Discover the world of red wine! Learn about different varieties, health benefits, and more with this comprehensive guide to What is Red Wine.

What is Red Wine?

One might inquire, “What is red wine?” It’s a type of fermented beverage crafted from dark-colored grapes that yield its deep hue and intricate taste. The rich color and complex flavors come from the fermentation process that includes contact with grape skins.

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In this blog post, we will delve into the various types of red wines available and their unique characteristics. Additionally, we’ll discuss the potential health benefits associated with moderate red wine consumption.

As you continue reading, you’ll also discover essential wine accessories for enhancing your drinking experience and learn about proper serving sizes. We will provide recommendations on top online retailers for purchasing quality wines as well as different types of glasses to elevate your tasting experience.

To further expand your knowledge on what is red wine, we will share some popular books dedicated to this subject along with resources for learning about wines through online platforms. So grab a glass and join us in unraveling the fascinating world of red wines!

Popular Varieties of Red Wine

Red wine, a favorite beverage for many people across the globe, comes in various forms to meet different palates and desires. The main factor that distinguishes red wines from one another is the grape variety used during production. 

In this section, we will explore some of the most popular varieties of red wine available.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is renowned for its robust flavor with notes of blackcurrant, plum, cedarwood and sometimes green bell pepper. This versatile grape can be found in many regions worldwide but thrives particularly well in Bordeaux (France) and California (USA).


Merlot, often considered Cabernet Sauvignon’s softer sibling due to its smoother tannins and fruit-forward flavors such as cherry or raspberry, also originates from Bordeaux but has gained popularity across numerous winemaking regions like Chile or Australia.

Pinot Noir

A lighter-bodied option among red wines would be Pinot Noir, which offers delicate flavors like strawberry or cranberry alongside earthy undertones such as mushroom or forest floor.

Pinot Noir grapes are notoriously difficult to grow.  However, they flourish in cooler climates like Burgundy (France), Oregon (USA), and New Zealand.

Pinot Noir is also an excellent wine to cook with.


Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape variety grown around the world and used primarily to produce red wine. It is considered one of the great noble black grapes, producing full-bodied wines with strong fruit flavors. 

Syrah is most commonly associated with France, where it originated, but has since been planted in many other countries such as Australia and the United States. Its primary flavors include blueberry, black plum, milk chocolate and tobacco. 

Food pairings for Syrah/Shiraz include grilled meats, roasted vegetables and rich sauces.


A uniquely American grape variety is Zinfandel, which can produce both robust red wines with jammy fruit flavors or lighter rose styles called White Zinfandel. California’s warm climate makes it an ideal location for growing this versatile grape.


Grenache, also known as Garnacha, is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It is a dark-skinned varietal that produces medium-bodied wines with notes of black and blue fruit. 

Grenache is particularly versatile and can be used to produce a variety of styles including lean and full-bodied wines. It is also related to other grape varieties such as Garnacha Blanca, Garnacha Peluda and Garnacha Tintorera. 

Grenache is grown extensively in France, Spain, Australia and the United States.


Mourvèdre is a dark-skinned red grape variety that is grown in many viticultural areas around the world. It is known as Monastrell in Spain and Mataro in the United States and Australia, and it is commonly used in red blends. 

The grape thrives in warm, dry climates and has small, thick-skinned berries which make for wines with intense color and high tannin levels. Wines made from Mourvèdre are intensely colored, rich and velvety with aromas of red fruit, chocolate/mocha, mint, leather, earth and game.


Sangiovese is a red wine grape variety indigenous to Italy. It is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy and is used to produce a wide range of wines, from everyday drinking to premium wines. 

It is known for its adaptability and can be found in many different environments. Its taste characteristics include cherry, raspberry, leather, tobacco, and spice flavors. Sangiovese pairs well with Italian dishes such as pasta and pizza, as well as grilled meats and vegetables.


