Wine Varieties

Red Wine

Red wine is made from the fermented pulp of dark-skinned grapes. Most dark-skinned grapes have uncoloured flesh and the process of saignée or ‘bleedin…

Red wine is made from the fermented pulp of dark-skinned grapes. Most dark-skinned grapes have uncoloured flesh and the process of saignée or ‘bleeding’ involves leaving the dark grape skins in contact with the pulp to add colour but also flavour. The most well known red wine varietals include Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese.

High-quality red wines tend to cellar well, with many benefiting from decades of age. Red wines from the higher end fetch enormous prices at auction.

Types of red wine

Bordeaux-style reds are full-bodied blended wines made in many regions around the world. Wines in this style are primarily based Cabernet Sauvignon and blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.

Chianti is one of the most well known wines in the world. Italy’s most famous wine, Chianti is a controlled name given to wines made in Tuscany. It is a medium-bodied, blended wine made primarily with the grape varietal Sangiovese.

Sparkling Shiraz

Sparkling Shiraz is a style of wine that is popular, primarily, in Australia. The production of Sparkling Shiraz in Australia follows the méthode traditionnelle or ‘traditional method’ used to make Sparkling white wine. Seppelt is one of the best-known brands of Sparkling Shiraz. Other brands that have had success with Sparkling Shiraz include Bleasdale and Mr. Riggs.

Pairing food with red wine

The diversity in red wines allows for pairing with a range of foods. Rather than simply matching red wine with red meat, matching strengths produces better results. Big red Barossa Valley blockbusters are a great match for rich red meat dishes like ragout or a cattleman’s cut steak. Pinot Noir, being a more subtle wine, can match with more delicate foods. Duck is a classic combination for red wine from Burgundy but also fatty fish dishes like a fillet of salmon. More mature Pinot Noirs can pair well with heavier dishes and beef bourguignon, a tradition dish from historical region of Burgundy, is classic match.

Food and Red Wine

Notable red wines

The title of the best red wine is unusually a competition between the prestigious French wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. While the premier wines of Bordeaux are numerous the red wines of Burgundy compete at the very top. Bordeaux red wines are blends of a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec whereas reds from Burgundy are primarily made with Pinot Noir. Red wines from both regions enjoy cult followings with supporters from both camps claiming superiority.

The Barossa Valley produces some of the best wines in Australia. Known primarily for blockbuster reds, wineries in South Australia had had immense international success with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, a blend of primary varietals from compete controlled regions in France. All the major South Australian players produce this distinct style of Australian wine including Penfolds, Yalumba, Wolf Blass, Wirra Wirra, Bleasdale and St Hugo to name but a few. Wine lovers can expect full-bodied, big-flavoured red wines from this part of the world

Pinot Noir is a subtle red wine that is light in colour. Pinot noir wines tend to show lighter fruits such as red berries and floral notes like violets and roses. The reputation of Pinot Noir is has grown in Australia as alternative red wine to the blockbuster Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon of the South Australia. Pinot Noir pairs with lighter foods without blowing them away but the grape is difficult to grow and tends to be more expensive.


Australia’s premier wine is Penfolds Grange. Since the 1950s, Penfolds has been striving to achieve a wine that could compete with the cult reds of Bordeaux. The legendary winemaker Max Schubert guided this wine from its difficult early beginnings to what has become a truly international name in wine. Only a handful of winemakers have been entrusted to be the custodians of Grange, the jewel in the Australian winemaking crown.

Red Wine

Red wine in Australia

Red wines continue to be at the forefront of the Australian offering on the international stage. Leading the line is, as ever, Penfolds Grange. However, there is more to Australian red than Grange. The 1860 Vines from Tahbilk and Hill Of Grace from Henschke are both single vineyard Shiraz wines and represent the a growing recognition of the range of Australia’s most prestigious wines.

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  • Red Wine
  • Australia
  • Food Pairing