Exploring what are the different types of red wine?

Exploring the Different Types of Red Wine?

For those wishing to traverse the realm of red wine, understanding the various available types can be daunting. With many grape varieties and regional styles, navigating through this diverse landscape can be exciting and overwhelming. This blog post will delve into what are the different types of red wine by exploring three main categories encompassing the various types of red wines available.

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Firstly, we will discuss varietal red wines which are made from a single type of grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. These wines showcase distinct flavor profiles and characteristics unique to their respective grapes. Next up are blended red wines which combine multiple grape varieties in order to create harmonious and complex flavors. Some popular examples include Bordeaux-style blends and Chianti wines.

Lastly, fortified red wines offer an intriguing option for those seeking bold flavors with higher alcohol content. We’ll explore how these wines differ from their non-fortified counterparts, highlighting notable examples like Port and Madeira.

In this comprehensive guide on what are the different types of red wine, you’ll gain insights into each category’s nuances as well as tips for selecting your next bottle based on body type, tannin levels, acidity balance, and more!

Varietal Red Wines

Varietal red wines are made from a single grape variety, offering unique flavors and characteristics that reflect the specific type of grape used.

Some popular varietal red wines include:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel

Varietal reds provide distinct flavors and aromas, making them ideal for a variety of meals and events.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most well-known and widely planted red wine grapes. It produces full-bodied wines with high tannins, which give it structure and ageability. The flavor profile typically includes blackcurrant, black cherry, cedarwood, and tobacco leaf notes, along with hints of green bell pepper when underripe.


Merlot, another popular varietal red wine grape variety, is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to create Bordeaux-style blends like Pomerol or Saint Emilion Grand Cru. 

Merlots tend to be medium-to-full bodied with lower tannins than Cabernets but still have good aging potential due to their balanced acidity levels. Flavors can range from plummy fruitiness to more savory earthy tones depending on where they are grown.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir, a delicate and challenging grape to grow, is known for producing elegant, light-to-medium-bodied red wines with high acidity. The flavor profile of Pinot Noir can vary greatly depending on the region it’s grown in but generally includes flavors of red fruits like cherry or raspberry along with earthy notes such as mushroom or forest floor.


Zinfandel, primarily associated with California wine production, is a versatile grape that can produce both robust red wines and lighter rose styles (known as White Zinfandel). 

Red Zinfandels are typically full-bodied with moderate tannins and acidity levels. They often showcase jammy fruit flavors like blackberry or boysenberry alongside spicy pepper notes.

In addition to these popular varietal red wines, there are many other lesser-known varieties worth exploring such as Syrah/Shiraz, Malbec, and Grenache/Garnacha. Each offers its own unique taste experience that can be enjoyed alone or paired expertly with food dishes.

By understanding the different types of varietal red wines available, you’ll be better equipped to choose the perfect bottle for any occasion.

In Summary: 

The different types of red wine include varietal wines made from a single grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Each type has its own distinct taste profile that makes them ideal for different occasions and food pairings. Other lesser-known varieties worth exploring are Syrah/Shiraz, Malbec and Grenache/Garnacha.

Blended Red Wines

Blended red wines are created by combining two or more different grape varieties to create a unique flavor profile. These wines offer a combination of attributes from the individual grape varieties, creating an intricate and balanced flavor that will appeal to many different taste buds.

Bordeaux-Style Blends

Bordeaux-style blends are among the most popular types of blended red wines, originating from the Bordeaux region in France. 

Bordeaux-style blends usually consist of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc as the main components with possible inclusion of Petit Verdot and Malbec. These high tannin wines typically feature dark fruit flavors like black cherry and cassis along with notes of tobacco, cedarwood, and graphite.

Rhone-Style Blends

Inspired by the Rhone Valley in France, Rhone-style blends primarily consist of Grenache Noir (Garnacha), Syrah (Shiraz), Mourvedre (Monastrell) grapes along with other lesser-known varietals such as Cinsault or Carignan. 

These medium-bodied wines often exhibit flavors reminiscent of red fruits like raspberry or strawberry alongside hints of rose petals and white pepper due to their high acidity levels.

GSM: Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre Blend

  • Grenache Noir provides juicy fruitiness while also contributing lower alcohol content compared to other blending partners.
  • Syrah adds depth and structure with its bold dark fruit flavors, peppery spice notes, and high tannins.
  • Mourvedre brings earthiness and savory elements to the blend along with firm tannin structure.

Chianti Wines

Chianti wines, hailing from Tuscany in Italy, are primarily made from Sangiovese grapes but can also include other red grape varieties such as Canaiolo Nero or Colorino. 

Chiantis typically showcase bright cherry flavors alongside herbal undertones like oregano or thyme due to their high acidity levels.

Beaujolais Nouveau: Gamay Grape Blend

A popular example of a blended wine featuring the Gamay grape, Beaujolais Nouveau is released annually on the third Thursday of November. This light-bodied wine showcases vibrant red fruit flavors like raspberry or cranberry along with floral notes thanks to its lower alcohol content and fruity fermentation process called carbonic maceration.

