Red wine, along with white wines, make up two of the broadest distinctions in wine jargon. There are thousands upon thousands of varieties of grapes with subtle, complex flavors derived from different fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other sources. Red wines contain tannin, a compound that gives the wine the potential to be healthy when consumed in moderation.
In this article, we’ll cut through some of the finer details and discuss the top red wine brands that are popular all across the world. Their universal appeal is a testament to their quality, and we’ll list six of the very best red wines you must try as soon as you can. Though not all of them are accessible to the novice, their sheer pedigree makes them worthy drinks at any stage of one’s wine education.
Top Six Red Wines To Try Right Now
1) Italian Chianti
Fans of the wildly popular television show ‘Mad Men’ will remember this as a favorite of creative genius Donald Draper, and for good reason. Chianti (pronounced kee-ahn-tea) is a classic Italian wine that carries with it a long tradition that stretches back to the 14th century when Cosimo de Medici popularized it through the now-famous fiasco bottle.
Though the bottles have changed in recent years, the taste has not. Chianti’s are made from Sangiovese grapes, which are high in tannins. The dryness that comes with this can make the roof of your mouth feel sticky. But Chiantis also contain rich earthiness, along with hints of strawberries and cherries. See what other amazing grapes are involved in winemaking by checking out “Best Grapes for Making Wine“.
They can also taste of smoke and woodiness. If you’re looking to try a bottle, the Chianti Classico’s are a step above the conventional Chianti and are regulated by strict rules. Besides being appreciated alone, Chianti’s are an extremely versatile table wine, making for a delicious accompaniment to most conventional meals.
Be sure to also check out “List of Four Best Italian Table Wines” and see what other wines besides the Chianti hail from Italy.
2) French Beaujolais
French Beaujolais is a wine that divides opinion amongst wine aficionados. It is one of the most popular young red wines in the world, and more than 20 million bottles are produced every year. However, the short storage time needed, indeed required, for consuming this wine means that its production entails the adoption and addition of several specialized techniques/ingredients to modify the process of fermentation.
This is a dealbreaker for many wine lovers, who believe that the artificiality ruins the taste of the final product. But you can only fall into either camp once you’ve tried the Beaujolais, and its features make a compelling case to do so.
Want to know more about French wines? Check out “List of 7 Best French Table Wines” for more.
These wines are light-bodied, with strong fruity, berry flavors that are accentuated by its lack of tannins. Beaujolais’ can carry a strong aroma of either bananas or bubblegum, which stems from a specific technique called carbonic maceration that is employed in its production. A truly enjoyable bottle of Beaujolais will only cost you around $20-30 USD, which is fairly low for a wine of this quality.
3) Cabernet Sauvignon
The Cabernet Sauvignon has seen a meteoric rise to fame since the latter half of the twentieth century. Originating from Bordeaux, this red wine has grown into a popular grape varietal that is produced in various corners of the world for its distinct characteristics.
It is a full-bodied wine that is high in tannins and medium on acidity. Though each country produces the wine with its own variations, the essence of a Cabernet Sauvignon lies in its spicy flavors and rich texture that goes perfectly with heavy red meats. These flavors include tobacco, peppercorn, mint, and black currant.
Its density of tannins also means that Sauvignons age very well. Besides France, Chile, California, and Australia are some of the other countries where this grape is popular. Due to this wide prevalence, a bottle can cost anywhere from around $10, to thousands, giving wine lovers much to explore.
Check out how long these bottles of red wine will last you in “How Long Does Wine Last?“. Expand your wine knowledge today!
Merlot, which means ‘the little blackbird’ in French, is the second wine from Bordeaux to be featured on this list. Cabernet Franc, another varietal, is the grape from which the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are derived, so in some respects, they are similar.
They both have a 13.5-15% alcohol by volume (ABV) content, and they’re both very dry. But the Merlot has several features that it helps it distinguish itself. While Sauvignons are spicier and have a fuller body, Merlot’s tend to be fruitier and contain lesser tannins.
Merlots have remained in the shadow of Sauvignons for the longest time since it was only popularised when both grapes were mixed to play with their flavors. But its smooth texture and notes of plum, cherries, and berries make it a wine well worth trying for its own merits.
Barolo has historically been known as the king of Italian wines, and as such, it was bound to feature in a list of best red wines. This is produced using Nebbiolo grapes, primarily in the Piedmont area of northwest Italy, and only a few villages in the country are authorized to produce the highest quality wines in accordance with rigid regulations.
These regions have been producing this wine for millennia, making it one of the oldest varieties of grapes that are still popular today. There have even been a series of conflicts called the Barolo wars to determine the correct process of producing this ancient wine.
Generally, these wines are incredibly complex, containing hints of a wide variety of ingredients. These include tar, tobacco, chocolate, fruits, spices, herbs, and much more. These are also highly tannic, meaning that their taste and texture also evolves significantly as they are aged.
Shiraz, also known as Syrah, are another pair of versatile red wines that dazzle with their complex flavors blended together. Though they are the same grape, regional climatic variations induce subtle variations on the grapes.
However, both are generally full-bodied, and very high on tannins. Though this can make your mouth dry, the concentrated presence of tannins has many health benefits due to the antioxidants in them. It also gives the wine a very dark, blood-red color.
You’ve been hearing the word tannins a lot…check out “What are Tannins in Wine and Should You Worry About Them?” to learn about tannins in your wine.
Thank you for reading with us today! Let us know in the comments below which of these wines is your favorite. Is there one that you haven’t tried yet? Let us know.
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