What Other Red Wines Should You Try?

Last time we took a quick look across the spectrum of four red wines, looking at Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. These are common red wines and broadly known. So now let's take it one-step further into our exploration of reds.  If you find that you tend to like one of these four red wines better than the others, you may want to venture out and try some other red wines that are similar in their characteristics.

So we started on the lighter end of the spectrum with Pinot Noir.  If you find that its delicate flavors and light tannins are something you enjoy, then here a few others that are similar:

  • Burgundy - This one's on the top of the list if you are a Pinot Noir lover because it is Pinot Noir!  It's the red wine produced in Burgundy France.
  • Cinsault - When you can find this grape made as a varietal, it produces a light, aromatic and refreshing wine. But, unfortunately it is typically used in blends such as the Rhône  Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. 
  • Gamay - Most notable in the Beaujolais region of France, this grape produces light, fruity wines with flavors of cherry and raspberry that are often referred to as Gamay Beaujolais.  This grape is used most notably in Beaujolais Nouveau.
  • St. Laurent - An aromatic black grape variety. Saint-Laurent wines are dark purple in color, silky with a characteristic dark-cherry flavor 
  • Zweigelt - The most planted grape in Austria produces a light red wine with flavors of spiced cherry and raspberry.

Next are the medium-bodied wines that include Zinfandel.  If you are a Zin lover, here are few other medium reds that you might want to try:

  • Barbera - An Italian grape, from the Piedmont area, known for it depth of color, low tannins and low acidity. This grape produces wine with flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, plum, dried strawberry and raspberry jam.
  • Grenache - This is one of the most widely used grapes in the world.  With low acidity, tannin and color, this is often blended with other varieties, most notably Syrah and Mourvedre. As a varietal, it is rich and spicy with strawberry and raspberry flavors.
  • Carignan - Although originally used for much of California's jug wine, today it produces varietal wines that are high in tannins and acid, with flavors of dark and black fruits, pepper, licorice, and spicy, savory aromas.
  • Rhône Blends - Rhône wines focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, producing medium-bodied spicy blends.
  • Tempranillo - Native to Spain, this dark black grape produces medium-bodied wines that actually taste a lot like the big and bold Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals but with lighter tannin and acidity.  Fruit flavors include cherry, plum, blueberry and raspberry while oak aging adds leather, tobacco, and vanilla.  
  • Valpolicella - Grapes used in this Italian wine include Corvina, Molinari and Rondinella to produce wines flavored of blueberry, herbs, and cocoa that have dense tannin.

And now, we venture into the bigger, bolder reds.  First, here a few reds that are similar to Syrah:

  • Malbec - Native to France, this grape produces wine that can be rich and jammy with flavors of blueberry and plum.
  • Mouvedre - This grape produces wines high in tannins that can be found as a varietal with flavors of blackberry, blueberry and plum. But it is commonly used for blending with Grenache and Syrah.
  • Petite Sirah - This grape produces tannic wines with high acidity and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, plum, and black pepper.
  • Pinotage - A signature grape of South Africa, it is a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault that produces deep color with smoky and earthy flavors.

And last, but not least, are the biggest and boldest reds. If you enjoy a nice Cabernet Sauvignon then these are also worth a try:

  • Bordeaux Blends - Bordeaux produces red blends based on Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
  • Cabernet Franc - This grape is used to produce the varietal wine that can have flavors of black cherry, plum, strawberry, and roasted pepper.
  • Carménère - A member of the Cabernet family, this grape produces wines that can have flavors of bell pepper, red cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, and green peppercorn.
  • Merlot - The Merlot grape produces wines with soft tannins and intense fruit flavors of black cherry, plum and raspberry.  Oak aging can add flavors of mocha, tobacco, and vanilla.
  • Sangiovese - The most widely planted Italian grape used as the main component of Chianti (Sangiovese grown in the Chianti region of Italy).  This grape produces wines with medium tannins and high acidity with flavors of cherry, fig, plum, and strawberry. Oak aging can add flavors that include leather, tobacco, and smoke.

So there's a quick run through of red wines. Hope you find a couple in there to try that fit in with your pallet. Cheers!