Red wine: how to choose?

How to choose the best red wine?

You've probably asked yourself this question a dozen times before, if not more. But how do you recognize a quality red wine ? It is indeed not always easy to know which red wines are particularly affordable in terms of taste. Moreover, in the digital age, it is becoming easier and easier to get a bottle of wine . Indeed, today there are a multitude of websites offering to order red wines online but also white wines . In order not to regret your purchase and to avoid impulse purchases, follow our guide and our advice which will allow you to choose the ideal red wine .

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What makes a red wine excellent?

First of all, you should know that a good red wine depends on everyone's tastes. In order to be able to choose the perfect red wine for your taste buds, it is important to taste as many varieties of grape varieties as possible. Indeed, the taste of red wine differs from white for the following reasons:

  • Higher tannin content
  • Higher alcohol content
  • Bigger body
  • Different aromatic profile
  • Potentially increased complexity

All these qualities come from the fermentation process during which the grape skins are left in the tank with the juice. Fermentation ensures that all the sugar contained in the pulp of the crushed grapes becomes alcohol with a refined taste to please all tasters.

In addition, the maturity of the barrel and the bottle plays an important role. This corresponds to the blossoming of the wine which will bring it to its peak. It is the nature of these processes and the quality of the grapes that have the greatest impact on the aroma and character of the wine .

A good red wine will be even more excellent if you decant it . To find out how and why to decant red wine , we invite you to read this article on the subject.

Find your favorite wine

Just because they are great vintages or well-aged reds doesn't mean you have to like them. Aging aromas are full of bitterness in the same way as truffles and mature cheeses. For new tasters, it is essential to vary the options, to explore the choices available to you.

To find your way more easily, you can turn to aoc (controlled designation of origin) or aop (protected designation of origin) and igp (protected geographical indication) . These appellations , common in France, testify to a certain level of wine requirement (grape varieties, terroir, vinification). You can start with ordinary wines , to accustom your palate and gently discover the world of wine, then turn to more authentic and complex wines.

We strongly recommend that you start with the following wine varieties to better understand your preferences:

  • The acidity of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir from Burgundy is the perfect red wine for understanding acidity. If you appreciate Pinot Noir, there is a good chance that you will taste much more acidic red wines such as Grenache for example. When you taste Pinot Noir for the first time, you feel something invigorating in your mouth as if you were drinking a sparkling drink. It is simply the effect of acidity.

In addition, a good bottle of Pinot Noir has a good balance of tannins and acidity to complement the wine's naturally fruity taste.

  • The body of Syrah/Shiraz

The body of the wine is also important. Indeed, red wines tend to be heavy, powerful and structured wines unlike white wines because of their compositions. Nevertheless, the quality and flavor of the wines vary according to their origins. Syrah, also called Shiraz, is an excellent example of a full-bodied red wine from the Rhône. Also, you should be able to taste more intense aromatic notes such as plum, chocolate and tobacco, making the Syrah more velvety and milky.

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  • Cabernet Sauvignon tannin

Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine with a tannic structure that leaves your mouth dry when you swallow. It is hugely popular in the wine world because of its rich, spicy flavor that pairs wonderfully with red meat. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux, you will probably also like Merlot, Chianti and Rioja which have similar taste qualities. The wines of the South breathe the sun and the delicacy of these regions with a sea air.

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  • Zinfandel alcohol

Most red wines are high in alcohol, but Zinfandel is one of the strongest. A good bottle contains an alcohol content of 15% which is particularly high. The high alcohol content makes Zinfandel bold, full-bodied and much more intense.

For your information, high alcohol levels come from the fermentation process during which wine yeast is transformed into ethanol. You have the opportunity to taste this sweetness in the Zinfandel through its ripeness and fruity flavor. Moreover, Shiraz and Madeira red wine are two other types of high alcohol red wines.