In conclusion, blended red wines offer an exciting range of flavor profiles that cater to various preferences by combining different grape varieties’ unique characteristics. Whether you prefer Bordeaux-style blends rich in dark fruits or lighter options like Beaujolais Nouveau brimming with fresh berry flavors, there’s undoubtedly a perfect blend out there for every palate.

If you’re like me right now, reading about all these awesome wines makes me want to start sipping while I finish the article. You can find some incredible deals and rare finds by searching online wine retailers.

In Summary: 

Blended red wines combine different grape varieties to create unique flavor profiles, showcasing the best characteristics of each grape. Bordeaux-style blends are high in tannins and feature dark fruit flavors, while Rhone-style blends exhibit medium-bodied flavors reminiscent of red fruits and white pepper. Chianti wines offer bright cherry flavors with herbal undertones, while Beaujolais Nouveau is a light-bodied wine featuring vibrant red fruit flavors thanks to its fruity fermentation process called carbonic maceration.

Fortified Red Wines

Fortified red wines are a unique category of wine that involves the addition of brandy or other spirits during fermentation. This process results in a higher alcohol content and often imparts a sweeter taste to the final product. These wines have been enjoyed for centuries, with their origins tracing back to various European countries.

The primary reason behind fortifying wines was to preserve them during long sea voyages, as the added alcohol helped prevent spoilage. Today, fortified red wines continue to be popular choices among wine enthusiasts who appreciate their rich flavors and complex profiles.

There are several types of fortified red wines worth exploring:

  • Port: Originating from Portugal’s Douro Valley, Port is perhaps the most well-known fortified red wine. Typically sweet and rich in flavor, it pairs wonderfully with desserts and strong cheeses.
  • Madeira: Named after its island home off the coast of Portugal, Madeira is another famous example of fortified red wine. With its high acidity levels and nutty flavors, it can range from dry to sweet varieties suitable for different food pairings.
  • Marsala: Hailing from Sicily in Italy, Marsala comes in both dry and sweet styles depending on how it’s aged. It’s commonly used as an ingredient in cooking but can also be enjoyed as a sipping wine.
  • Sherry: Produced in the Jerez region of Spain, Sherry is a versatile fortified red wine that ranges from dry to sweet. Its unique production process involving the solera system gives it distinct flavors and aromas.

To truly understand the complexities of Sherry, it is necessary to appreciate its individual traits and how they contrast with other red wines. Fortified reds typically have a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) than regular table wines, usually ranging from 17-22%. This increased potency makes them ideal for sipping slowly or enjoying with rich foods that can stand up to their bold flavors.

In addition, many fortified red wines undergo an aging process that contributes significantly to their flavor profiles. For example, Port and Madeira are aged using various methods such as oxidation or heat exposure, resulting in complex layers of taste and aroma. Understanding these nuances will enhance your enjoyment of fortified red wines and help you better appreciate their place within the world of fine wine.

In Summary: 

Fortified red wines are a unique category of wine that involves the addition of brandy or other spirits during fermentation, resulting in higher alcohol content and often sweeter taste. Port, Madeira, Marsala, and Sherry are some popular types of fortified red wines with distinct flavors and aromas due to their aging process. Understanding these nuances will enhance your enjoyment of fortified red wines and help you better appreciate their place within the world of fine wine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 10 types of red wine?

The top 10 types of red wine include

Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Noir

Each type has unique characteristics and flavor profiles that make them popular choices for different occasions.

What are the different types of red wine drinks?

Red wine can be enjoyed in various forms such as

mulled wine (warm spiced)
sangria (mixed with fruit and other ingredients)
spritzers (mixed with soda water)
cocktails like a New York Sour.

Additionally, red wines can also be incorporated into cooking recipes to enhance flavors.

What are the 4 major wine categories?

The four major wine categories are Red Wine (made from dark-colored grape varieties), White Wine (made from green or yellowish grapes), Rose Wine (produced by allowing some skin contact during fermentation), and Sparkling Wine (carbonated through natural or artificial processes).

How are red wines classified?

Red wines can be classified based on factors such as varietal composition (percentage of each grape variety used), region/terroir where they were produced, aging method/time spent in oak barrels, vintage year, sweetness level, and body type (light, medium, or full).

What Are the Different Types of Red Wine Conclusion

In summary, there are three main types of red wine: varietal, blended, and fortified. 

  • Varietal wines are made from a single grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. 
  • Blended wines combine two or more grape varieties to create unique flavors and aromas. 
  • Fortified wines have additional alcohol added during fermentation to increase their strength.

Knowing the distinctions between these varieties of red wine can aid you in selecting the ideal bottle for any event. Whether you prefer a bold Cabernet Sauvignon or a smooth Merlot blend, there is sure to be a type of red wine that suits your taste preferences.

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