Wine 101

Basic Wine Varieties

A guide to the big six―the most common grape varieties found in the United States―and foods to pair them with.

Bottles of wineMark Lund

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Reds

Pinot Noir
A delicate, light-bodied wine that has a silky texture without the “chewiness” that comes from a lot of tannins. (Tannins leave a dry, fuzzy feeling on your tongue, similar to the sensation you get when you bite the skin off of a grape.)

Pairs well with: Nearly anything. This versatile wine works with steak, strong-flavored, meatier fish like tuna or salmon, grilled chicken, turkey, or vegetarian dishes.

 

Merlot
Medium-bodied, with an uncomplicated fruitiness that is often described as “jammy” and a taste that’s reminiscent of plums or cherries.

Pairs well with: Pasta, lamb, and red meat.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon
Big and bold with a rich, velvety texture and a lot of tannins, which allow it to age well in the bottle. Flavors include notes of coffee, chocolate, and tobacco.

Pairs well with: Strong cheeses like Maytag Blue, and heavy, gamy foods such as steak, veal, and sausage.

 

  
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Quick Tip

2007 Jargon Pinot Noir

Red wines are best served at 58° F to 68° F, so pop them in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before sipping. Get more tips.