There are single varietal red wines , that is to say that the wine is produced from a single grape variety, but the winemaker can also produce a blended wine , that is to say that he associates several grape varieties between them to make wine. Some appellations only allow single varietals, others blends. It is then the work and the know-how of the winegrower who speaks to find the right balance between the different grape varieties to find the ideal magic potion!

Don't compromise on quality and taste

Another criterion for choosing a good red wine is of course its quality. You can drink all the tannic wine , but if it's cheap and bad you won't enjoy the experience. It is not a question of spending hundreds of euros on a bottle of red wine at auctions dedicated to alcoholic beverages but of choosing according to specific criteria. Indeed, a bottle of excellent red wine can be bought for less than forty euros. Without further ado, here are the three criteria that will allow you to choose without making a mistake:

  • Complexity : this sounds a bit pretentious but what you are looking for is a wine with a wide range of flavors. For example, a good Cabernet Sauvignon will be accompanied by a hint of cherry, cassis, spices and green pepper. And if it is aged, we will smell the taste of a cigar box, leather and chocolate.

  • Intensity : How can you identify each of the flavors? The more obvious it is, the more intense the wine and the higher its quality.

  • Balance : The best wines hold their flavors in their balance. If the flavor of the wine is fruity, mineral and structured, then you have the perfect bottle of red wine.

Are you a real red wine lover?

Red wine is not everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy flavorful wines with a structured body and strong character , then the perfect wine awaits. Be adventurous, get out of your comfort zone to find the type of red wine that appeals to you the most.

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What are the benefits of red wine?

Red wine is rich in polyphenols , flavonoids and tannins . Closely studied by scientific laboratories, it would soon be a therapeutic food. Indeed, red wine is very good for the heart insofar as it would help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through the presence of polyphenols. In addition, red wine is excellent for fighting against psychological illnesses including depression. However, be careful not to overdo it!

Moderate consumption of red wine would also contribute to a longer life. In addition, drinking good red wine would also slow cell death and be excellent for our eyesight.

Red wine is also excellent for fighting type-2 diabetes and also helps reduce the risk of colon cancer . Finally, some studies claim that wine plays a positive role against obesity thanks to the presence of resveratrol which would prevent weight gain.

In search of a good red wine

With so many red wines available from different suppliers, it's really hard to tell if you're picking the right one, just by looking at the bottle. Fortunately, there are several ways to make sure you're making the right choice. With a little knowledge and information, just like with the help of experts, you can find a good bottle of red wine. The Hachette wine guide is the best-selling book in France to discover the world of wine, but nothing beats a real tasting to get you started. It is well known, between theory and practice, there is a real difference. Reading books on skiing will not be enough to have the level of Candide Thovex, sometimes you have to put on your shoes and get started! ;)

When it comes to wine, taste is very often subjective. A great way to find a red wine that's right for you is to know what you like. To do this, you must define your needs and your budget, know the red grape varieties and their particularities, taste if possible, and let yourself be guided when you have difficulties.

Estimate, define your needs beforehand

In order to find a genuinely good bottle of red wine , you must first consider your own needs. It's all about knowing what you want to do with it. If you want to offer it to a relative or a host, then find out about their preferences, their experience. Is he a red wine lover? Does he have a cellar? Or is he a wine lover? This information will help you find a wine that he will find good, because it will correspond to his preferences.

Similarly, knowing if you want to drink it immediately, or if you are looking for a wine to lay down is important. Your choice will not be the same in these two cases, since it will relate to different vintages and domains .

Moreover, the choice of the appropriate red wine may depend on the dish with which you wish to accompany it. Food and wine pairings can be a real headache so here are our tips! For dishes that are strong in taste and quite greasy, a full-bodied red will be perfect; the Beaujolais will go well with charcuterie, white meat and goat cheese (Sainte-Maure, Chavignol, etc.); on the other hand, an organic red Burgundy wine will be a good accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats. We advise you to experience the primeur wines of Beaujolais Nouveau , it is a must in France and you may discover the wine of your dreams. As an aperitif, accompanied by a cheese and charcuterie platter, it's a moment of guaranteed pleasure!

