How do I choose a red?

Posted by Carolyn on 7th Sep 2015

There are a few varieties of grapes grown worldwide that we are all familiar with such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot, but in truth there are thousands of wine varieties in the world. Unfortunately many barely make it to our local bottle shops in Australia. At Beyond The Label we aim to extend the scope of wine styles available to you and enliven your sensory experience by exposing you to as many different flavours as possible.

I’m going to run through a few of the more common varieties consumed over the coming weeks and provide some alternatives if you prefer a particular style of wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon, the most popular wine variety in the world is a descendant of cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc. It is a full-bodied wine with dark fruit flavours, prominent tannins (dryness/bitterness) and long lasting peppery finish.

Some alternatives:

1. Malbec

Origin: Argentina, originated in France.

Style: Medium to full bodied

Colour: Dark red with a purple hue

Flavours: Black cherry, pomegranate, plum, berries

Aroma: Cocoa, milk chocolate, coffee, molasses, leather, tobacco

Tannin: Medium

Acidity: Medium


2. Sangiovese/Chianti

Chianti is predominantly produced from the Sangiovese grape.

Origin: Tuscany and central Italy.

Style: Dry, light to medium bodied

Colour: Ruby red with flashes of burnt orange

Flavour: Cherries, oregano, salami, aged balsamic, espresso and sweet tobacco.

Aroma: Cherries, not as aromatic as cabernet sauvignon

Tannin: Medium

Acidity: High

3. Bordeaux wine varieties:

Blends of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The two varieties we have in store at the moment are cabernet sauvignon and merlot blends:

Chateau Le Bourdieu $42

Origin: Medoc, northern Bordeaux

Style: Medium to full bodied

Flavour: Dark berries, oak, dark chocolate, mocha, toast

Aroma: Blackcurrant, herbs, cinnamon, earth, plum

Tannin: Ripe

Acidity: Moderate to low

Chateau Tour Le Pin $25

Origin: Le Pin, a tiny vineyard east of Pomerol. It’s the smallest wine producing area of Bordeaux.

Style: Medium to full bodied

Flavour: Soft, silky balance of plum and cherry, wood

Aroma: Berries, peppercorn, oak, vanilla, smoke

Tannin: Soft

Acidity: Balanced

That’s all for now.

Hopefully that’s given you some scope if you’re looking to try something different.

Happy drinking!

- Carolyn