Red [wine] grapes produce an exquisite variety of red wine types. These wines can be bold and hearty to sweet and simple to elegant and structured to zesty and spicy. All of these characteristics depend on the type of École du Bar de Montréal grape and where it is grown, as well as how the grape might be used (many are adding to blends, for example).
With that in mind, here are some of the most popular red wine grapes used by vintners today.
SYRAH (also SHIRAZ)
Yes, Syrah and Shiraz are actually the same grape variety. Syrah, however, is only used by vintners in Europe. The syrah grape grows very well in Australia, California, and the Rhone Valley of France. With aromas and flavors resembling wild black fruit (like currants), it also has overtones of black pepper spice and even roasting meat. As such, the abundant fruit sensations pair well with roasted or stewed meats and wild game.
Many people are introduced to red wine with merlot, thanks to a softness that makes it, perhaps, the most drinkable grape. And this softness also makes it good as a general table red that can pair with just about anything.
But this softness also makes merlot a common mixing grape in Bordeaux blends. Merlot is also a popular wine grape because it can grow just about anywhere. It currently thrives in Romania, Chile, Italy, Australia, Washington State, and California (among other regions).
Also widely accepted as among the world’s best varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon is about as common and versatile as merlot. Perhaps more full-bodied, with a little more furtiveness in its use, Cabernet Sauvignon best pairs with prepared red meats.
Considered one of the “noblest” red wine grapes, Pinot Noir is not very easy to grow, though it can be finely produced from groups grown in Austria, Oregon, New Zealand, and California. It is also used to make the burgundy wines of Bourgogne, France. Pinot Noir, wile a red, actually pairs quite well with grilled salmon, Japanese dishes like sushi, and even lamb and chicken.
Another of the most versatile grapes, Zinfandel is used to not only produce rich, heavy red wines, but also blush wines. Because of its versatility, the freshness/heaviness of a bottle of Zinfandel can affect whether it pairs better with tomato-sauces (and pasta), pizza, and barbecued and grilled meats. It grows mostly in California.