If you become overwhelmed or embarrassed with the task of choosing your own selection of wines from a restaurant list or a supermarket aisle, you are not alone. Every person was a novice at choosing wines once. With so many different wines to choose from, the task of finding the best wine to complement a certain meal or to be served at a special occasion can be difficult. With so many different varieties, red wines, in particular, can be confusing to select.
Red wines come in a large variety, from extremely potent and thick to light and fresh. With each different choice, you can receive an entirely different experience. Whether you are entirely new to wines or simply trying to get better acquainted, here are some important things to know about different types of red wine. As you come to better understand the differences between each different variety, you can become better prepared to make the right selection.
Big Red Wines
For people who are looking for a more intense experience, a big red wine might be a good choice. Big wines are generally heavier, providing a thicker and more full-bodied taste. The thickness of milk when compared to water is often used to describe the feeling of big wines. Along with a heavier taste, big wines also tend to have a more long lasting taste and experience than other wines. With a higher alcohol content and often more tannins (making the taste more bitter), big wines can create a powerful impression. A few common big red wines are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Smooth Red Wines
In comparison with big wines, smooth red wines are generally much more mellow. With a lower content of alcohol and fewer tannins, the experience with smooth wines is often less dramatic, but equally pleasant. If you are looking for smooth wines, you may want to try Pinotage or Merlot.
Light Red Wines
Individuals who are looking for a lighter taste often do well to select one of the light reds. These wines are often paired with a more flavorful meal, creating a subtle enhancement without overpowering the taste. With little aftertaste, light reds are often associated with a cleaner taste. Along with smooth red wines, light reds also tend to have a lower content of alcohol and tannins, creating a similar pleasant experience. Cabernet Franc and Cotes du Rhone are two very well-liked light red wines.
The region in which wines are produced can make a large difference in the taste and quality of the finished product. With entirely different soils and weather patterns, it is no surprise that grapes grown from different areas can produce different wines. Pinot Noir, for example, can have a dramatically different taste when produced in either France or California. From France, Pinot Noir is generally robust and earthy. The Californian Pinot Noir, on the other hand, tends to taste much fruitier.
Another matter of preference, wines from different regions are often preferred by different individuals. If you are looking to discover your own preference in taste, it might be wise to buy the same wines from different locations to compare the results.
As you learn more about wines and gain experience, you will quickly gain confidence in selecting the right red (or any style of) wine.