Cabernet Sauvignon (often referred to as the king of red grapes) is considered by many to be the most important grape variety due to its ability to grow worldwide in a wide range of climates and regions (including France, Italy, Chile, California, South Africa and Spain).
The taste profile of ‘Cab’ tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins (a natural preservative), a noticeable acidity, and dark fruit flavors and savory tastes from black pepper to bell pepper. The classic pairing with Cabernet is lamb, though it goes well with almost any meat—pork, beef, venison, even rabbit.
Syrah, also known as Shiraz in Australia, is responsible for some of the darkest, most full-bodied red wines in the world. While Syrah grapes are planted all over the world, more Syrah is planted in France, than in any other country.
The Syrah grape itself is thick-skinned and very dark (almost black). Typical flavors include blackberries, black cherries, flowers, plums, spice, chocolate, licorice, blueberry, pepper and truffles.
This full-bodied wine pairs well with all types of grilled, roasted or smoked meat dishes like; duck, beef, veal, sausage and chicken dishes. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah.
Pinot Noir is the prized red wine grape of Burgundy, France (where it was exclusively grown for years) that has now been adopted in wine regions all over the world including: Germany, Italy, Chile, South Africa, Australia, California, Oregon and New Zealand.
The skin of the Pinot Noir grape is relatively thin, making it rather difficult for wine production. The taste profile of Pinot is light to medium body with a fragrance resembling black cherry, raspberry, or plum.
The smooth, easy to drink nature of Pinot Noir allows it to pair well with white meats like fish, veal, pork and chicken.
Sangiovese, a red Italian wine grape variety, is the principal grape of Tuscany, Italy, where it is the main component in Chianti (75+%). The hot, dry climate, which Tuscany provides, is where sangiovese thrives. Possessing thin skins, the sangiovese grape has a tendency to rot in dampness.
Typical flavors include cherry, plum, dried roses, smoke, and tobacco. High in tannins and acidity, this medium-bodied wine pairs well with chicken, red meat, fish, lamb, pork, pastas, stews or well-aged cheeses.
Malbec has its origins in the French Bordeaux region, though today Argentina leads production with over 75% of all the acres of Malbec in the world. The Malbec grape is bold, yet thin-skinned, which requires a substantial amount of sun and heat to mature.
Typical flavors of this full-bodied wine include: Black cherry, Spice, Pomegranate, Plum, Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry. Possessing medium levels of tannins and acidity, the easy to drink nature of Malbec makes it pair well with beef, veal, chicken, pork, sausage, braised or stewed dishes, spicy cuisine, cured meats and dry cheeses.