How to Get the Most From Your Red Wine


If you like red wine but don’t know much about it, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we look at some handy tips for buying and serving red wine.

Work up through the sizes

If you are going to be serving more than one glass (or bottle) of red wine, the key thing to remember is to work through the sizes. In other words, start with a light red wine such as a Merlot, Barbara or Gamay, then move onto a medium bodied wine like a Tempranillo, Pinot Noir or Malbec, and/or finish with a full bodied red wine such as Shiraz, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you start with the heavier red wine first, you’ll find that this will overpower the lighter red wine.

Full-bodied red wines are best saved for food

Big, powerful red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz work best with tasty red meat. Why? Because these red wines are full of tannins, body and alcohol, which taste good with meat proteins but are often too harsh drunk on their own.

Light red wines work best over lunch

Soft and gentle red wines, such as Merlot and Gamay, are a great choice if you are drinking over lunch. This is because they are low in tannin, alcohol and acidity, which makes them easy to drink and not too powerful for the afternoon ahead. Similarly, they are a great choice as an aperitif, or for drinking on their own on a summer’s afternoon.

Buy for the person and occasion

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to red wine, so make sure that you buy your red wine to suit the person who will be drinking it. For example, if you are buying for yourself, go for something that you will like, not what the shop assistant or your friend likes. Also, it’s worth considering the occasion. If you hosting a dinner party, then a big full bodied red wine is bound to com

ar more appropriate.

Focus on the style


When it comes to choosing a bottle of red wine, if you don’t know where to start or could do with a helping hand, it’s worth looking to retailers who focus on wine styles. Wine styles can give you a lot more choice compared to if you focus on grapes, countries or regions. For example, if you know that you like an Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon, the chances are you’ll stick to that in future, but if you discover that you like “Huge Reds” (full bodied, fruity reds) then you’ll have a host of different grapes to choose from including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Zinfandel from Old and New World Countries.

Look to where the value is

Don’t be tempted to splash out on big brands or famous names, as you’ll end up paying for the labels. Instead, it is far better is to look to the lesser known regions, where you’ll get all the same quality for a fraction of the price. For example, try a Chilean Cabernet Merlot as a value alternative to a Classic Bordeaux.

Serving is the easy bit

The key to serving red wine is to place it in the kitchen before drinking to ensure that it is the right temperature. Also, especially if you have an old vintage or full-bodied red wine, you might want to open in advance to let it breath. Easy as that!

So now you’ve got the tips, you’ll be ready to put them in to action.

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About the Author

Louise Truswell works in and writes about the wine industry. To find out more and to choose from an extensive range of red wine, visit –

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