consider it to be a light-bodied wine.

Sangiovese also makes dry, tannic wines like Brunello di Monalcino and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. They are considered to be some of the top wines from Italy and should be aged before enjoying. Look up some principles on storing red wine.


Zinfandel is one of the most popular types of red wine in California. It is one of the oldest varieties grown in that region, which is probably why you can find so many different styles of this red wine type.

Most Zinfandel wines are medium-bodied with lots of fruit flavors and enough tannins to even out the flavor but not become too dry.

Zinfandel flavors can range from being intense with high tannins, to a lighter, fruitier type of red wine. It can have the flavor of blackberries and smell like raspberries, cherries, chocolate, coffee or oak.

Zinfandel vines can grow for up to 100 years. One rule of thumb with Zinfandel wine: The older the vines, the more intense the wine.


Barbera wine first made its name in Italy, and is now becoming very popular in California and Argentina.

Barbera wine has a beautiful deep color, low tannins and flavors of spices and fruit. It is a very easy drinking wine. Some winemakers work on the complexity of their Barbera wine, by aging it in oak barrels. This gives the wine higher tannins, and a higher price tag.


Grenache is a famous grape in the Rhone region of France and Spain (where it is called Garnacha). It has recently become very popular in California and Australia as well.

Famous Grenache wines include: Chateauneuf du Pape, Cotes du Rhone, Rioja and Rhone style California wines.

Grenache wine tends to be high in alcohol content and low in tannins.

Light-bodied Wines

Light-bodied wines have the most fruity, sweet flavor of all the wines in this list.

These wines have such nice flavors that you can even pair them with fish like salmon, tuna or swordfish.  You can also enjoy them with duck or roasted chicken.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir has a lighter color than Cabernet or Merlot. It has less tannins and tastes like summer fruit. It has nice aromas, too.

When exploring Pinot Noir, make sure to try Acacia Winery's Pinot Noir. This winery has perfected the art of Pinot Noir through their vineyard specific wines.

California and Oregon are the best areas for Pinot Noir. Vintners in Napa, Sonoma, and the Willamette Valley of Oregon make excellent Pinot Noir wines.

Not sure which Pinot Noir to try first? Take a look at these Pinot Noir wine clubs. Let the experts send the perfect bottle to your door.


Gamay wine is originally from Beaujolais and the Loire Valley of France. Famous Gamay wines include: Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau, Anjou Gamay and Gamay de Touraine.

Most Gamay wines are light bodied with medium tannins and low alcohol content. Flavors in Gamay wine are fruity and the aromas are of flowers.

Gamay is a very easy drinking wine, which is why I recommend Beaujolais as one of my favorite red wines for beginners.

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc wine is famous in the Bordeaux region of France and in California.

Cabernet Franc wine is pale red in color with a delicious aroma that adds spice to red wine blends.

Depending on the growing region, Cabernet Franc can have aromas of spices, tobacco, fruit and even sometimes flowers. The flavors in Cabernet Franc are of spices.

Sweet Red Wine

If you are starting to explore all the different types of red wine out there, this is the best place to start. Sweet red wine is very enjoyable and delicious at any occasion.

As you can see from this short list, many types of red wines can be made from just a few kinds of grapes.


Red wine is a gorgeous thing to drink. The great thing about it: there’s one for every occasion, and for every palette. 


Let’s discuss the obvious. Why is red wine, called red? Why is it red? 

It’s color is derived from the vast assortment of grapes that range from reddish, to deep purple, and even blue! These different colored grapes give rise to wines that are classified with different descriptions, like black, dark red, light red, purple, violet, maroon, etc.


The grape skins are responsible for red wine’s distinc colors. The skins are in contact with the grape’s juice during the fermenting process, which is what creates the color and tannins in the red wine you’re about to drink! The individual wine’s red hue color depends largely on the type of grape you use, and the length of the time skin is in contact with the juice. There are literally over 50 varieties of red grapes that manifest themselves in the red wine market. 


What are the different red wine styles?

Like all wines, some winemakers have specific opinions on how their wine is produced. For example, red wines are usually classified by “Body type.” for example, one winemaker might make red wine that is light bodied, where others will make a full bodied red wine. 


Light bodied red wine: These have fewer tannins present, and have less of a presence on your tongue. These types of wines are less bold. They are fine for novice drinkers.


Medium bodied red wine: These will have more tannins than the light bodied red wines. They will NOT have the power of a Cab Sauvignon, or an Italian Super Tuscan. They are usually merlots, shiraz, or chianti red wines.


Full bodied red wines: Typically these wines have the highest tannin count, and highest alcohol content. Prime examples of bull bodied red wines are Bordeaux wines, California Cabs, Super Tuscans, and more. Full bodied wines are heavier. The effect is due to the higher tannin and alcohol count. 


What are the main red wine varietals

The main red wine varietals you’re likely to see are cabernet sauv, pinot noir, zinfandel, merlot, cabernet franc, petite syrah, sangiovese, malbec, and possibly grenache. Sometimes, you will hear about red wines based on their regional names. For example, a bordeaux red wine is made in France from three main grapes: Cabernet Sauv, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot Grapes. If you get an Argentina red wine, it’s likely a Malbec. 


All about Red Wine

Red wine offers a huge flavor profile. They can be sweet or dry. They can have acid, or tannins. They can include atoms, like cherry/flowers, or even gravel/earth. You often hear about wines which are silky, powerful. These description synonyms are used to describe wines. Most red wines are very tannic, and have body. Tannins, are essentially a type of molecule which wine shares with other great things like tea/chocolate. They make your mouth dry, but add immense complexity to the flavor. Often, people pair tannins with something salty or fatty. This results in a complement between the bolder flavors of the wine and the food. For example Super Tuscans and California Cabs are usually considered full bodied reds. In contrast, Merlot and Chianti are considered medium body. Typically, people pair light bodied wines with lighter meals like chicken/seafood. They pair full bodied wines with heavier meals, like steak/pasta. 


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