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All About Red Wine

The first thing to know about red wine is that there's a bottle to fit every occasion, even the dreaded engagement party for your last single friend. Wineries throughout the world produce red wine with varying level of boldness, acidity and aromas, so you're sure to find a bottle you like. Get ready to discover your new favorite red.

What Is Cabernet Sauvignon?

If you've sipped red wine, chances are you've had a Cab. Perhaps the most popular type of red wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown around the world. Though many bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon contain just this varietal, you can also find it in red wine blends. Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its deep red color and notes of cherry, cassis and vanilla. Some of the highest quality bottles have been aged for years to produce a deeper flavor.

What Is Merlot?

The first runner-up of this red wine beauty pageant is Merlot. This red wine is easy to drink and pairs well with a variety of cuisines. In fact, there's really no wrong time to enjoy Merlot. This variety originated in France's Bordeaux region, and today winemakers all along the West Coast produce this low-tannin red. It's often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, though many Merlot lovers prefer to enjoy it unblended.

What Is Bordeaux?

Like your favorite high school "It" couple, the world's most popular red wine blend is a Bordeaux, which features Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The percentage of each differs depending on the winery, so there's plenty of variety among bottles of Bordeaux. Because you can find both affordable and high-end Bordeaux, this wine is perfect for both casual sipping and special occasions — in other words, any time.

What Is Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult grapes to grow, yet it's one of the most loved around the world. It originated in France's Burgundy region, where it's simply known as red Burgundy. Pinot Noir features fruit flavors such as cherry and other berries, as well as hints of mushroom and other earthy notes. Sound like an odd flavor mix? It's an ideal balance of fruit and earth.

What Is Syrah?

Also known as Shiraz, Syrah originated in France's Rhone Valley region before migrating to Australia, a major producer of this deep red wine. It's remarkably opaque and dark, and it's known for its full-bodied flavor and high tannin count. Syrah features berry notes, though it has hints of pepper and tobacco, as well. This one packs a serious punch, so don't say we didn't warn you.

What Is Malbec?

Like many reds, Malbec originated in France, but today most bottles come from Argentina, and for good reason. This rich, fruity wine has notes of raspberry, plum and fig and cocoa and leather aromas. This medium-acidity wine is best served slightly cool, and it pairs perfectly with beef and lamb.

What Is Rioja?

Rioja originated in its namesake Spanish region, and it features a blend of Tempranillo and other grapes. This Spanish wine has some of the same qualities as Cabernet Sauvignon, so it's no wonder Rioja is easy to enjoy. It pairs well with jamon serrano, Manchego cheese and green olives. In other words, have a glass any time you're enjoying Spanish cuisine.