The variety of red wines depends on the types of grapes used in the production process. These 8 types of red wine overwhelmingly dominate the world market.

1. Tempranillo

The Tempranillo grape originates from Spain, where it also receives the names of “tinta del país” and the “noble grape” More than 60% of the vineyards in La Rioja are Tempranillo, where it was born from the Albillo mayor varieties and Benedict. It receives its name because its maturation is several weeks ahead of the other Spanish inks.

Tempranillo wine (almost the same as saying Rioja) is dark, light, long-lived and has a smooth flavor, reminiscent of cherries. It can be consumed young, although it improves with several years of aging. It leaves aromas of plums, blackberries, raspberries, coffee and smoky touches on the nose. The Spanish uncork it at will with lamb, roasts, fish, sausages, soft cheeses and pasta with light sauces.

2. Grenache

It is a late-ripening grape, so it requires a dry and warm climate. For these reasons it is believed that it originates from Spain, although it could be Sardinian, since it grows very well in Sardinia. It also does well in California, Australia and the South of France. The wine leaves a mild and slightly spicy flavor on the palate, and the grape is frequently used in blends for the production of rosé wines. Grenache wines pair well with main dishes, such as meat and fish with penetrating flavors, long-aged cheeses and powerful salads.

3. Merlot

It is the so-called “chameleon variety” since it can develop different personalities, depending mainly on whether the climate of the place where the vineyard is located is warmer or colder. The variety emerged in Bordeaux by crossing Cabernet Franc and an old Gallic variety called Magdaleine Noire des Charentes.

Its main global territorial references are Saint Emillion and Pomerol, in France, and Italian Tuscany. The fruit ripens quickly, giving rise to wines with a high alcohol content. It offers aromas of blackberries, currants and red fruits on the nose, and leaves a taste of plums, raisins and mint. It is a strong wine, frequently used to introduce beginners to tastings. It pairs well with game, stews, mature cheeses, vegetables and sweets.

4. Pinot Noir

Although Pinot Noir has been cultivated since the first century AD, it became the main world reference for French Burgundy thanks to a clever propaganda strategy by the House of Valois, particularly Duke Philip II of Burgundy, during the second half of the XIV century. The vineyard produces almost black bunches (hence the «Noir») with the grapes tightly packed in the shape of pineapples (hence the «Pinot»).

It is a grape that grows best in cold climates and its wines are among the most elegant in the world. The vineyard requires the utmost care, but can offer a sublime harvest in return if the conditions are optimal. Its symphony of aromas includes moist leather, grapefruit, strawberries, berries and vanilla. It pairs exquisitely with white meats, lamb, soft cheeses, mushrooms and fish, and is the favorite of gourmets to accompany pan-Asian food.


The Syrah grape, also called Shiraz, arose from a cross between the hardness and the mondeuse blanche, two dark grapes from the French southeast, as unquestionably confirmed by a 1999 DNA analysis. This scientific research dismantled the myth that the strain had come from Iran, where a wine called “shirazi” is produced.

It is a powerful grape that communicates floral, fruity and smoky aromas. The wine is deep red, very rich in tannins, and combines wonderfully with grilled meats, game, strong stews, stews and characterful cheeses. It also goes very well with chocolate.

6. Zinfandel

The Zinfandel grape is European and arrived in California in the mid-nineteenth century, currently absorbing a respectable share of American wine production, although it is less used in the rest of the world. Red Zinfandels are robust and full-flavored, and ever-practical Americans bottle a semi-sweet pink broth, White Zinfandel, that sells much better than the classic red.

The Zinfandel grape is somewhat fractious and, depending on the climate, can offer markedly different flavors. In warm climates it leaves a peppery taste in the mouth, while in colder regions it is reminiscent of raspberry. It is very popular for its versatility in pairing, combining well with meats in different ways of preparation, pastas, pizzas and other foods made with tomato sauce.

7. Malbec

What would Argentines be without football, their tender meats and the Malbec grape? Malbec was born in the old French province of Quercy, near the commune of Cahors, at the hands of Monsieur Malbeck, from whom it took its name. It is a dark-colored fruit with abundant tannins, whose strain adapted very well to Argentina, originating the most popular varietal in the country of tango.

A frost in 1956 devastated the Malbec vineyards in Bordeaux and since then the main French producer of the grape has been Cahors. Malbec is a tinted wine that leaves a taste of blackberries and black plums in the mouth. The Argentine grape is a bit different from the French one, with ripe tannins and more fruity flavors. Malbec wine pairs very well with beef, lamb and vegetables.

8. Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the most momentous successes in the history of the wine industry occurred in the 17th century in southwestern France, when the Cabernet Sauvignon grape emerged through a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The new strain turned out to be very adaptable to different types of climate, as well as highly resistant to humidity and insect attacks.

Currently, Cabernet Sauvignon is the best known and most popular wine from Bordeaux, as well as from other wine regions in Europe, America and Australia. The Cabernet Sauvignon reds are herbaceous in the mouth due to their level of tannins and go very well with pasta, lasagna, poultry, game, roast meat and a wide range of cheeses. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is widely used for blends with a great personality.

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