You want to order a good red wine, but how do you decide? How do you even know what you would like? There are so many different types of wine, and it can be confusing to decide which red wine is right for your meal or your palate. Here are five top wine types and some food pairings to help you decide.
The Leading Red
Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading red. That’s not just because it’s good. It’s because more cabernet grapes are planted around the world. You can find a better California Cabernet Sauvignon for £30 to £40. You may notice spicy notes and hints of fruits.
If you are eating that American favorite, the hamburger, Cabernet Sauvignon has a strong enough taste to stand up to the fatty meat. It is equally good with something fancier such as steak, prime rib, or lamb.
The Excellent Alternative
Merlot grapes are the second-most popular grape planted in wine country. It tends to be fruiter than Cabernet and perhaps sweeter. The tannins are lighter, countering the natural tartness that many associate with a red wine.
When you are tucking into a roast chicken, a Merlot should be an excellent companion. For that matter, it is good with any type of poultry, including game birds such as ducks.
The Sweetest Choice
You will see Zinfandels in red, pink and white. Sticking to the red variety, you can expect a zinfandel to be sweeter than Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. You might also check the label because the alcohol content of sweeter wines is sometimes higher as well.
As for food, you’ll find that Zinfandel is a nice choice for your pasta dishes. It also goes well with that other Italian speciality, pizza. Zinfandel also makes a nice pair with short ribs or pork tenderloin.
The Sipping Wine
While theoretically all wine is for sipping, a Syrah tends to be especially good for a quiet moment. It has a bold flavor that is sometimes spicy or even peppery. You may taste fruity notes such as blackberries but you are unlikely to declare this wine too sweet, even if you favor dry wines.
The balance of flavors may be why it is such a good choice for a traditional tray of cheeses and sliced meats. While you sip, you nibble. It just feels so civilized.
By the way, Syrah and Shiraz are made from the same grape. The only difference besides the name is usually the country of origin with wineries in the Southern Hemisphere preferring Shiraz.
The Lightest Choice
In this case the lightest choice isn’t about calories or alcohol content. Instead the lightness of the Pinot Noir grape sets it apart from the others. You can expect brighter notes and flavors.
This is the red wine for seafood and fish. You can enjoy it with grilled salmon or chilled sushi.
As for its color, Zinfandel is a rich, almost purple red. You can also find Zinfandel wines that are pink or white, but they don’t have the red’s silky delivery.
When you order your next bottles of wine, try a few different red wines and discover which type of red is really your favorite. You don’t need to be a scientist to perform this experiment, and it’s a hands-on way to learn more about wine.