Red wines come in many unique styles, the most obvious difference being dry and sweet. The dryness or sweetness of a wine depends on its mount of residual sugar. The vast majority of red wines available are dry, meaning they have little to no sugar. It would be nearly impossible to create a complete listing of every type of dry red wine, but the basic categories are easy to define.
Classic French Reds
Many of the world's most famous and highly regarded dry red wines come from old France, and most of those come from three major regions: Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. Bordeaux red wines are blends of several grapes, mainly cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. Red wines from Burgundy are made exclusively from pinot noir. In the northern Rhone, red wines are made from syrah, while southern Rhone wines can be blends of as many as 13 grapes like the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape but are predominantly made from grenache. The best of the wines from these
Other Old World Reds
Italians create many well-known dry red wines in two main regions: Piedmont and Tuscany. The major Tuscan grape is sangiovese, which produces the ubiquitous Chianti, as well as the more refined Brunello di Montalcino. When sangiovese wine is blended with wine from non-Italian grapes, the wines are dubbed "Super Tuscans" and are usually wines of great quality and high prices. In Piedmont, the king of all grapes is nebbiolo, which produces such distinguished red wines as Barolo and Barbaresco, Italy's most complex and robust wines made for long aging. Spain produces some high-quality reds from the tempranillo grape, including notable wines from Rioja and Priorat.
Countries all over the world have jumped into the wine-making game, many with great success at producing dry red wines. In California, Napa Valley produces reds dominated by cabernet sauvignon that rival the quality of their classic French cousins. California is also known as zinfandel country, one of the few places in
Unusual Dry Reds
Aside from these basic reds, keep an eye out for a few emerging, unusual wines. South Africa created a grape from a cross of pinot noir and cinsault, called "pinotage." Since pinot noir is almost never blended, this wine is interesting in that it gives drinkers the chance to experience a new side of pinot. Another unusual dry red wine comes from the Veneto region of Italy - Amarone. This wine is made from grapes that have been dried, or raisinated, through a process called appassimento. They are then turned into a wine that has a bitter, concentrated flavor.
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