Other Red Wine Varietals

Whilst hundreds of red-wine-producing grape varietals exist in the world, most of them that are considered to be more widely available can be narrowed down to a relatively small number of select grapes and blends.

In this guide to some of the other lesser-known red varietals, you will be able to discover more about the flavour profiles and food pairing options of these styles of red.

Jump to a section of the page using the jump-to-section menu above, otherwise be sure to consider the other wine guides availble through the main menu above, for those who wish to explore those that are more prominent.

Bordeaux Red Blend

Produced exclusively in France, the red Bordeaux blend is composed primarily of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc grapes, alongside other varietals.

Commonly served alongside many steaks, roast lamb, or other red meat dishes, it’s a medium to full bodied dry red wine with high tannins and low to medium levels of acidity that exhibits dark fruit, dark berry, and spice flavours.

Bordeaux Blend Quick Guide

Cabernet Franc

The cabernet franc grape is the parent grape of both the cabernet sauvignon and merlot grape varietals and is a light to medium bodied dry red wine that possesses moderate amounts of both tannin and acidity.

With strong flavours of red and dark fruits and berries, peppery spice character, and herbs, it can be paired sublimely with roast pork dishes or almost any kind of pasta.

Cabernet Franc Quick Guide

Cabernet Merlot

Actually a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes, cabernet merlot wines are medium to full bodied dry red wines that balance cabernet's high tannin structure with merlot's prominent dark and fruit and berry flavours together in one wine.

This wine often pairs best with heavy red meat dishes and meat pasta dishes due to its full character and flavour.

Cabernet Merlot Quick Guide

Easily the best producers of this blend of grapes in Australia are found in the state of Western Australia, where Margaret River wine producers are famous for making medium-bodied wines with solid tannin structure, moderate acidity, and juicy berry flavours.

Outside of Western Australia, South Australian wine producers from Coonawarra and Yarra Valley number amongst some of the top makers of this varietal blend. To learn more about this blend, read this article.

Carménère

With some of the most famous examples coming out of Chile, Carménère wines are light to medium bodied dry reds that possess moderate amounts of tannin and low to moderate levels of acidity.

Because of their strong flavours of red berries, gentle spice, vanilla, and herbs, these wines often match nicely with lightly roasted poultry or soft red meats, and meals with delicate amounts of hot spice.

Carménère Quick Guide

Cienna

A grape that Australia can lay claim to having first cultivated, cienna wines are moderately sweet and very fruity and light to medium bodied wines that are characteristically low in alcohol.

Having low tannins and only moderate levels of acidity, these wines are often recommended to be served chilled during summer and match well with a number of summer barbecue poultry or meat dishes or fruit salads.

Cienna Quick Guide

Dolcetto

Originally produced in Italy, dolcetto wines are examples of light to medium bodied dry to lightly sweet red wines that are quintessentially made to be had with food.

They often blend prominent flavours of dark fruits and berries and mild spice with lower levels of acidity and high tannins to make wines that are wonderfully paired with red meats or roast vegetable dishes with strong flavours or seasonings.

Dolcetto Quick Guide

Nebbiolo

Another Italian red wine varietal that is dry and medium to full bodied in nature, nebbiolo wines contain pronounced flavours of red fruit, exotic spice, and even dry clay.

Possessing a high tannin structure that is coupled with a high amount of acidity, they tend to match best with creamy cheeses or heavy red meat dishes with lots of fat, cheese, or a rich sauce.

Nebbiolo Quick Guide

Nero d'Avola

Growing prominently in Sicily, nero d’avola wines are characteristically medium to full bodied and very dry style red wines that exhibit strong flavours of dark berries and fruits, exotic spice, and peppery spice.

Due to their high tannin structure and moderate levels of acidity, they match perfectly with heavy red meats or juicy burgers.

Nero d'Avola Quick Guide

Rhône & GSM Blend

Standing for a blend of the grenache, shiraz, and mataro grape varietals, these wines, a favourite in the Rhône valley region in France, are medium to full bodied dry reds that blend flavours of herbs, peppery spice, and dark fruits and berries together in a wine with medium to high levels of acidity and tannin.

These wines typically pair wonderfully with many Mediterranean meat or tapas dishes and roast pork.

Rhône & GSM Blend Quick Guide

Sangiovese

With its roots in Italian wine making, sangiovese wines are medium to full bodied dry reds that are characteristically high in acidity and slightly less so in tannins.

With unique flavours of red cherry, herbs, peppery spice, and smoke, their high levels of acidity means these wines are often best paired with meat-based pizzas or pasta dishes.

Sangiovese Quick Guide

Zinfandel

Originating from Eastern Europe, Zinfandel wines are medium to full bodied dry to lightly sweet red wines that are often high in alcohol and rich in flavours of jammy berries, herbal spices, and delicate smokiness.

With a moderately high amount of tannins and low to moderate levels of acidity, these wines are perfectly matched with glazed ribs or any kind of spiced meat dish.

Zinfandel Quick Guide

There's a bottle of red wine out there for everyone. Here are some of the brands and bottles that we recommend you look out for the next time you're browsing online or in-store.

Frontera Carménère 2019 Tasting Notes
Light-bodied & very approachable in style, this is a dry but smooth wine with subtle hints of pepper alongside prominent dark fruits.

Frontera

2019 Central Valley Carménère
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Il Villaggio Nero d'Avola 2019 Tasting Notes
With its flavours of juicy blackcurrant & soft peppery spice, this wine is a great introduction to the world of Italian reds.

Il Villaggio

2019 Sicilian Nero d'Avola
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Serafino Bellissimo Nebbiolo 2017 Tasting Notes
A soft & approachable style of dry red wine, it has subtle tannins & acidity, making it crowd-pleasing & perfect for first-time drinkers.

Serafino Bellissimo

2017 McLaren Vale Nebbiolo
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Maison De La Villette Gamay 2018 Tasting Notes
A refreshingly acidic style of light red wine with no amounts of tannin, it has flavours of crisp red fruit, making it best served chilled.

Maison De La Villette

2018 French Gamay
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