Red wine lovers: August 28th is National Red Wine Day. There are many different red wines made around the world— with more than a thousand varieties of grapes used to make wine, that’s no surprise.
Today, we’ll highlight all of the red wines widely available in the U.S. and give you “homework”: Plan to try a varietal you’ve never had before.
Varietal refers to the type of grape used in making wine. Examples of familiar names: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Zinfandel. In much of the world, wines are sold by their varietal names.
In France and other parts of the world, the wines are known by their place names. Thus:
In the Burgundy region of France, the Pinot Noir grape is used to make the wine, but the wine is known as Red Burgundy.
In the Bordeaux region of France, the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes are the primary grapes used to make the wine, but the wine is known as Bordeaux.
In the Rioja region of Spain, the wine is called Rioja but the grape is Tempranillo (among others).
Barolo is a commune in the Piedmont region of Italy. The wine is called Barolo, but the grape is Nebbiolo.
POPULAR RED VARIETAL GRAPES
Here are some red wine varietals you may find in stores under their varietal names. These grapes are grown worldwide, but we’ve included the original county of origin.
Barbera – Northern Italy
Cabernet Franc – France
Cabernet Sauvignon – France
Carménère – Chile
Grenache/Garnacha – Eastern Spain / Southern France
Malbec – France
Merlot – France
Nebbiolo – Italy
Pinot Noir – France
San Giovese – Italy
Syrah/Shiraz – France
Zinfandel – Croatia
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In addition to purchasing varietal wines, you can purchase wines from those grapes that are labeled by their place of origin. Examples:
Amarone della Valpolicella- Italy
Barolo/Barbaresco – Italy
Beaujolais – France
Bordeaux – France
Brunello di Montalcino – Italy
Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France
Chianti – Italy
Côtes du Rhône – France
Côte-Rôtie – France
Hermitage – France
Lambrusco – Italy
Meritage – California
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – Italy
Priorat – Spain
Red Burgundy – France
Rioja – Spain
Super Tuscan – Italy
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Italy
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Also try a sweet red wine, if you don’t already drink them. They can be made from any grapes, and are delicious dessert wines or aperitifs.
You have your homework assignment. Ready, set, go!
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