A Friendly Guide to the Most "Popular" Reds
By: Eleni Gray
Fall is here. The days of rosé so cold it makes your glass sweat are dwindling. Red wine is on the up.
Ever notice there's like a billion different types of wines? Literally, thousands and thousands of varietals and blends and wineries all to confuse and scare you upon walking into a store.
Not at Taste Wine Co. We want you to feel really comfortable when walking in, knowledge, no knowledge, feigned knowledge, or little knowledge. I'm writing this article, and learning with you.
These are considered to be the top 5 most popular red wines. It's always nice to know a little something so the labels and fancy grape names cease to overwhelm you.
I've included my top picks for each type we have in store. If you'd like to learn more about each, simply click the picture.
Here we go:
1. Pinot Noir
Customers will often come in the store, asking to buy a bottle, saying that it is for a party or a friend. I often refer them to our pinot noir section. Sometimes I call it the "crowd pleaser." It tends not to have the heaviness or roughness of other fuller bodied wines and is in fact considered a light bodied wine. It is typically "delicate & fresh" with very soft undertones of tannins. They can be very fruit forward, though, with red fruit aromas and flavors. One critic calling the aromas "cherry, strawberry & plum." This does not mean you are drinking grape juice - it's still wine.
Goes well with: salmon, chicken, lamb, and sushi rolls!
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
So, oppositely to the Pinot Noir, the Cabernet Sauvignon is often found in blends and is a full bodied red. It is considered a "firm" red, with that "gripping" sensation on the tongue. Because it undergoes what wine nerds call "oak treatment" (which essentially means literal oak is introduced into the winemaking process at some point, either via barrel) the aromas of the wine can often be vallinan, spicy, or "clovey."
Goes well with: red meat.
Malbec can range from being a medium to full-bodied wine and although it is now most widely known in the wine world as being Argentinian, it was originated in France. It depends where it's grown but it most often has a pretty obvious spiciness, with some fruity aromas.
Goes well with: all meat based meals.
Merlot is sometimes considered an easy drinking wine, and used for people who are new to red wine. But again, it always depends. You can get a heavier bodied Merlot, but it's usually lighter to medium bodied. Aromas are blackcherry, plums, and "herbal" flavors. Merlot, like a Pinot Noir, is going to be much less tannic than the full bodied Cab.
Goes well with: anything!
Zinfandel is generally considered a heavy bodied red. It is usually found grown in California but was originated in Italy, where it is referred to as Primitivo. There is a "White Zinfandel" as well, which tend to be very "fresh." The red Zinfandel is "zesty" with berry and peppery tones.
Goes well with: Grilled and barbecued meats.
A big thank you to my reference for this article: French Scout
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