Barbera is the most common grape in Piedmont and the third most-planted grape in the country. It is used in varietals and blends. Nowadays, it is considered to have great potential to produce excellent quality wines, although it was once considered as a grape designated for rustic, everyday wine.
Chianti wine is a red blend from Chianti, a small region in Tuscany, Italy. Made with a minimum of 70% Sangiovese grapes, a wine calling itself Chianti is allowed to be made almost anywhere in Tuscany, and the entire region is divided into seven sub-zones, with the renowned Chianti Classico being its historical heartland.
These dry, ruby-red wines have been praised for their aromas and flavors of red cherry fruit, herbal nuances, and underlying earthy notes. Depending on maturation, the area of production, and the percentage of Sangiovese, the wines range from light to full-bodied and are often described as food-friendly wines that can match a variety of dishes.
Young and lively styles pair well with appetizers, while aged varieties go well with braised and roasted meat.
Primitivo is an Italian grape variety with quite interesting origins. Research conducted in 1994 proved that the grape is identical to Californian Zinfandel, while it was later discovered that both grapes originated from an old and obscure Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski.
Despite the same lineage, these grapes are influenced by their terroir, and they can slightly differ in character. In Italy, Primitivo is mostly cultivated in Apulia, where it is used in the appellation Primitivo di Manduria. Primitivo is a somewhat rustic wine, dark, intense, and rich in tannins that tend to mellow with age.
Young styles usually display fruity aromas of cherries, plums, and blackberries, as well as floral notes of violets. Aged varieties tend to develop nuances of cocoa, tobacco, and spices. Primitivo is best paired with meat dishes and aged cheese. It can also work well with lamb, vegetable dishes, game, and legumes.
This full-bodied, red wine is made from Nebbiolo grapes in a small area in Piedmont with a unique soil and climate conditions. It has been produced since the 19th century, and soon after its invention, it became a favorite among the Italian and European nobility.
According to Italian DOCG regulations, Barolo needs to mature for at least 36 months, while those aged for five years carry the prestigious Riserva label. It is a robust, but elegant wine, which is very high in tannins that soften with aging.
Because of its distinctive notes of rose petals, dark fruit, tobacco, mocha, tar, and truffles, it pairs well with various dishes. Serve it with beef or game meat, aromatic tomato and truffle sauces, or aged and blue cheese varieties.
Sangiovese is a red grape variety indigenous to Italy that is predominantly grown in Tuscany, but also in other central and southern regions, from Romagna down to Lazio, Campania, and Sicily. It is best known as the main grape used in Chianti or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and as the only grape in the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino.
Though its flavor profile may be influenced by the terroir, Sangiovese based wines are rich in tannins and high in acidity, while their flavor is savory, and may range from rustic to fruity, with typical notes of cherries, dark stone fruit, spices, tobacco, and dry herbs.
Because of its savory character, it goes well with a wide range of dishes, including pasta, pizza, grilled meats, poultry, charcuterie, and matured cheese varieties.
Tempranillo is a red grape variety whose origin is associated with the Iberian Peninsula. Although it is planted in other countries, Tempranillo is best known as the primary grape used in the classic Rioja blend. The wines produced from Tempranillo are typically full-bodied and rich in tannins with the flavors that range from ripe red and dark berries, leather, and tobacco, while aging in French or American oak helps them attain typical vanilla and spice notes.
In the Rioja wine, Tempranillo is the principal grape, but it is often blended with Garnacha, Graciano, and Mazuelo. The grape is especially popular in Portugal where it is known as Tinta Roriz, and it has also shown success in the United States, South America, and Australia.
Tempranillo-based wines are incredibly food-friendly and can match charcuterie, sausages, lamb, pork, and aged cheese.
Although Syrah is an internationally known grape that is planted worldwide, it attains distinctive character in northern Rhône—which is often dubbed as Mecca for Syrah. There are several theories about the origin of the grape, but it has been widely accepted that Syrah is native to France and that it probably originated somewhere in the Rhône valley.
Syrah-based wines from the northern Rhône often differ in style, but they are powerful, full-bodied reds that can age exceptionally well. They usually display aromas of dark fruit that evolve into peppery, earthy, and herbaceous nuances. Northern Rhône is also home to the premier Syrah-based appellations such as Côte Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and Cornas.
In the southern Rhône, Syrah is mostly used as an addition to the dominant Grenache. Syrah-based wines generally pair well with grilled or braised meat, stews, and game. Traditionally, French appellations do not include the name of the grape on the label.
Beaujolais is a light-bodied red wine, with relatively high amounts of acidity. It is made in the historical wine producing region Province of Beaujolais, mostly from thin-skinned Gamay grape, which makes it very low in tannins, and therefore it is often treated like a white wine and served slightly chilled.
Although it rarely needs decanting, after being open for a while, it will gain some aromatic complexity, with a fresh cherry and blackberry fruit nose and spicy, earthy notes in the background. It is classified in three categories: Beaujolais AOC, Beaujolais Villages AOC, and Cru Beaujolais.
According to the body, Beaujolais can be paired with a wide range of dishes. Beaujolais Nouveau, the lightest and mass-produced style of this wine is typically used as an aperitif with salads; the lighter Cru Beaujolais, such as Brouilly, Régnié and Chiroubles, pairs well with poultry, while the heavier and richer, fullest bodied of Cru Beaujolais, like Morgon, Régnié, and Juliénas, pair better with red meats and stews.
Bordeaux region is the largest wine growing area in France that comprises of more than fifty different appellations. Bordeaux wines can range from massively produced everyday table wines to prestigious and expensive vintages. The predominant style is red, but the region also produces sweet and dry whites, rosés and sparkling wines.