Cinsault is a French red-grape variety, traditionally used in a Southern Rhône blend as a partner to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. It is the fourth most widely planted grape variety in France, and is especially important in Languedoc-Roussillon. 

Cinsault delivers fresh, punchy reds that are floral and fruity. It thrives under the hot sun, and can be found throughout the Rhône Valley, Languedoc, Roussillon, and beyond. 

Varietal wines made from Cinsault are very fruit forward and lively with pronounced aromas of red fruits such as strawberry, raspberry, morello cherry and blackberry. It is also often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhone varietals.

In addition to these well-known varieties, countless other red wines are waiting to be discovered by curious wine enthusiasts. Whether you prefer bold and intense or light and fruity options, there’s undoubtedly a perfect red wine out there for every palate.

In Summary: 

Red wine comes in various types depending on the grape variety used during production. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah and Zinfandel are some of the most popular varieties of red wine available with unique flavor profiles that suit different tastes and preferences. There are countless other red wines waiting to be discovered by curious wine enthusiasts.

Health Benefits Red Wine

Health Benefits of Red Wine

Red wine has been purported to offer a range of health advantages when enjoyed in moderation. Studies have suggested that compounds like resveratrol and flavonoids in red wine can help protect against heart disease, reduce cholesterol levels, and even enhance brain function. 

Let’s look at the potential health advantages of red wine.

Promotes Heart Health

A key component to red wine’s heart-healthy reputation is its high concentration of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent blood vessel damage and reduce inflammation. Additionally, other antioxidants like polyphenols are believed to play a role in protecting the lining of blood vessels within the heart.

Improves Cholesterol Levels

The consumption of moderate amounts of red wine has also been linked to improved cholesterol levels. According to research from The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, moderate red wine intake could lead to an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol – both factors contributing towards better overall cardiovascular health.

Maintains Brain Function

Beyond its effects on physical well-being, there is evidence suggesting that moderate wine consumption might have cognitive benefits too. A study published by Oxford University Press, for example, showed that those who drank small amounts regularly were less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than non-drinkers.

Boosts Immune System

Red wine contains a variety of antioxidants that may help strengthen the immune system. In particular, resveratrol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, which could potentially reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

While moderate red wine consumption appears to offer several health benefits, it is essential to remember that excessive alcohol intake can lead to negative consequences. As with any dietary choice, moderation is key when enjoying your favorite glass of red wine.

Wine Accessories

Wine Accessories

Having the right tools and decorations can take your imbibing experience to new heights. From essential tools like corkscrews and decanters to decorative items such as wine racks and glass charms, there’s an array of wine accessories that cater to every taste and need.

Corkscrews and Bottle Openers

A quality corkscrew is indispensable for any wine lover. There are several types available, including waiter’s friends (also known as sommelier knives), winged corkscrews, and electric openers.

The choice ultimately depends on personal preference; however, many experts recommend using a double-hinged waiter’s friend for its ease of use and effectiveness in removing stubborn corks.  

Personally, I use The Durand® wine opener on any wine bottle that has aged more than 10 years.  It is exceptionally effective in removing compromised and fragile corks, whole and intact, from older, valued wines.


Decanting red wines, especially older vintages or those with sediment, can significantly improve their flavor by allowing them to breathe before consumption. Decanters come in various shapes and sizes but typically have a wide base to maximize surface area exposure to oxygen.

Wine Preservation Systems

The Coravin Wine Preservation System is the perfect tool for wine lovers who want to enjoy their favorite wines without pulling the cork. This system utilizes patented technology and ultra-pure argon gas to preserve wines for months, allowing you to pour just the amount you want while preserving a cork for future use.

  • Vacuum pumps: These devices remove air from opened bottles to slow down oxidation.
  • Argon gas systems: By replacing the air inside the bottle with inert argon gas, these systems help preserve freshness without altering flavors.
  • Glass stoppers: A simple yet effective solution for sealing leftover wine.


