Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Basic guide to red wines

To help you pick a wine you'll enjoy, we came up with a basic guide to wine types. We'll start with the red wines.

We profile each type of wine we carry, and we help you make sense of what it will taste like, what it goes well with and whether you might enjoy it. Each wine is described in these ways:

  • Level of sweetness. From really sweet to very dry.
  • Amount of body. Wines range from light body that is very easy to drink, through full body with lots of flavor, to very full body with intense flavors that can be a challenge!
  • Taste. Each variety has a one-word (ok, sometimes a two-word) summary. We chose words like floral, fresh, crisp, rich, luscious, fruity, smooth, and spicy to describe the wide range of flavors in wines. I even found little clip art pictures to help you imagine the flavors before you buy. (Ever try to find a picture that describes a taste? It ain't easy!) 
cherry fruits
Pinot Noir is fruity,
but not sweet
We'll start with the softest, easiest to drink reds, and go up from there.

Pinot Noir and Beaujolais:
  • Dry (not sweet)
  • Medium body, flavorful
  • Tastes "Fruity" like fresh fruit
  • Drink with turkey, fish, ham, roast beef
  • Serve lightly chilled

smooth like waves
Merlot feels smooth to taste
Merlot:
  • Dry (not sweet)
  • Full body, very flavorful
  • Tastes "Smooth, Soft Fruit" like it feels soft in your mouth
  • Drink with roasts and beef dishes
  • Serve at room temperature
Cabernet Sauvignon:
Squares inside of squares
Cabernet feels kind of square
 in your mouth
  • Dry (not sweet at all)
  • Full body, very flavorful
  • Tastes "Herbal, Square" (not smooth!) 
  • Drink with roasts and beef dishes
  • Serve at room temperature
Shiraz:
  • Very dry (not at all sweet)
  • Full body, intensely flavorful
  • Tastes "Big, Intense" with a powerful flavor
  • Drink with spicy dishes, peppery foods, spiced or marinated steak
  • Serve at room temperature 
elephant
Shiraz and Zinfandel
feel BIG and INTENSE
in your mouth.
Zinfandel:
  • Very dry (not at all sweet)
  • Full body, intensely flavorful
  • Tastes "Big, Intense" with a powerful flavor
  • Drink with spicy dishes, peppery foods, spiced or marinated steak
  • Serve at room temperature 
Red Wine Blends like Shiraz/Cabernet, and Cab/Merlot:
cloud
The big red blends
feel softer than the
Shiraz or Zinfandel alone.
  • Dry (not sweet)
  • Full body, very flavorful
  • Tastes "Softer" like it feels soft in your mouth, compared to Shiraz or Zinfandel
  • Drink with pizza, rich foods, peppery dishes, steak
  • Serve at room temperature
Next time, we'll talk about the burgundies, chillable red, red rose and other red wines. 

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