There are hundreds of different types of grapes that are used in the making of red wines. In fact, there is as much information about the wine these grapes produce as there is the actual grapes. With that said, it is likely that you will only encounter wines that are made from a small selection of red grapes.
The following guide will provide you with more information regarding the regions and flavor profiles of the most commonly used grapes. You are more than welcome to continue researching the many varieties of red grapes, but for this article, the following list will provide you with a smooth introduction into the world of red grapes and wine.
The flavor profiles of this class of red wine are:
- Black cherry
- Green olive
- Bell pepper
The main component of a flavorful Bordeaux is the Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the reigning grape of Napa Valley, and it can be found throughout the world.
This grape typically ripens later than others, and it can become very weedy when it is grown in colder climates. When grown in Tuscany and Bordeaux, it is often combined with other red wine grapes in order to reduce its astringent aftertaste.
On the other hand, when these grapes are grown in Napa, they give off a taste that is reminiscent of black cherry jams and currants. With its thickness and dense ripeness, coupled with oak flavors and scents, it is easy to see why the Cabernet Sauvignon is considered one of the finest red wine grapes in the world.
Along with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cabernet Franc is one-third of the necessary triad that encompasses a large portion of the sweeter wines produced in the United States.
When it stands on its own, the Cabernet Franc has earthly undertones that are similar to its cousin, the Cabernet Sauvignon.
If the Cabernet Franc is grown in climates that are warmer than Europe, it gives off distinctive notes of blueberry and violets. There are many who say the riped tannins give off a recognizable scent of fresh coffee.
The flavor profiles of this red wine grape are cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. It is recommended that these grapes are used to produce wine when they are very young. It is during this time when the grape releases a tangy and bright flavor that has hints of sweet cherries, strawberries, and raspberries.
These young grapes can also give off the aroma of bananas when the wine is made through a process referred to as carbonic maceration. One example of this is the Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is released every year shortly after harvest.
Merlot is considered to be the king of the reds. Not only does it have a name that is simple to pronounce, but it is also versatile and easy to like. However, except for Chateau Petrus, most Merlots do not have a lot of character. Besides Bordeaux, it thrives in Washington State also.
Red wines are known for aging well, but they must be properly stored. Keep in mind that temperature, humidity, and light will affect the aging process of these fine wines.