Aerating younger red wines can enhance their flavors by introducing oxygen, which softens tannins and releases aromas. Wine aerators are available in various styles, from handheld devices to those that attach directly to the bottle.

My personal choice for aerators is the Vinturi Red Wine Aerator. It is the essential tool for any wine lover. This patented design draws in and mixes the proper amount of air for the right amount of time, allowing your red wine to breathe instantly and release its aroma and flavor.

Wine Racks and Storage

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining wine quality over time. Invest in a wine rack or cabinet designed to keep bottles horizontally (to prevent corks from drying out) and away from direct sunlight or temperature fluctuations.

Glassware Accessories

Beyond choosing the right glass for your red wine, consider adding accessories like cleaning beads (for removing residue), charms (to help guests identify their glasses), or even a stylish carafe for serving at dinner parties.

Incorporating these essential wine accessories into your collection will not only enhance your enjoyment of red wines but also impress any fellow oenophiles you may entertain.

In Summary: 

For wine enthusiasts, having the right accessories can enhance their experience. From corkscrews and decanters to wine racks and glass charms, there are a variety of options available for every taste and need. Incorporating these essential wine accessories into your collection will not only improve your enjoyment but also impress fellow oenophiles you may entertain.

Serving Size

Serving Size

When it comes to enjoying red wine, understanding the appropriate serving size is essential for both taste and health reasons. A standard pour of red wine typically ranges from 5 to 6 ounces (150-180 ml). This amount allows you to appreciate the flavors and aromas without overindulging.

The Importance of Proper Serving Sizes

  • Moderation: Drinking in moderation has been linked with potential health benefits, such as improved heart health and reduced risk of certain diseases. Maintaining a suitable serving size can help ensure that your alcohol consumption remains moderate.
  • Taste: Overpouring can lead to an imbalanced experience when tasting red wine. The right serving size allows enough room in the glass for swirling, which releases aromatic compounds and enhances your overall enjoyment.
  • Pacing: By pouring smaller servings, you’re more likely to pace yourself throughout an evening or event, reducing the likelihood of overconsumption or intoxication.

To measure out a perfect pour every time, consider investing in a wine glass with etched lines, indicating various ounce measurements directly on the glass itself.

Serving Temperature Matters Too.

In addition to portion control, another factor affecting your enjoyment of red wine is its temperature. 

Red wines should be enjoyed at temperatures between 60°F (16°C) and 68°F (20°C), slightly cooler than room temperature. If stored at room temperature or warmer environments like near windowsills where sunlight may heat up bottles excessively, these delicate flavors could be lost due to oxidation or heat damage. 

For a perfect temperature, think about utilizing a wine cooler or stowing it away in an obscure and cold area like an underground cellar or wine refrigerator.

Decanting for Better Flavor

Some red wines benefit from decanting before serving. Decanting involves pouring the wine into a separate container (usually an elegant glass vessel called a decanter) and allowing it to breathe for 30 minutes up to several hours.

This process helps soften tannins, enhance flavors, and release aromas that may have been muted within the bottle – ultimately leading to an improved tasting experience.

In summary, understanding proper serving sizes of red wine can help you enjoy its flavors while also promoting responsible consumption habits. Don’t forget about temperature control and decanting as additional factors that contribute towards creating memorable experiences with every pour.

In Summary: 

Understanding the appropriate serving size of red wine is important for both taste and health reasons. A standard pour ranges from 5 to 6 ounces, allowing you to appreciate the flavors without overindulging. Additionally, serving temperature and decanting can enhance your overall enjoyment of red wine.

Online Wine Retailers

Top Online Wine Retailers

As the world of wine continues to grow and evolve, so too does the way we buy it. With a plethora of online retailers now available, finding your favorite reds has never been easier or more convenient.

Total Wine

Total Wine is one of the most renowned independent fine wine retailers in America, offering an expansive range of over 8,000 wines from different parts of the world. Their user-friendly website allows you to filter by grape variety, region, price range, and even food pairing suggestions.


