malbec, UC Davis
Question from Lindsay: Everytime I go to the store to buy wine for a gift or a party, I’m overwhelmed by the choices. I know there are Merlots, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and a few other types, but I have absolutely no idea what the difference between all of them are. To me, they are all red. Can you give a brief overview of the general differences.
Reply: Hi, Lindsay. Thanks for writing! This is another good question that lots of other people have. A few weeks ago I decided to write about a different grape variety every week, so soon there will be fairly detailed info on the most popular varieties available on the blog. Just do a search by variety. In the meantime, a broad-brush stroke for these reds is a great idea and will be this week’s grape(s) of the week 😉
If you sometimes think you’re drinking Merlot and it turns out to be a Cab – or vice versa – there’s a good reason. These grapes are similar. Take Cabernet back a notch and it begins to look more like Merlot.
This variety is a real trickster, in terms of knowing what to expect. Moderately priced Aussi Shiraz tends to be big, round, very fruity and sweet-ish. From the northern Rhone, its homeland, it’s deep, dark, meaty, smoky, brawny… But you can count on it as making a big statement.
Waaay lighter than the above. Smooth and elegant, Pinot is a seductress!
You didn’t ask for Zinfandel, but us Californians love our Zin!Zinfandel:
So very fruity and spicy! It might remind you of the smell of wild berries when you go hiking!
A once obscure variety has been made famous and wildly popular by Argentina!
That covers the most popular reds. I hope it makes your shopping a little easier, Lindsay! Cheers!Send me your wine question I’ll get back to you in a jiffy!
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