The 7 Best Varietals Of Red Wines

The world of red wines definitely celebrates many more varietals outside of Merlot and Cabernet. These are by far the most popular types of red wines, in the contemporary era of fine wining. Given below is an insight into seven of the best varieties of red wines in the world.

Types of Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon

They are undoubtedly the best selling red wines across United States. Full bodied, big and tannic, the Cabernet Sauvignon, is considered as the noblest variety of grapes in the Bordeaux areas of France. They also form the best wine grapes in Chile, California and Australia.

Cabernet Sauvignon

This varietal of dry red wine has been known to age well over the decades and is rich ruby or dark purple in coloration. The Cabernet Sauvignon is available in an array of beautiful aromas and flavors and blends in a nice manner with Shiraz, Merlot and Sangiovese. It is processed through oak treatment, which gives it a subtle vanilla note which combines well with the pepper under tone. Cabernet Sauvignon goes very well with simple preparations of red meat.


The mellowed softness and low acidity levels of Merlot, makes it one of the most popular and easy to drink, red wines in recent years. This medium bodied varietal of red wine pairs with all kinds of food and is a great introductory option for new wine drinkers.


Merlot has always been one of the key constituents of the Bordeaux blend. The grape is now grown widely in Romania, Italy, California, Australia, Chile, Washington, etc. Incidentally it is the fourth most widely cultivated variety of wine grapes in terms of worldwide coverage.

Herbal flavors, black cherry and plums are the main aromas present in Merlot. It is considered to be less tannic than its closest competitor, Cabernet Sauvignon.


Shiraz excels in the regions of Australia, France and California. This varietal of red wine is known as Syrah among the European vintners. Shiraz pairs best with beef, steak, stews and wild game. Shiraz is dominated with the flavors and aromas of black wild fruits such as black currants and has subtle tones of roasting meat and black pepper spice. The gripping tannin and the warm alcohol, complement the abundance of fruity sensations in Shiraz.


Sometimes the wine drinkers may find overtones of toffee, which are caused due to the storage in oak containers. Shiraz is used as a valuable ingredient in a variety of average wines and is known for its spicy and hearty flavors. Some of the world’s finest, reddest and deepest wines are produced from Shiraz, which offers them excellent periods of longevity along with intense flavors.


Malbec is traditionally found in the Bordeaux regions of France. It is known as côt, auxerrois, médoc noir or pressac in other areas of France. Malbec is one of the most popular varietals of red grape in Argentina and is also grown in parts of California, Australia and Chile.


Malbec has food pairings with all types of meat and foie gras. It also goes well with Indian, Cajun and Mexican dishes if your host insists on serving wine with these preparations. The characteristic flavors and aromas of Malbec are dependent on their mode of preparation and region of growth. It is typically an easy to drink varietal of red wine that tastes of spices, berries and plums.

Malbec can be safely blended with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and Merlot to create different Bordeaux style concoctions in wine.

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Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is considered as one of the noblest of red grape wines and is quite difficult to grow. It is a varietal of red wine that is rarely blended and is extremely smooth in texture and taste. Pinot Noir tastes best with grilled salmon, lamb, chicken and Japanese dishes such as sushi rolls.

pinot noir red wine

The Pinot noir is associated with the great red wines of Burgundy and other popular ones from New Zealand, California, Oregon and Austria. The Pinot noir is quite different in flavor from Cabernet Sauvignon and has a fresh and delicate taste. The low levels of polyphenols make it less tannic. The fruity aromas in this varietal of red wine remind drinkers of strawberries, cherries and plums. There are under notes of damp earth, tea leaves and leather present in Pinot noir that provides it a distinguished taste.


Zinfandel has established its reputation as one of the finest and most versatile quality of wine grapes in the world. It is used for the production of an entire gamut of wines, ranging from blush wine to the richest of red wines.

zinfandel red wine

The food pairing of Zinfandel depends on the heaviness or the freshness of the wine. It goes well with barbequed meat, grills, pizzas and tomato sauce based pasta. Zinfandel is found only in California where unlike the other varieties of red wine grapes, it manages to survive the sunshine and heat. Zinfandel is medium bodied and has spicy as well as jammy flavors with tones of pepper and berries.


This varietal of red wine is a popular choice for the Mediterranean and Italian style of cuisine. Sangiovese is used to produce the popular Chiantis found in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is being used for the production of some good varietals of Californian wines in the recent times.

The primary flavors of the medium bodied Sangiovese are associated with fresh berries and plums. The different aromas and flavors present in this varietal make it one of the most loved and popular red wines in the world.

The flavors and aromas of red wines from different parts of the world are quite dependent on their way of processing and growing techniques. It is difficult to form a conclusive list of some of the best red wines available in the world .It is interesting to note that the list of red wines goes on much beyond these popular varietals. Most red wines are equally delicious and it is a good idea for wine lovers to try out different types to form their own judgment regarding the same.

After all, Chianti, Barolo, Amarone, Lumbrusco or Barbera may taste as good as the Burgundy, Beaujolais or Bordeaux!