Red wine is a popular beverage, and it's made from black grapes that are fermented with their skins. If you're new to reds, you may want to know more about how various styles taste and differ from one another. Here's a helpful guide for beginners.

4 Things to Know About Red Wine

1. Grapes & Regions

Wines often get their names from the type of grape used to make them, the region of their production, or a combination of both. Pinot noir is a grape used to make Burgundy, named after the region of France where these grapes originate.

Cabernet sauvignon, the most famous grape used in red winemaking, is a hybrid of cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes. Sangiovese, a grape used to make Chianti, takes its name from a well-known winemaking region in Tuscany.

2. Body

red wine

A wine's body refers to its consistency and texture. Tannins, the pigmented molecules found in black grapes, play a crucial role in the body. Light-bodied reds, like pinot noir, have fewer tannins, which makes them feel similar to water on the palate.

Medium-bodied reds, including sangiovese, have more tannins, yielding a thicker consistency and silkier mouthfeel. Full-bodied reds, such as cabernet sauvignon, have the highest tannin content, giving them a milky consistency and luxurious texture.

3. Flavors

Reds may be dry or sweet with a range of possible tasting notes, depending on the grape, tannins, and winemaking style. Syrah features blackberry and peppery flavors, making this variety spicy and bold.

Malbec has plum and cherry notes with a hint of smokiness, while pinot noir features the bright taste of cranberry or raspberry. Cabernet sauvignon has a cherry and black currant base with an herbal, spicy finish.

4. Food Pairings

Full-bodied reds pair well with hearty meats, such as steak and porkchops, while lighter-bodied varieties complement delicate proteins, like chicken and fish. Red wine may balance the saltiness and spiciness of aged cheeses and cured meats on charcuterie boards. It'll also complement tomato sauces and provide contrast with creamy cheeses on pasta and pizza.


If you want to sample a global selection of red wines, head to Oeno Winemaking in Kailua, HI. This winery offers over 150 bottles from around the world, and it provides tastings during regular business hours to help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the beverage's subtle differences. Call (808) 263-6366 to book a tasting, or shop their vast selection online.