There’s something about a big glass of red on a cold night, perfectly paired with a hearty meal, making it winter’s go-to-drink. Here is a look into the different varietals and their perfect match.
Originating in France’s Burgundy region, pinot noir is a red wine grape variety, with the name deriving from the French words pine and black. The grape variety hangs in tightly clustered bunches of fruit, much like a pine cone. Elegant and complex, pinot noir is a thin-skinned, light-bodied varietal that shows different characteristics depending on the climate. Tomich Icons of Woodside Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills has brooding briary fragrances with a touch of dried herbs and notes of savoury mulberry, black-cherry and candied red currants. This wine pairs beautifully with rich, savoury flavours such as duck confit. Serve light-bodied wines with subtle aromas like pinot noir in a larger rounder glass with a wider opening. The shape allows the wine to taste smoother and helps collect the floral aromas.
Merlot is one of the most popular red grape varietals worldwide. Hailing from the Bordeaux region in France, this dark-blue grape can exhibit many different styles, making it great for both a blending grape and for varietal wines. Cool climate merlots resemble flavours of strawberry, red berry, plum, cedar and tobacco while medium and hot climate merlots have aromas of blackberry, black plum, black cherry and a chocolately finish. Scarpantoni Merlot from South Australia’s McLaren Vale, shows very distinct varietal characters of rich fruitcake, earthy beetroots, plums and spice with a deliciously smooth palate, through fine grained tannins providing structure and elegance. Great simply by itself with a good vintage cheddar, with tomato-based pasta dishes or roasted red meats and pork with roasted vegetables. Medium-bodied wines should be served in a standard wine glass as the smaller opening allows flavours to hit your tongue progressively, therefore softening the punch.
Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape varietal and is the famed grape of Tuscany. The name is derived from the Latin Sanguis Jovis, meaning ‘the blood of Jupiter.’ Sangiovese is considered a bit of chameleon, altering its genetics to suit its environment. Because of this, there are many different types all over Italy which results in different tasting wines. Caldora Sangiovese from the Abruzzo region is a medium-bodied wine with good tannins. Garnet red in colour, it has intense and persistent, fruity aromas with a winy note and wood flavour. Best served with salami, rich main courses, meat and cheese. When serving a medium-bodied sangiovese, be sure to use a medium or standard decanter. A medium-bodied wine should take around 40 minutes to decant properly. For fast paced venues, try using a wine aerator instead.
Deep purple and known for its luscious texture and aromas such as blackberry, plum and pepper, shiraz is one of Australia’s favourite red wines. It can be made in a style that is clean and fruity and ready to drink around the barbie, or bigger and heavier to put away in the cellar for a decade or more. Originally from France where it is called syrah and used in the blend to make Chateauneuf du Pape, the variety is known around the world by the name it was given here in Australia – shiraz. Haselgrove Catkin Shiraz from the unique wine region McLaren Vale in South Australia is deep and vibrant in the glass. The nose shows intense lift with characters of summer berries, fresh woody herbs with integrated spicy French oak. The spicy oak adds complexity and a framework of tannin leading to a long dry finish. Soften spicy, peppery notes in wine like shiraz by serving in a ‘standard’ wine glass. Shiraz pairs well with grilled meats, vegetables, wild game and beef stews making it an excellent choice for winter menus.
Pronounced cab-er-nay saw-vin-yawn, cabernet sauvignon is one of the world’s most recognised red wine grape varieties. Originating in France, the grape is a natural cross between cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc from the Bordeaux region. It is loved for its high concentration and age worthiness and is renowned for its thick skin and hardy vines. Cabernet sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with high tannins and a noticeable acidity that contributes to the aging process. Cabernet sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes, however accompanying notes vary depending on the climate. Claymore Black Magic Woman Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Clare Valley in South Australia is deep crimson in colour with a bouquet of mint, menthol and blackcurrant with a subtle French oak aroma. Pair with lamb or rich foods, high in fats to match the elevated tannins. Be sure to use large decanters with a wide base for wines like cabernet sauvignon. Because of their higher tannins, they need longer to decant. The wider base will increase oxygen and decant a lot faster.
To view our full range of red wines plus more, check out Beer Wine Spirits Autumn – Winter 2020
Written by Tayla Kelly
National marketing coordinator for Bidfood Australia
17 July 2020