You don’t have to be a connoisseur of red wine to enjoy a glass of it every now and again. It can be difficult to differentiate between the varying types of red wines, however. Which red wine is the darkest? Which one is the driest? Which red wine should I enjoy with a steak dinner? Finding the best red wine food pairings can be hard. Here we list 6 different types of red wines and the foods they pair the best with, so that the next time you’re out with friends or on a date, you can show off your red wine knowledge.
If you’re new to the world of red wine, it’s highly suggested that you start with a nice Merlot. Merlot is positioned in the middle of the red wine spectrum and has a medium body and color. This red wine has notes of red fruits such as cherries and finishes off very smoothly. The great thing about this wine is that it pairs with just about any food you can think of. Being a medium-bodied wine in the middle of the red wine spectrum gives Merlot its versatility. You can pair Merlot with roasted veggies, including tomatoes, poultry such as turkey or duck, lightly-spiced dark meats, and pasta sauces.
Pinot Noir is the most popular light-bodied red wine there is. This red wine pairs well with most dishes because of its rich fruit profile and complexity. You can taste hints of red fruits like strawberries and raspberries, as well as earthy flavors and spices in this wine. It’s high acidity also makes it perfect for pairing with highly acidic foods and sauces. We suggest you try a Pinot Noir with an earthy dish that may include mushrooms or truffles, and meat ranging from duck and chicken to pork and veal, and even salmon.
Zinfandels are very versatile. You can find this type of wine as a red, pink, or white. Red Zinfandels are light-bodied but have a bold taste thanks to their moderate tannins and high acidic levels. While their color is lighter than that of a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, a red Zinfandel will have a rather high alcohol content level. This dry wine has flavors of berries and jam as well as hot pepper, usually starting out sweet and followed by a tobacco-like smoky finish. We suggest pairing this wine with a barbecue or curry dish. You can pair this wine with most meats and bold flavors.
This medium to full-bodied wine is dry, with a dark, almost inky, purple color. Malbec is popularly grown in Argentina and has flavors of plum and blackberries. The rich and elegant textures in this wine make it perfect for pairing with leaner red meats and lighter cuts such as turkey and pork. Malbec pairs fabulously with dry cheeses, like blue cheese, and is also delicious with spicy and sweet flavors like curry and barbecue.
If you’re a fan of red wine, you’ll probably enjoy a nice Cabernet Sauvignon from time to time. Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark full-bodied red wine typically known for being the most popular red wine there is. The flavors in this wine vary from plum and black cherry to hints of vanilla, black pepper, and tobacco. The tannins are very high in Cabernet Sauvignon which, mixed with its rich flavors, makes this wine perfect for pairing with thick steaks or chops. This is the perfect red wine to pair with juicy red meat and dishes with heavy flavor.
Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is one of the darkest, full-bodied red wines available. Also having similar tastes of blackberries and black cherries, as well as notes of chocolate and spice, make Syrah a versatile wine. You can pair Syrah with roasted, grilled or smoked meats such as veal, beef, and duck. It’s even a great match with barbecue and really compliments just about any type of game. If you’re in the mood for hamburgers, this is also a tasty wine choice to match.
Here at The Grill, we offer an extensive list of wine, from white to red, options are almost endless. Hopefully, this list helps steer you in the right direction for making good red wine-food pairings, but if you still need a little help, our knowledgeable staff can help. It’s also important to remember to pick wine options that you enjoy. Sometimes, just because a particular wine pairs better with your meal, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll love it. Use your newfound knowledge to make decisions based off of your preferences and don’t be afraid to try something new! The Grill is proud to offer suggestions and wants you to enjoy their food just as much as they do! Connect with The Grill at Quail Corners today or request a reservation to experience Reno fine dining!