Vivino boasts a unique approach to buying wine online through its innovative app-based platform. Users can scan labels or search for specific wines in their database containing millions of reviews from fellow enthusiasts worldwide – perfect for discovering new favorites based on personal preferences.


If you’re looking for a personalized experience when purchasing red wines online, Firstleaf might be just what you need. This subscription service offers customized recommendations tailored specifically to your taste profile after completing an initial quiz about your preferences.

With over two decades in business as an industry leader in e-commerce sales, offers an impressive selection of red wines from around the world. Their website features detailed information on each wine, including tasting notes and expert ratings to help guide your purchase.

WSJwine Discovery Club

For those who appreciate a curated approach to their wine buying experience, WSJwine Discovery Club is an excellent option. This subscription service delivers hand-selected cases of premium reds (and whites) right to your doorstep while also providing exclusive member benefits such as discounts and access to limited-release wines.

In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or just starting out in the world of red wine, these top online retailers offer something for everyone. Explore their selections today and discover new favorites that suit your taste buds perfectly.

In Summary: 

The world of wine has evolved with the growth of online retailers, making it easier and more convenient to find your favorite reds. Top online wine retailers like Total Wine, Vivino, Firstleaf,, and WSJwine Discovery Club offer a personalized experience tailored to all tastes and budgets through their user-friendly websites or app-based platforms.

Different Types of Wine Glasses

Different Types of Wine Glasses

Choosing the right wine glass is essential for enhancing your red wine experience. The shape and size of a wine glass can make an immense difference to the scent, flavor, and overall pleasure derived from your preferred reds. 

In this section, we will discuss various red wine glasses and why you would use them.

List of Red Wine Glasses:

  • Bordeaux Glass: For full-bodied red wines (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon).
  • Burgundy Glass: For delicate & aromatic red wines (e.g., Pinot Noir).
  • Oversized Wine Glass: For bold & complex aged wines (e.g., Barolo).
  • Tulip-shaped Wine Glass: For lighter fruity reds (e.g., Beaujolais Nouveau).

Bordeaux Glass

The Bordeaux glass, ideal for full-bodied reds with high tannins such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, allows ample space for aeration and its narrower rim concentrates aromas. Its tall bowl allows ample space for swirling to aerate the wine while its slightly narrower rim concentrates aromas towards your nose.

Burgundy Glass

A Burgundy glass has a wider bowl than a Bordeaux glass, making it ideal for more delicate and aromatic red wines like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. The larger surface area exposes more of the wine to air, allowing subtle nuances in aroma and flavor to develop fully.

Oversized Wine Glass

An oversized wine glass is perfect for bold, complex aged wines such as Barolo or Amarone. The extra-large bowl allows the wine to breathe and develop its full range of flavors while directing the aroma towards your nose.

Tulip-shaped Wine Glass

For lighter fruity reds like Beaujolais Nouveau or Lambrusco, a tulip-shaped wine glass is ideal. Its narrower rim helps retain freshness and fruitiness by limiting exposure to air.

Remember that using an appropriate wine glass can significantly enhance your enjoyment of red wines by showcasing their unique characteristics and complexities.

In Summary: 

Choosing the right wine glass is crucial for enhancing your red wine experience. Different types of glasses like Bordeaux, Burgundy, oversized and tulip-shaped are designed to bring out unique characteristics in different red wines. An appropriate wine glass can significantly impact the aroma, taste and overall enjoyment of your favorite reds by allowing subtle nuances in aroma and flavor to develop fully.

Top Wine Books

To further your understanding of red wine, reading some of the most acclaimed books on the subject is a great way to start. These books cover everything from tasting techniques and types of grapes to the history and culture surrounding this beloved beverage. 

