Walking into a wine shop or a tasting room in search of a red wine can be a dizzying experience, as you may not be aware that so many different types of red wine are available. If you are new to wine, you may want to start out by sticking to the most popular styles. It should be noted, though, that many different grape varieties are used in the production of these wines, so there are going to be a lot of different flavors. Here are the most popular red wine styles right now:

 

CABERNET SAUVIGNON



The grapes for this most popular of red wines are grown in warmer climates, which is why you will find Cabs from places as far flung as California to Australia, and all points in between. These wines tend to be high in tannin, and are generally medium to full-bodied. The overwhelming flavor and aroma that you will find with a Cabernet Sauvignon is blackcurrants, although the grapes are often blended with other styles to deliver a wine that is less tannic.

 

MERLOT



Considered by some to be an easier drinking wine than Cabernet Sauvignon, mainly because it has fewer tannins. The aromas and flavors run the gamut from plums to chocolate, and sometimes even a suggestion of tea leaves. The alcohol content of merlot is usually on the higher side, and it is a wine variety that is considered both simple and affordable.

 

PINOT NOIR


 

One of the more challenging grapes out there, but one that delivers a stunning wine when properly done. Pinot Noir originated in Burgundy, France, but is now commonly made in the western regions of the US, as well as New Zealand, Australia, and Chile. While it is a popular red wine, it is not as plentiful as the previously mentioned types, simply because a very specific soil and climate is required to row the grapes. Higher in alcohol than the other two, but also a little lighter, with fruity or earthy tastes and aromas the most common.

 

SYRAH/SHIRAZ


 

The origins of this red wine can be traced back to the Rhone Valley in France, but it has since branches out to Italy, Spain, and the western states in the US. There are several different styles of Shiraz, which means a lot of different flavor profiles. Generally speaking, those flavors are fruity, and make up a delicious medium-bodied wine.

 

ZINFANDEL


 

The origins of Zinfandel grape are thought to go back to a small part of Croatia in Europe, but this is now a wine that is very much at home in California. Zinfandel wines are rich and dark, high in alcohol, and have medium tannin levels. Blackberry and raspberry are the most common flavors found, but that can vary depending on the age of the Zinfandel, with the younger varieties made to be a little lighter. White Zinfandel is more common than the red, but make no mistake about it, this is a red grape.

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