Red wines are made from black grapes and have a red tint. Most grapes have colourless juice, so to make red wine, the grape skins (which contain nearly all of the grapes' pigmentation) have to remain intact with the juice during all or part of the fermentation process. Tannins are also found in the grape skins, and are transferred into the wine while the skins are in contact with the juice. Tannins provide a dry, puckery sensation in the mouth and in the back of the throat. They help preserve the wine and allows most red wines to be aged longer than white wines.
In this collection, you will find:
World-renowned and exceptionally well-travelled, Cabernet Sauvignon is responsible for some of the world's finest wines, working either on its own or blended with other varieties. Cabernet grapes carry black cherry, blueberry and menthol flavours with medium acidity. The grapes can ripen more fully, leading to wines with softer tannins, heavier fruit profiles and higher alcohol. High-quality Cabernets are typically aged in oak barrels, having the wine's rich flavours marry with oak to develop a wide range of complex tastes.
Grenache is known for its berry flavours of bright strawberries, raspberries and notes of white pepper. If you don't hear its name that often, it's because Grenache is frequently a team player in red blended wines. Grenache wines have relatively low acidity, low tannins and high alcohol, so they don't require lengthy ageing.
Winemakers love Merlot grapes because they are easy to grow and quick to ripen. Casual wine drinkers appreciate them because these wines can be soft and approachable, with delicious dark fruit flavours. In Merlot blends, the grapes add a moderating influence, providing measured tannins, soft texture, medium acidity and medium alcohol. Merlot can also make complex, full-bodied and concentrated wines with grippy tannins and ageing potentials.
Pinot Noir is arguably the most charismatic of all grape varieties but also one of the hardest to get right (but winemakers and farmers endure these challenges because the final result, as you'll see and taste, is often very rewarding). It's hence responsible for some of the world's most sought-after wines. The best Pinot Noirs boasts delicate, sometimes sour, cherry and strawberry flavours with some spice, presenting medium to low acidity and relatively light tannins. Oaked versions may also have smoke, vanilla and toast flavours, which develop with age.
Zinfandel grapes thrive in warm climate regions and when fully ripe, they contain high amounts of sugar, which can be fermented to create a dry and fairly high alcohol wine, or be left in part as a trace of residual sweetness. Zinfandel wine made in the traditional fashion may be unoaked, easy-drinking and jammy, or oak-aged and full-bodied. Old-vine versions can be particularly intense and rich, expect flavours of black fruits, spice and all.