Great Red Wines

By: Fiona Muller


Red wine is a timeless drink. It can evoke pictures of different scenes in different countries and always represents some kind of passion. Red wine is also of course, used in Holy Communion in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and hence, has a sense of mysticism attached to it.

Think of red wine in France and you think of cafés with tables outside. Glamorous women, sipping at glasses of the red nectar and discussing politics and art with strange bearded men.

Red wine in Italy is also glamorous but also more functional. You think of restaurants, packed with families, all with a glass of red wine. Eating together and discussing the events of the day with a passion that can only ever be felt in Italy.

In Spain, red wine evokes the tapas bars. A glass of wine and a small plate of nibbles with older men, sat at the bar alone whilst other groups sit at tables around it.

When it comes to red wine, it can be confusing as to what kind of wine is right for you. There is such a wide variety of grape types that go into wine production that you can find yourself bewildered when faced with the options.

To optimize the experience, red wines need time to breathe once opened before serving. They do not need to be chilled (but can be if you so desire), and they go well with strong flavours and dark meats.

There are a large range of grapes that go into red wine production and it can take some time to get to know the ones that you prefer. The obviously classic varieties are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

The wines you see on your local wine merchant’s shelves can sometimes be confusing. Some labels feature the name of the grape and some, the area that the wine is made in.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz are all the names of the grapes used to make the wine. Burgundy is a region of France; most of the wines that are made here are made from the Pinot Noir grape. Chianti is a region of Italy and most of wine that we call Chianti is made from the Sangiovese grape. Rioja is a region of Spain and most of the wine made from this region is made from the Tempranillo grape.

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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years and about great red wines. Whatever your choice of red wine there is a great range at laithwaites.co.uk

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