From Light to Bold: Choosing the Perfect Red Wine
When it’s time to reach for a glass of red wine, which is often during the winter months, the huge variety of flavors may leave enthusiasts with some tough choices to make. Whether you’re looking for something light and refreshing or bold and full-bodied, New Castle Liquors offers great wines for any occasion. Read on for information about several of the most popular varieties of red wine, and then pick up a bottle or two for yourself!
One of the most difficult wines to produce, this light-bodied red is a favorite of many wine drinkers. Look for hints of sweet black cherries and ripe berries in varieties from California and Oregon. A traditional Pinot Noir from Burgundy is likely to be much earthier—less fruit, more minerals. Try pairing it with poultry, lamb, venison or spiced Asian and eastern Mediterranean dishes.
Try: Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir, France; Meiomi Pinot Noir, Coastal California; Belle Pente Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
This classic Italian wine is one of the most popular reds in America. Light and dry, it is made primarily with the Sangiovese grape and derives its name from the region of Tuscany in which it is produced. Consider trying a Chianti Classico, which is considered more refined and is produced with grapes from only the best vineyards. It of course pairs well with Italian food but is quite versatile with other cuisine.
Try: Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico; Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico
Expect hints of dark fruit like blueberries, plums, cherries and blackberries in this smooth, medium-bodied red wine. Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, it is also quite delicious on its own. Try it with beef, lamb or meaty fish like salmon or tuna.
Try: The Velvet Devil Merlot, Washington State; Oberon Merlot, Napa Valley; Two Rivers Merlot, Palisade, Colorado
Like Merlot, medium-bodied Zinfandel wines are bursting with dark fruit flavors and sometimes pepper. Many of these powerful, spicy wines are produced in California, though the grape originated in Croatia. Try it with Mexican food, barbecue or anything on the grill.
Try: 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel, Mendocino County, California; Rombauer Zinfandel, Napa, California; OZV Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California
This Spanish classic ranges from medium- to full-bodied and offers an intense balance between cherries and more earthy flavors. Its name comes from the Spanish word for early, referencing the fact that its grapes ripen several weeks earlier in the season than most others. For more intense flavors, consider an oaked variety. Try it with barbecue, Spanish cuisine, or tomato-based dishes like lasagna or pizza.
Try: Faustino VII Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain; Alfred Eames Tempranillo, Paonia, Colorado
Moving towards the full-bodied end of the spectrum, this crowd-pleasing wine features aromas of juicy fruit and spices. While it began as a blending grape used in France’s famous Bordeaux blend, it has established its presence as a standalone wine, with many famous Argentinian varieties on the market. Pair it with fajitas, steak, pulled pork or prime rib.
Try: Antigal Uno Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina; Doña Paula Estate Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
This classic red wine—born of an accidental breeding between a white Sauvignon Blanc grape and a red Cabernet Franc grape—is rich and full-bodied. Its flavors range from bell pepper and green olive to herbs, vanilla and black cherries and it is often blended with other wines. This dry red goes well with beef, duck, stews and pot roast.
Try: Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California; Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California; Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
This classic Australian wine is one of the darkest red wines available (its French counterpart is called Syrah). Its intensely fruity and spicy profile is often reminiscent of chocolate. Pair it with lamb, sausages, roasted pork or grilled meat.
Try: Layer Cake Shiraz, South Australia; Fat Bastard Syrah, France; Corvidae Lenor Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
Originating in France (where it is called Durif), this inky purple and full-bodied wine is bursting with flavors of chocolate, blueberry, plums and black pepper. A rare grape, it is now produced mostly in California and blends well with Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz and Cabernet sauvignon. It ages incredibly well and pairs well with hearty meats and stews and roasted or smoked veal or pork.
Try: Bogle Petite Sirah, Clarksburg, California; Line 39 Petite Sirah, Central Coast, California; Michael David Winery’s Petite Petit, Lodi, California (85% Petite Sirah/15% Petite Verdot)
Having trouble deciding? We also carry a large selection of red blends that combine some of these delicious varieties! Ask an employee for a recommendation.
New Castle Liquors is a full-service liquor and wine shop on Colorado’s Western Slope, just nine miles west of Glenwood Springs. It won Silver Locals’ Choice Awards for Best Wine Shop and Best Liquor Store in 2018. To get there, take exit 105 off of I-70 and head north through the stop sign. The store is on the right, near Alpine Bank and City Market, and is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Check Facebook to learn about tastings, new products and drink recipes.
Top photo by Timur Saglambilek, lower photo by RawPixel.com, both from Pexels