Here are five must-reads for any aspiring oenophile:

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide is the perfect guide for anyone looking to take their wine knowledge to the next level. This hardcover edition includes more than 100 grapes and wines color-coded by style, a comprehensive wine region map, and helpful illustrations and infographics. With 320 pages of full-color content, this book is an essential resource for any budding oenophile.

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine is the perfect handbook for learning about different types of wines, their geographic origins, their labeling, and their suggested pairings. Written by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, this easy-to-use guide features detailed maps of wine regions, practical tips and tricks for serving wine, and methods for tasting wine and identifying flavors. With its unique info-graphic form and playful weekly articles, Wine Folly is the best place to start your wine education today.

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine
The Wine Bible

The Wine Bible

The Wine Bible, 3rd Edition is America’s bestselling wine book, now fully revised, updated, and in color! Written by award-winning wine expert Karen MacNeil, this comprehensive guide offers the ultimate education in wine. With new chapters on Great Britain, Croatia and Israel plus an expanded section on recommended bottles to try for each country and region, The Wine Bible is the perfect resource for both newcomers starting their wine journey and experienced connoisseurs alike

Wine A Tasting Course: From Grapes to Glass

Wine A Tasting Course: From Grapes to Glass by Marnie Old is a dynamic course in understanding wine through tasting and appreciation. It offers a visual tour of wine styles, explains big-picture concepts, and encourages readers to recognize the connections between wines. The structure reflects how people approach wine, with talking, tasting, and buying coming before exploring grape types and wine regions. Learn your sauvignon blanc from your chardonnay and your merlot from your grenache with this ultimate course for wine lovers!

Wine A Tasting Course
The Oxford Companion to Wine

The Oxford Companion to Wine

The Oxford Companion to Wine is the ultimate resource for anyone looking to learn more about the world of wine. Written by renowned wine expert Jancis Robinson, this comprehensive guide is packed with almost 4,000 entries on every topic related to wine, from grape types and regions to viticulture, growers, and the history of wine.

Ultimate Guide to Wine Serving Temperatures: Tips & TricksWith more than 60% new material since its last edition in 1994, this book is a must-have for any serious oenophile. It covers everything from the ancient world to present day production and consumption of wine, providing readers with an unparalleled level of knowledge and appreciation for the beverage. Whether you’re just starting out or already have a deep understanding of wine, The Oxford Companion to Wine will be an invaluable reference guide.

The first two titles on our list come from the creators of the popular website, Wine Folly, and both editions offer visually stunning guides that make learning about wine fun and accessible. In their magnum edition, you’ll find in-depth information on over 100 grape types and wine regions. The essential guide is great for those just starting out in the wine world, providing a comprehensive yet straightforward introduction.

The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is considered one of the most authoritative books on wine. This extensive tome covers everything from history and winemaking techniques to food pairings and regional profiles. It’s an excellent resource for those looking to deepen their understanding of all aspects of wine culture.

Marnie Old’s Wine a Tasting Course: From Grapes to Glass takes readers through an interactive journey that teaches them how to taste, describe, and enjoy wines like a pro. With its practical approach, this book is ideal for anyone wanting hands-on experience with tasting different red wines.

Last but not least, The Oxford Companion to Wine, edited by Jancis Robinson MW (Master of Wine) & Julia Harding MW, provides an encyclopedic reference covering every aspect of viticulture and oenology. It’s perfect for those seeking detailed information about specific topics or simply browsing through interesting facts about red wines around the world.

In Summary: 

Looking to expand your knowledge of red wine? Check out these top wine books, including Wine Folly’s visually stunning guides, The Wine Bible for a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of wine culture, Marnie Old’s practical approach to tasting different red wines in her book “Wine a Tasting Course,” and The Oxford Companion to Wine for an encyclopedic reference covering every aspect of viticulture and oenology.

Learn About Wine Online

Learning About Wine Online

If you’re keen to broaden your understanding of vino, there are numerous digital resources available that enable you to gain knowledge from the solace of your own abode. From beginner courses to advanced certifications, these top online wine classes offer something for everyone.


