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Beginner’s Guide to Red Wine

by | Mar 9, 2021 | Blog

Navigating the world of wine can be intimidating, especially for newcomers. There are many types of wine, so to make it a little easier here’s a beginner’s guide to red wine.

Maybe you enjoy wine for its health benefits (keto-friendly, antioxidants) or you simply just love a good Pinot Noir. Whatever takes your fancy, the struggle with choosing and discovering wines that you like can be a struggle. This can be particularly true with red wines, which can be very diverse.

When it comes to being asked about wines you like, it can quickly feel like every answer will be scrutinised. The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s just about learning what wines you like and identifying why you like them. Then you’ll be able to use this knowledge to find more wines that’ll suit your tastes.

To get you started, here are 4 popular types that all offer something unique.

Our Guide to Red Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon

The first in our beginner’s guide to red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the most popular red wines out there, Cabernet Sauvignon is enjoyed all over the world. Being a wine that is grown in many different regions, it can be hard to narrow down a flavour profile for it. Commonly it features dark berries and hints of black pepper and liquorice. Its popularity is definitely well-earned.

Common Flavours: blackcurrants, liquorice, tobacco leaf, cassis, plums, spice

Food Pairings: Without a doubt, Cabernet Sauvignon is an ideal pairing for a steak dinner. Typically, it goes with most fatty red meats. You should try it alongside a gourmet burger, ribs or lamb chops.

Our Cabernet Picks: Ca del Lago Cabernet Sauvignon, Vistana Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, Gable View Cabernet Sauvignon



The next suggestion in our beginner’s guide to red wine, Merlot is certainly one of our favourites. It is loved for its stand-out black cherry flavours with supple tannins and chocolatey finishes.

It is a medium-bodied wine compared to other reds, and its soft finish is one of its well-known characteristics. The flavour of Merlot will change based on where it is produced.

If it is produced in cool climate regions such as France, Italy or Chile, it’ll be more structured, have a higher presence of tannins and offer more earthy flavours. Merlot that is produced in warmer climates such as California, Australia and Argentina will be more fruit-forward and the presence of tannins is more subtle.

Common Flavours: red cherry, plum, chocolate, graphite, dried herbs and vanilla

Food Pairings: Merlot will commonly pair well with a lot of foods. In general, it is a great accompaniment to chicken and other light meats.

Our Merlot Picks: Pais de Poetas Merlot, Running Duck Merlot, La Girouette Merlot


Pinot Noir

A highly prized grape, Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes types in the world. It is known for its subtle flavours and light body. Depending on where it is grown, its dominant flavours can differ. For example, wines produced in France will tend to be floral with earthy notes. Pinot Noir made in the United States of America are fruitier with prominent berry aromas.

Common Flavours: cranberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, vanilla, liquorice and tobacco

Food Pairings: Pinot Noir is a versatile wine to pair with food. It goes particularly well with with duck, chicken, pork, and mushrooms.

Our Pinot Noir Picks: Santa Carolina Reserve Pinot Noir, Honu Pinot Noir, La Girouette Pinot Noir



The last suggestion in our beginner’s guide to red wine, Tempranillo is a primarily Spanish grape variety. It typically features fruity and slightly spiced flavours and it often categorised as either medium-bodied or full-bodied.

Spanish tempranillo offers a balance of cherries and leather and the finer the wine the more balance there is between earthy and fruity notes. Tempranillo that is produced in regions such as Argentina, Mexico and the United States generally offers fruitier flavours including cherries and tomatoes with less earthy notes.

Common Flavours: cherry, plum, tomato, fig, cedar, tobacco and leather

Food Pairings: Tempranillo is an easy wine to pair with a variety of foods due to the earthy notes that it features. It is particularly good with grilled meats and vegetables. It also pairs well with corn-based dishes and Mexican foods.

Our Tempranillo Picks: Tapas Tempranillo, Santiago Rioja Tempranillo


We hope that you have found our beginner’s guide to red wine helpful. If you’d like some advice on which wines to try or what might be most suited to your palate, feel free to get in touch and we’d be more than happy to help!