A Beginner's Guide to Choosing Red Wine


If you enjoy a nice glass of red wine from time to time, you’ve probably wondered how to pick the best red wine. Do you call your local winery and ask for suggestions? Or do you simply look at prices and assume that the more expensive wines are better? Of course, there is some truth in that, and you can always ask those who are more experienced than you. However, the thing is, it’s all very subjective – what tastes good to one person can taste terrible to another. So, how do you choose the best red wine for you? Keep reading to find out.

What makes it good?

As mentioned, it depends on your personal taste. Some people prefer wines that are sweeter, some like stronger wines, while some prefer wines that are a bit fruitier. There are plenty of amazing wines, though, so what you need to do is find your sweet spot, and go from there. So, if you’re new to wines, consider trying out different types while focusing on the characteristics such as acidity, sweetness, body, etc. With that in mind, here are a few wines that should be a great starting point. Luckily, you can easily buy red wine online, and there’s no wine you can’t find on the Internet. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should spend your entire salary on a bottle of wine, but it simply means that you shouldn’t skimp on something you enjoy, if you really do.

Body – Syrah


Syrah (also known as Shiraz) is great for understanding the body of wine. Red wine is “heavier” than white due to its composition. Syrah is a good example of a full-bodied red wine, as it allows you to truly taste everything it’s made of, from dark fruit to chocolate or tobacco. So, if you’re looking for wine that is smooth, velvety, and rich in flavor, this is the one for you. It’s also perfect for romantic dinner dates, and if you do like it, you should also try Malbec.

Off The MRKT recomends Guigal 2015 Cotes du Rhone Rouge (SRP $15) – One of the world’s best value red wines made in the Northern Rhône style forgoes a traditional, lighter-style Grenache-based blend for a focus on bold Syrah. It is an especially full bodied, intense red with an exceptional value for the price.

Acidity – Pinot Noir

In order to understand acidity, you should definitely taste Pinot Noir. Pinot wines are quite popular because the tastes can be very surprising, and there are many different and unique aromas. The smell is fruity, and the acidity in the wine resembles the feeling you get when you taste lemonade or some fizzy drink. A good Pinot Noir should have just the right amount of acidity to match the fruity nature of the drink. So, if you like this wine, you will probably like other acidic wines as well, like Grenache, for example. Just keep in mind that if you really want to taste the acidity, you should choose one of the Old World styles of Pinot Noir.

Off The MRKT recommends Bonterra Organic Vineyards 2016 Pinot Noir (SRP $18) - A complex, bright, fruit forward Pinot Noir. This Pinot Noir has aromas of strawberry and raspberry, accented with hints of oak spice and vanilla. In the mouth, this wine is rich with nice soft tannins and flavors of berries, vanilla and spice that fade into a lovely long finish.

Alcohol – Zinfandel


Next, most red wines are high in alcohol, but if you want to truly understand its influence, you should try Zinfandel. The high alcohol content makes the wine taste much more intense, and the flavor can sometimes even be overwhelming. This is because the fruit is usually ripe when picked, which leads to higher alcohol content after the fermentation process. If you prefer this kind of wine, you should consider some other American wines too, like California Cabernets, for example.

Off The MRKT recommends Mouton Cadet Rouge, SRP: $14 The red wines (85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc) show full-fruited merlots, true to the Bordeaux tradition, and highly refined and very expressive cabernets. A full and firm attack, richly fruited and very smooth, the round and lush mid-palate reveals blackberry flavors and toasted notes, leading into a long and complex finish on expressive fruit.

Tannin – Cabernet Sauvignon

Finally, there is tannin. Tannins are responsible for your mouth feeling dry as you swallow the wine, and they are also known as being great antioxidants. Cabernet Sauvignon is a great example of a wine that is rich in tannins, and it’s also one of the most popular red wines in the world. It is full-bodied, rich in flavor, and it goes great with red meat. If you find this wine delicious, some other wines that you should try are Merlot, Chianti, and if you’re into the green pepper notes, Carménère.

If you like full-bodied drinks that are rich in flavor and go well with food, have no doubt that there is a perfect bottle of red wine waiting for you out there. When it comes to finding it, think of it as dating; give each type of wine a chance, don’t be afraid of playing the field a bit, and once you find the one, have no doubt that it’ll be worth it.

Off The MRKT Recommends Newton Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – Spring Mountain (SRP: $190) Part of a trio of new releases from Newton Vineyard, this single-origin Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the  Spring Mountain Vineyard in Napa Valley. This rich red wine is both balanced and wild, with hints of herbs, mulberry, and violets. Complex yet approachable, the Single Vineyard Spring Mountain Cabernet makes a perfect pairing with grilled red meat.


Have something you think should be featured contact us or email at Jeremy@offthemrkt.com to tell us more! Follow Off The MRKT on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.