There are many different kinds of wine, and people like each one for different reasons. Red wines are popular for various reasons including their taste, aroma, and health benefits. Yup, health benefits! Below, you will learn the various health benefits of red wine as well as the most popular types of red wine!
Health Benefits of the most popular types of red wine
Red wines especially contain antioxidants. Most specifically, they contain polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to improve heart function and blood pressure reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
So, if you need yet another reason to drink red wine, here are 5 health reasons red wine is good for you. You’re welcome.
- According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, red wines can help prevent cavities.
- In 80 studies published in the Journal for Diseases, researchers found that the antioxidant called flavonoids could help with allergies.
- In a study from 2017, researchers found that red wine may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
- If you stick to 5-7 glasses of wine per week, red wine could reduce your risk of depression.
- In a study published by the Journal of Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that winos had better blood sugar control and those who drank red wine had lower cholesterol levels, too.
Although red wine has its health benefits, your alcohol intake must still be in moderation to get them.
Related: Get the most out of your favorite reds with our guide to the best aerators for wine!
The Most Popular Types of Red Wine
If you are convinced that red wine may be for you, it’s time to start your wine education and get a handle on the most popular types of red wines! Here’s our list of favorites, what you should drink them with, and the taste. We are covering the grapes themselves today. There are two categories of famous wines, those known for the grape varietal and those that are classic blends, known by the blend name. What follow are specific grape varietals, with mentions of famous blends using them.
#1 Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet in general is a popular wine, but Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most popular varieties, both for plantings and consumption. (That sounds funny, but some wines take more hectares of grapes to make a lower volume.) Cabernet Sauvignon is usually oaked, which gives it its full bodied taste. Cabs can be aged for many, many years and generally see 2 years in barrels before they are sold, with premium Cabs behind barrel aged for longer.
Famously, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are blended in Bordeaux (potentially along with Pertit Verdot, Malbec or Cabernet Franc, though usually in very small proportions, if any). Cabernet is a “black fruit” flavor profile wine, known for blackberry, black plum, black cherry, and boysenberry. Cab Sauv can also have eucalyptus and green bell pepper notes, most common in Chilean wines, or when Cab Sauv has not had a chance to fully ripen. With age it has a rich leather, toffee and coffee quality.
Although Cabernet Sauvignon is best with red meats, as a higher tannin wine, you’ll often want to sip it with food, not on its own. It is made almost everywhere that red wine grapes will grow and is the most planted grape in the world. It is considered the finest red wines in Australia, California (hello Napa cabs), and Chile. Bordeaux wines are amongst the most well-known and revered wines in the world, though Cabernets are grown elsewhere in France as well.
Merlot is by far a global favorite and one of the most popular of all red wines. It is easy to drink and has a softness about it that makes it easy for new wine drinkers to appreciate. Typical flavors are “red,” including red cherry, red plums, red currant and herbal flavors, though there are also some hints of blue and black fruits, like blueberry and blackberry.
You will find Merlot being made in Italy, Romania, California, Washington State, Chile, and Australia. It is the fourth most common grape variety throughout the world. Because it is so versatile, it works well with many food pairings.
Syrah may also be spelled Shiraz. They are just two names for the same wine, with the difference generally being in the style of how the wine was made and the climate where the grapes grew. This wine is popular for its flavors of wild black fruit and overtones of black pepper, spice, and roasting meat. Climate is extremely influential in how a wine tastes. As the weather gets warmer, the same fruit flavors are present but they go from fresh picked blackberries, for example, to stewed and jammy tasting blackberries. The more “cooked” the fruit flavors, the more likely the wine came from somewhere very hot, like Australia or parts of California.
With the fruit sensations and warm alcohol, this wine is great for its health benefits and antioxidants.
You will find this wine comes from California, Australia, and France’s Rhone Valley. It pairs exquisitely with steak, beef, wild game, and stews. The French Syrahs will have a more delicate flavor profile, with light black pepper notes.
Malbec is another very popular wine, grown in many locales. It is typically an easy-drinking wine that tastes like red plums, blueberry, cherry, and spice. Malbec is also often blended with other wines to make it a Bordeaux style wine.
Malbec pairs well with all kinds of meat based meals, as it has a medium tannin structure. Argentina is very famous for producing Malbec wines and they make an excellent and reliable summer BBQ wine. Like several grape varietals, Malbec goes by more than one name. It is known as côt in the Loire Valley, and auxerrios in Cahors. You can also find Malbec in Chile, Australia, and cooler regions of California.
#5 Pinot Noir
Although Pinot Noir grapes can be finicky and troublesome, Pinot Noir can be one of the greatest wines you have ever had. The flavor and aroma can be fruity, earthy, and woodsy depending where and how the grapes were grown. Pinot Noir is not blended with other grapes.
Known as the heart-break-grape for wine makers, it produces a delicate and delicious wine. Pinot Noir tastes of strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and cotton candy, amongst others, developing mushroom, tobacco leaf and gun smoke flavors as it ages. A good Pinot has a very long finish.
Pinot Noir is lighter in color than Cabernet or Merlot, and the alcohol content is relatively higher. So, you should use caution when drinking Pinot Noir. 4-7 glasses may have health benefits with other red wines, but this red wine you should cut down to 3-6 glasses.
This wine pairs nicely with salmon, chicken, lamb, and Japanese dishes like sushi. It is made in the great reds of Burgundy (also known as Bourgogne, in French) from France, Austria, California, Oregon, and New Zealand. Oregon Pinot Noirs tend to have lower acid levels than other locales.
Lovers of this wine often call it Zin. Zinfandel makes a rich, dark wine that is high in alcohol, but also high in antioxidants. This wine has a blackberry or raspberry aroma and flavor with a bit of a spicy or tarry character.
As one of the most versatile wines, it pairs well with various foods such as tomato-sauce, pasta, pizza, grilled cheese, and barbecued meats. Zinfandel is mainly found in California and was introduced to Italy in the 18th century.
Sangiovese is another popular red wine. It has a primary style that is medium-bodied with a fresh flavor, featuring red currant, roasted tomato, plum and even a hint of clay pot.
Sangiovese is a great choice to pair with Italian and other Mediterranean style cuisine. It is made in the Chiantis of Italy’s Tuscany region and California. Many Italian wine regions produce blends, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and several others are Sangiovese dominant blends.
Nebbiolo might be a grape you’ve never heard of before, because it is primarily found in Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo d’Alba and other lesser-known Italian blends.
Nebbiolo has a slight floral note with rose flavors, cherry, leather, cured meat and tobacco leaf. It’s a full bodied, deep dark and mysterious wine, with classic Italian high acidity and high tannin. This is not a patio pounder wine, you’ll want to pair it with hearty, high acid dishes like steak and tomato sauced pastas.
There you have it; the most popular red wines and their tastes. Keep in mind that you should always drink in moderation even though red wines do have many health benefits. Sticking to only 5-7 glasses per week is the most ideal way to drink red wines. Pair them with dinner or drink a glass before bed.
Need some wine in a hurry? Check out our guide to the best wines you can buy at the gas station!
What is your favorite red wine? Share it in the comments below along with why you like it! We would love to know all about your tasting preferences.