As you sip your red wine, do you know where it's color comes from? It's produced from a vast assortment of grape varietals ranging from grapes that are reddish, deep purple, and even a beautiful blue. Many people consider red wines "heavy" wines, but they are more accurately described as being "light-bodied" or "full-bodied." The body is the texture and the weight that you will feel in your mouth and on your tongue when you drink the wine. So lets dicuss the varieties of Red Wines available for you to enjoy!
Merlot: The classic Merlot grape originated from the Bordeaux region of France. It produces a soft, medium-bodied red wine with juicy fruit flavors. The softness of Merlot has made it an "introducing" wine for new red-wine drinkers. A range of fresh flavors such as plums, cherries, blueberries and blackberries mixed with black pepper tones, typically dominate this smooth red wine. Merlot is often used to blend with other varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. By blending Merlot with these wines, a distinct taste is produced for you to take pleasure in.
Shiraz/Syrah: Shiraz or syrah are two names for the same variety. Europe vintners only use the name Syrah. The grapes used are a deep-purple color and produces medium to full-bodied wines. Shiraz wines display firm tannins, although they are typically ripe and smooth, not abrasive like younger reds can be, a fuller body, and the rich round flavors of black cherry, blackberry, plum, bell pepper, black pepper, clove, licorice, dark chocolate and smoked meat. Where tannins are "Phenolic compounds that exist in most plants; in grapes, tannins are found primarily in the skins and pits; tannins are astringent and provide structure to a wine; over time tannins die off, making wines less harsh".It can produce some of the world's finest, deepest, and darkest reds with intense flavors and excellent longevity.
Cabernet Sauvignon: It is widely accepted as one of the world's best varieties. Cabernet sauvignon is often blended with Cabernet franc and merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon, often referred to as the "King of Red Wine Grapes," originally from Bordeaux, with a substantial foothold in California's wine races. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes tend to favor warmer climates and are often an ideal wine for aging. Cabs range from medium-bodied to full-bodied and are characterized by their high tannin content which serve to provide structure and intrigue while supporting a rich, ripe berry, tobacco and sometimes green pepper flavor.
Pinot Noir: This is one of the noblest red wine grapes. Pinot Noir is difficult to grow, rarely blended, with no roughness. The structure is delicate and fresh. The tannins are very soft; this is related to the low level of polyphenols. The aromatics are very fruity (cherry, strawberry, plum). It's flavors are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavor, depending on specific growing conditions.
Sangiovese: Italy's most commonly planted red grape varietal, boasting over a dozen distinct clones, is a thin-skinned grape that tends to linger longer on the vine, takes its time to mature. Sangiovese grapes make medium to full-bodied wines with tannin structure ranging from medium-soft to firm. Dominate flavors associated with Sangiovese derived wines include: cherry, plum, strawberry, cinnamon and vanilla. There is often a herbaceous quality associated with Sangiovese wines. As for acidity levels, Sangiovese leans towards medium to high acidity content.
Benefits of red Wine:
Red wine and food pairing.
Cabernet Sauvignon: It goes well with red meats, flavorful and heartier (red) pastas, lamb, strong-flavored cheese, and chocolates (especially dark). This is a good wine to choose if you are having a steak dinner. It also works well with strong cheeses, lamb and heavy pastas.
Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is well-suited to pair with poultry, beef, fish, ham, lamb and pork. It will play well with creamy sauces, spicy seasonings and may just be one of the world's most versatile food wines.
Merlot: Fairly versatile when it comes to food pairing options. Poultry, red meat, pork, pastas, salads - Merlot can handle them all well. It pairs well with many foods such as beef, strong cheese, game, veal, lamb, pastas with red and creamy red sauces, heavy seafoods, and BBQ chicken and pork.
Shiraz: Shiraz is great for grilled meats or veggies, wild game, richly flavored red meats, beef stew and meat lover's pizza. They pair well with heavy foods such as BBQ's, steak and spicy dishes.
Sangiovese: Well-matched for the flavors of chicken, red meat, fish, lamb, pork, pastas, stews or well-aged cheeses. This is a good choice for Italian and other Mediterranean-style cuisines. Storage: Once you open the Red Wine it should be stored properly to maintain its taste and flavor.
Make sure the range of temperature remains in a constant and comfortable range. Red wine does best with a constant temperature of 10*C. Humidity control is also key to proper red wine storage. Red wine does well when stored in a cool dark place.
Excessive alcohol consumption is generally considered a risk factor for health. However if taken in a limited quantity Red wine can be very beneficial for your health. When paired with correct food it provides a flavor and taste to the food.
(Source: howtodothings.com, about.com, dumblittleman.com, frenchscout.com, ezinearticles.com, wineonline.ie)