Shiraz or Syrah (The first is for global growers, versus the later being specifically designated for European vintners.) Personally, I think California has some of the best Shiraz bottles that there is to offer. These wines are usually paired with steak and beef, and occasionally wild game because of the black currant that is used in the aging process. They are elegant with a spice to it. These bottles definitely have a lot to offer, at a reasonable price.
Merlot. So you think you are fancy because you order merlot, and you know that the “t” is silent. Merlot, can be paired with any food, it is is probably also the easiest of the reds to drink. This is because they are sweeter, and have a plum or herbal taste to it all. Personally, I don’t really ever see a reason to order merlot with a meal, maybe if you are finishing off your night with dessert, then sure.
Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab) is the king of the reds. This is probably the most commonly drank red wine. Unfortunately, finding a good cab can be costly. Most people hunt down cabernet bottles that have been aged in oak barrels as it offers a slight mystical vanilla undertone. Cabs are usually extremely heavy, and really need to be aerated or decanted. If the bottle is new at a restaurant, swirl the crap out of your glass before each drink. This will allow the wine to open and the taste will slowly change.
Pinot Noir, the noble wine. Besides the fact that the grapes are difficult to grow, and are rarely blended, Pinot Noirs can get up there in price. Pinots have a very fruity undertone, and a very earthy taste. Pinots are the velvety and when they hit your palette they should caress your tongue. This is really great with sushi actually, and often served with some white meats, depending on how the meat is prepared.
Sangiovese. The Italian grapes. Feeling like you belong in Italy? Open up a bottle of sangiovese and be transported to Tuscany. Now, a lot of california vineyards have started curating bottles, which is great because california bottles are a lot cheaper. Now, this category of wine is usually can also be the Chianti bottles which are bottles designated from a specific region of Tuscany.
Zinfandel. No, not pink zinfandel, and not some fruity bubbly crap. Zinfandel is a younger developed wine because it is only designated to california. These grapes used can create everything from that cheap blush sparkling wine to a very heavy, wonderful deep aromatic red. And typically full bodied zinfandels are great with pizza, or pasta. If anything, if you are used to drinking merlot, but are ready to step up your game, I say move to full bodied zinfandels.
Finally, my favorite: MALBEC. So this isn’t your typical wine, not because of any particular reason but because a good bottle of malbec goes a long way. Malbec originated in the French Bordeaux area, but has been developed and refined by the growers of Argentina and Australia. Malbec is usually paired with meat based meals ranging from foie gras to Indian and Mexican food. Its versatilityimakes it easy to drink.
If you need to know what glass to use when pouring a red, check out our guide to glassware. This is important because all reds should be swirled...
ThE GAY GUIDE TO DRINKS
From the how to's to the don'ts. From the hottest places, to the best dive bars, our mission is to help you find your signature drink.