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What are the different red wine types and which one should you choose to drink?

Do you love wine? Do you want to learn about the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz? Or what your palate feels like after drinking a merlot or grenache? If so, this blog post is for you! In it, we'll explore four of the most popular Australian red wine types and give you a little information on each one. So, whether you're a wine novice or an expert, keep reading to learn more.

Shiraz grapes on a vine 

Shiraz.

Shiraz is a type of red wine that originates from the Syrah grape. The only difference between a Syrah and shiraz is that wine producers in cooler regions like France call it Syrah and warmer regions like Australia call it Shiraz.

The shiraz grape is a dark-skinned variety that is known for its rich, full-bodied flavours. This makes the Shiraz a much darker wine with a purple hue when compared to the other drops. They often have notes of blackberry, blueberry, and spice. Shiraz wines can be paired with food such as grilled meats, rich stews, and strong cheeses.

Being a higher alcohol content wine at around 15%, there is around 125 calories in a glass of Shiraz or 625 calories in a 750ml bottle.

So, if you enjoy a full-bodied, stronger wine then a Shiraz is perfect for you.

You may also enjoy reading Beer, Wine, and Spirits: Find out the surprising effects of each type of alcohol on your health.

Bottle and glass of beresford cabernet sauvignon on table with plate of food

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet sauvignon or cab sav’s is a red wine apparently accidentally discovered from a blend of cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc in France back in the 17th Century. This popular wine is made in many regions of the world, including France, Italy, Chile, and Australia.  Cab sav’s are typically dry, with high levels of tannins, acidity and an alcohol level of around 14.5%.

Tannins? Tannins are derived from the skin, stems and seeds of the grapes used to make the wine. Therefore, the aging process of a red wine is important because the tannins become less prominent with age.

Back to the Cab Sav, many people who drink Cabernet Sauvignon commonly say they detect green pepper in the wine, likewise tobacco, cassis, and dark fruits like cherries, as well as a note of vanilla from the wine's age in oak barrels. This drop is versatile and can be paired with a variety of foods, including red meat, pasta, and cheese.  But all Cab Savs may vary depending on the wine region and wine making process.

 glasses of red wine with a blank bottle

Merlot

The merlot grape is native to Bordeaux, France, and the name "merlot" comes from the French word for blackbird.  Merlot red wine is characterized by its soft, round, and fruity flavour.  It is typically a medium-bodied wine because of its amount of tannins and its colour is slightly lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon.

The merlot grape has a high sugar content, which makes it a very ripe grape. This results in a merlot red wine that has high levels of alcohol and a lower level of acidity. Merlots are very versatile. Its fruitiness is easy-to-drink nature makes it pair well with both red and white meats like chicken and pork but it’s still delightful to drink with a homemade pasta, burger or pizza on any given night.

Merlot red wine is a good choice for people who are new to drinking red wine because it is not as intense as other types of red wine. It is also a cheaper alternative that is less complex than its other variety counterparts

 Bottle of Beresford Grenache on a table with food

Grenache

The Grenache variety which originated in the Rhone Valley in France arrived in Australia in 1832 and has really taken off thanks to come iconic wine regions like the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Clare Valley.  The grenache grape is typically light in colour and has a high sugar content, which makes it ideal for making sweet wines. This type of wine is known for its fruity flavour and soft mouthfeel.

Common fruit notes include raspberry, strawberry, and cherry. Grenaches can also have earthy aromas and flavours, such as tobacco and leather. In terms of tannins, grenaches are typically medium-bodied with moderate tannins. This makes them relatively easy to drink and food-friendly.

The Grenache drop is an excellent choice for drinking on its own or with food. It pairs well with grilled meats and roasted vegetables. It is a versatile type of wine that can be enjoyed by all types of wine drinkers. Whether you are a fan of sweet or dry wines, a grenache is sure to please your palate.

 Red wine colour intensity between different wine types

So, which one should you drink? Unfortunately the answer is everyone’s taste buds and preferences are different.  Also keep in mind that there are many more other varieties out there and not only the four that we’ve looked at now. But if you’re new to wine then a merlot or grenache might be a good starting point as its not as strong as a cab sav or shiraz.  Shiraz is a bold and intense red wine and is probably more suited to a seasoned drinker and the Cabernet sauvignon is a classic choice that most people would enjoy. But if you’re still undecided, try pairing the intensity of the wine variety with the intensity of the flavour in the food you’re eating.

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