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Red Grapes
Varietal Origin Body/Color Aroma Taste/Style General Pair with
Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux, France--left bank; California Medium to full/ Deep blue purple Fruit: Blackberry, plum, Oak, Cedar, Smoke, Spice, Chocolate Fruit, oak, pepper / High tannins, complex, high acid This grape yields many different styles from easy to drink to complex; The most important grape in Bordeaux; high tannins make for wonderful aging   Herbs/spice:
    •Thyme, Italian Parsley, Bay leaf, Rosemary/nutmeg
    •Aged cheddar

    •Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Gamay Burgundy region, France Light/purple Cherry, plum Grapey; easy drinking style, little to no tannins, drink while young This grape is used to make the popular French Beaujolais, Nouveau is bottled and on the shelves one month after harvesting; sold before Thanksgiving- drink young; a preview of the wine to come Very food friendly

    •Traditional roasted turkey

    •Turkey sandwiches

Malbec Argentina Medium/deep, rich red color Plum, Blackberry Dark Fruit, honey, spice/ complex, supple tannins, medium acidity This grape is often blended with other grapes, for example used in Bordeaux style wines     •Rib-Eye Steak with a Western Dry Rub

    •Argentine Meat Empanadas

    •Brazilian Feijoada (pronounced fay-zwah-da)

Merlot Bordeaux, France- right bank; California Medium to full/ Deep red Fruit: Cherry, Raspberry Oak, cedar, smoke, pepper, coffee Fruit, oak/ Medium tannins, elegant, medium acidity Currently the most popular red wine in the world. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, it yields many different styles   Herb/spice:
    •Basil, Italian Parsley, Mint, Thyme, horseradish /nutmeg
    •Aged cheddar, Parmesan

    •Marinated Beef Stew

    •Five Herb Stuffed Meatloaf

Pinot Noir Burgundy, France; California; Oregon Light to full depending on where the grape is grown/ Transparent ruby Fruit: Cherry, Raspberry, Oak, vanilla, spice, earth, herb Great fruit flavor, earth, oak/ Fruit forward, velvety, easy to drink. Light tannins medium to high acidity This grape does best in cool climates and is one of the only two red grapes permitted to be grown in the Burgundy region (the other is Gamay); Some of my favorites come from Willamette Valley Oregon and Southern coastal area of California   Herb/spice:
    •Thyme, fennel, basil, Italian Parsley/cinnamon
    •Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina

    •Pork Crown Roast with sausage and sage dressing

    •Wild Mushroom and Rice soup

    •Grilled Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms with Tomato Basil Relish

For a treat, serve
    •Recipe: Beef Bourguignonwith a French Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon

Syrah/Shiraz Northern Rhone, France; Australia; California Medium to full body/Deep reddish purple Fruit: Plum, Blackcurrant, Oak, spice, pepper, chocolate Dark fruits, pepper and unique spice/ concentrated style, easy to drink
Medium tannins, medium acidity
This grape is known as Shiraz in Australia where it is their most popular red grape   Herb/spice:
    •Thyme, Tarragon, Basil/black pepper

    •Peppercorn sauce (with your favorite beef)

    •Blueberry Barbeque Sauce with Pan Seared Pork Chops

Zinfandel California Medium to full body/ Ruby red Cherry, Blackberry, plum Oak, spice, coffee Black and red fruit, spice, licorice/ California produces 3 styles: light, medium and full Firm tannins, medium acidity Known as Primitivo In Italy   Herb/spice:
    •Basil, thyme, Italian parsley, bay leaf and fennel
    •Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, Dry Jack

    •Beef Brisket with Memphis Dry Rub

    •Cheese Stuffed Grilled Burgers

Red Grapes: Italy and Spain Varietals
Varietal Origin Body/Color Aroma Taste/Style General Pair with
Barbera Piedmont region of Italy Medium- to full bodied Cherry, raspberry Fruit flavors/ soft tannins, high, crisp acid When aged this grape produces a bold wine, but without oak it can be a very simple to drink wine     •Sundried Tomato Risotto

    •Herb Roasted Lamb Chops

Sangiovese Tuscany & Umbria region of Italy Medium/ light reddish to dark cherry Cherry Fruit/ high acid, soft to ripe tannins This grape is the principal grape variety of Chianti and is great with Italian pasta   Herb/spice:
    • Basil, Thyme, Bay leaf, fennel
    •Asiago, Parmesan

    •Italian Meatballs with Marinara

    •Italian Sausage Casserole

Nebbiolo Piedmont region of Italy Barolo region produces Barolo wine. Barbaresco region produces Barbaresco wine Barolo- full Barbaresco- light to medium style / brick red Smoky, woody Earthy, tar, rose Barolo has a heavy style with rich tannins Barbaresco has a light style with little tannins Barolo- must be aged at least 2 years in either oak or chestnut; Barbaresco is not required to age   Herb/spice:
    • Basil, Oregano, parsley
    •well aged cheese, Parmesan and Asiago

    •Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Parmesan Croutons

    •Italian Stuffed Eggplant

Tempranillo Spain Full/ ruby red Cherry, Strawberry, spice leather and earth Red fruits/ Firm tannins, light to complex style Many think that Rioja is the varietal but it is actually a region in Spain where this grape is grown and it is quite popular   Herb/spice:
    • bay leaves, thyme, rosemary
    • sheep and Spanish cheeses, most popular Manchego

    •Traditional Roasted Turkey

    •Roasted Rosemary & Sage Chicken