Coursera offers a variety of wine-related courses taught by experts in the field. One popular option is “Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis,” which teaches students how to identify and describe different wines using sensory analysis techniques. This course is perfect for beginners looking to improve their understanding and appreciation of various red wines.

WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust)

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) provides internationally recognized qualifications in wines, spirits, and sake. They offer both classroom-based and online courses ranging from Level 1 Awards up to Diploma level qualifications. WSET’s e-learning platform allows students worldwide access to their expert-led educational materials on all aspects of red wine varieties.


Udemy, an extensive online learning platform, features numerous affordable wine-focused courses that cater to varying levels of expertise. For example, “The Complete Wine Course” covers everything from grape types and winemaking processes to food pairing suggestions – ideal for those seeking comprehensive knowledge on red wines.

Vinology – The Science of Tasting Wine.

An innovative approach towards learning about red wines can be found at Vinology. This platform combines scientific principles with wine tasting techniques, helping students understand the underlying reasons behind different flavors and aromas in red wines. For those seeking to become experts in the field, Vinology’s online courses provide an excellent opportunity for advanced exploration of red wine appreciation.

Enrolling in one of these superior virtual wine classes can get you on the path to becoming a well-informed aficionado of red wines. For those seeking a more comprehensive understanding of wine, there are ample resources to further one’s knowledge and expertise.

In Summary: 

There are plenty of online resources available to help expand knowledge on red wine. Top online wine classes such as Coursera, WSET, Udemy and Vinology offer courses for beginners looking to improve their understanding and appreciation of various red wines or those seeking advanced certifications in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of red wine?

Red wine is a type of alcoholic beverage made from fermented dark-skinned grapes. The color comes from the grape skins left in contact with the juice during fermentation. This process imparts color, tannins, and flavors that distinguish red wines from other types.

What is special about red wine?

Red wine stands out for its rich flavors, complexity, and potential health benefits due to antioxidants like resveratrol found in grape skins. It can be aged longer than white wines, allowing it to develop unique characteristics over time. Additionally, a wide variety of styles are available depending on factors such as grape variety and region.

Is drinking red wine good for you?

Moderate consumption of red wine has been linked to certain health benefits in peer-reviewed studies. These include reduced risk of heart disease and stroke due to antioxidants present in grape skins. However, excessive alcohol intake may negate these benefits, so moderation remains key when consuming alcoholic beverages, including red wines.

What can you say about red wine?

Red wine offers an array of tastes ranging from fruity to earthy or spicy based on factors like grape variety, climate, and winemaking techniques used by producers. It pairs well with various foods because it complements different flavors rather than overpowering them. Red wines have been enjoyed for centuries across cultures and continue to be appreciated today.


In this article, we explored the different varieties of red wine, from bold Cabernet Sauvignon to light Pinot Noir. We also discussed the health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation and various accessories that can enhance your wine-drinking experience.

Red wine is a type of wine made from dark-colored grapes. The color of the wine can range from intense violet to brick red, depending on the type of grape used and the winemaking process. The taste of red wine can also vary widely, from dry and tannic to fruity and sweet.

One of the most popular types of red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, which is known for its bold flavor and high tannin content. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.

Drinking red wine in moderation has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. However, it’s important to remember that excessive alcohol consumption can have negative health effects.

When serving red wine, it’s important to use appropriate glasses for different types of wines. For example, a Bordeaux glass is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, while a Burgundy glass is better suited for Pinot Noir.

If you’re interested in purchasing red wine, there are many top online retailers to choose from. Some popular options include, Total Wine, and Drizly.

Overall, understanding what is red wine involves exploring its many facets – from taste and aroma to health benefits and cultural significance. With such a vast array of knowledge to be uncovered about red wine, it’s certain that there are always fresh insights and revelations waiting to be discovered!

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