Eight Popular Types of Red Wine

Penfolds wine

Penfolds wine

Shiraz or Syrah
Shiraz or as European vintners call it “Syrah” are two names used for the same variety of red wine.

Shiraz pairs wonderfully with various types of meat including steak, beef and winter stews.

Shiraz wine growing areas excel in Australia, California and Frances Rhone Valley.

Shiraz typically tastes like wild black fruit with overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat with toffee notes if the wine was rested in oak barrels.

Shiraz is also known for providing a hearty and spicy red wine experience and can produce some of the worlds best and darkest red wines with amazing flavour.

Shiraz is a popular Wine Of The Month selection for the Wine Of The Month Club in Australia with different varities of Shiraz selected from boutique wineries across the world.

Merlot is pronounced Mare-lo and is known an easy to drink red wine. Which makes it a good choice for introducing red wine to new wine drinkers.

Merlot will pretty much pair with any food choice.

Successful Merlot wine growing areas range from the Bordeaux region in France, Italy, Romania, Chile, Australia, California and more. And is the fourth most grown grap variety in terms of coverage across the globe after sultanine blanche, airen blanc, and grenache noir.

A typical Merlot wine includes black cherry and plum flavours and smells with herbal flavours mixed.

Merlot is less tannic and less rough than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon
In France Cabernet Sauvignon is prononounced Ca-burr-nay so-veen-yaw and is known as one of the worlds most popular red wine varieties.

A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon is best served with simply prepared red meat and of course stews. Nuts can be a good compliment as well.

Cabernet Sauvignon is generally planted wherever red wine grapes grow and is responsible for producing some of the best red wine made in Australia, France, Italy and Chile.

It is a full bodied red wine in taste but firm and gripping when only young.

But with age a Cabernet Sauvignon will mature and the famous attributes of the wine will mellow and smooth to produce a fine red wine experience. But when a Cabernet Sauvignon is young it may over power some foods it is supposed to compliment.

Older before younger is a term to remember when selecting a Cabernet Sauvignon.


In France this type of red wine is pronounced Mal-bek.

It typically pairs well with all types of meat dishes and pairs particulary well with spicy food traditionally made in Indian and Mexican cooking.

Malbek’s origins are from the Bordeaux region of France.

It is also known for being grown and produced in Argentina and has become Argentinas most popular red wine amongst locals. It can also be found in Australia, Chile and cooler parts of California.

Malbec’s taste will vary considerably depending on where it was grown and how it was made. But in saying this it’s usually an easy drinking red wine variety tasting of plums, berries and spice.

Malbec is also blended with other wine varieties including cabernet sauvignon, merlot and more for producing Bordeaux styled wines.

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is pronounced Pee-know na-wahr and is often referred to as one of the noblest red wine grapes. Plus it’s difficult to grow and produce and is rarely blended with other wines.

However Pinot Noir pairs well with grilled Salmon, chicken and lamb dishes as well as sushi.

Some of the more successful Pinot Noir districts include Bourgogne in France, Austria and New Zealand.

And whilst Pinot Noir is a red wine it is quite unlike a Cabernet Sauvignon in that it is soft and has a delicate freshness taste and is known for its cherry, plum and strawberry flavours. But it is difficult to define the Pinot Noir taste because what is produced by one wine growing region is often quite different to another.

Pronounced Zin-fan-dell.

Zinfandel is one of the worlds most versatile grapes for wine making and are used for a range of white wine and red wine varieties.

Zinfandel is only grown in California and pairs with a range of foods and has a zesty and pepper type berry flavour.

Pronounced San-gee-oh-ve-zee pairs wonderfully with Italian and other Mediterranean type dishes.

Sangiovese grapes produce the Chiantis from Italy’s Tuscany region and more recently a number of good red wines from California.

Sangiovese typically provides drinkers with a medium body taste of berry and plum fruit flavours.

Pronounced Bar-bear-a.

Barbera is similar to Merlot but not nearly as popular and matches well with a range of dishes including red sauce dishes typically found in Italy and Mediterranean cuisines.

The typical Barbera taste is one of black cherry and plum combined with a silky texture and wonderful acidity.

So there you have it. Eight red wine varieties to learn about and try. Enjoy!

Looking for a gift?
Give someone a membership to the Wine Of The Month Club where members receive a different bottle of wine every month from boutique wineries around Australia and the world.

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