Don't forget that wine is above all a story of pleasure and festivals such as those of Beaujolais Nouveau , the Percée du vin jaune du Jura and all other wine fairs are unforgettable moments where we gather around a passion. common.

Set your budget

Desiring a very good bottle of red wine is completely normal, but first, decide how much you are willing to spend to find the right value for money . The appreciation of the quality of your choice also depends on what it cost you. You will probably find an excellent quality red wine for less than twenty euros, but other people prefer to pay more, or only drink great wines . However, it is not because you pay more or because it is a grand cru classé that the drink will be good. On the other hand, our Châteauneuf-du-Pape was unanimous and all your positive feedback warms our hearts!

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Dare to taste the wines

Without a doubt, the best way to know if you like a wine is to taste it. Many wine suppliers offer free or minimally priced tastings , which will allow you to select the best red wine to suit your palate.

Here are some tasting tips

Before you start tasting and choose the chosen one for your palate, it is necessary to know some specificities of red wine. Indeed, unlike some wines, red is subject to malolactic fermentation . This lowers the level of acidity. As for its alcoholic fermentation , it is done at a higher temperature level (18 degrees Celsius).

In the bottle, it is distinguished by its polyphenol content , which refers to all the tannins and coloring matter. Finally, what interests you at this stage, the taste. This peculiarity in the vinification of red wine gives it such a particular taste: it is more powerful, due to the presence of tannins . A younger wine with fewer tannins is lighter on the palate, easier to drink but has less aromatic complexity. Everyone has their own preferences.

Now you have to taste different products to know which is good. Your evaluation begins even before the wine hits the palate. First you need to make sure that it does not have any defects. It is a question of checking if it is clogged , oxidized (some however have a desired oxidation), or if it makes bubbles, smells farm or rotten eggs (phenomenon known as reduction).

Next, you need to look for a feeling of balance in the wine. A good red wine must be balanced. This is a fairly simple criterion to assess. A balanced wine should not present a very distinct character on a single flavor, and here, the tannic dimension must be taken into account. Thus, a wine that is too young will seem bitter or too astringent in the mouth. Or else it will leave you with an unpleasant vegetal taste in your mouth if its tannins are too green. If it's too sour, it may make you cringe. In short, the acidity, alcohol, sugar and tannins must balance each other out, so that they don't totally overwhelm other dominants.

Finally, you must assess the intensity and complexity of the wine. When it comes to intensity, the more obvious the flavors in the wine, the more intense it is, and the better its quality. Complexity, on the other hand, characterizes a wine that offers several flavors.

Let yourself be guided by professionals

You may, at the end of the tasting , have trouble evaluating and finding the right bottle. You may also have found several, without being able to make a final choice. It can also happen that you don't know where to start to find a good red wine , or that you don't have enough time to devote to it. In these cases, the help of professionals will be of great importance to you.

We don't all have a sommelier neighbor and finding an expert who will sincerely help you in this task is not easy. However, there is an easy way to get expert guidance to find the bottle of red that will delight your palate: visit an online wine site.

Online wine sites are now key players. They are gaining more and more ground compared to wineries and large surfaces, due to the additional services they offer. It is these services in particular that will allow you to find a good red wine.

At , Valérie our oenologist crisscrosses France and makes her palate work to offer you a selection of organic and good wines , to be found on our site. This already reassures you about the quality of the wine, and saves you long hours of research. In addition, a good wine must also be good for your body and for nature. This is why we only offer wines from responsible viticulture.

Knowing that responsible viticulture is developing more and more makes us smile at Oé. Biodynamics , organic viticulture and natural wine are nothing new, but the 21st century is making a comeback !

If you want to know more, we have written articles on organic red wines , biodynamic red wines and natural red wines .

In this article, you will also learn a lot about vegan red wine .