Here's my selection of the more important red wine varietals. Click on each bar to learn more about each varietal

SHIRAZ/SYRAH - A hearty, spicy wine

Origin
The Shiraz/Syrah grape was once thought to have originated in Persia, but DNA testing by Dr. Carole Meredith of the University of California has shown that Shiraz is a native of the Rhone Valley in France and not Persia. It is true however that Shiraz was a city that made wine for centuries until the 1979 revolutionThe grape is called Syrah in the US, France and many countries. In Australia it is called Shiraz and is the most widely planted red grape in Australia.

But do not confuse Syrah with Petite Syrah, also known as Durif in Australia and France, which is a different grape varietal.
Other countries besides France and Australia that that produce Shiraz are the US (California and Washington state), South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and New Zealand.

Characteristics
Shiraz (Shi-Rahz) and Syrah (Si-Rah) are the same grape. It produces a hearty, spicy red wine and has a smooth and supple texture, with fairly high tannins. It is a full-bodied wine with its colour spanning from ruby red to inky purple. It is rich and complex and is capable of considerable aging.
Australian Shiraz is made in every conceivable style, from light and fruity to dense and tarry. It is made as a deep red, tannic sparkling wine, and also as a fortified “Port”.
In the Rhone Valley of France, it is blended with other varietals such as Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault which can be found in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Languedoc-Roussillon and Gigondas.
In the northern Rhône, the most extraordinary expressions of the grape are produced, especially in Hermitage and Côte Rôtie where its peppery, dense, spicy fruit is layered into unbelievably complex wines streaked with mineral, smoked meat, tar, wild herb, and leather.
A great bonus to drinking Syrah is that it has one of the highest levels of antioxidants.
Old World Syrah’s from Italy and France tend to have more acidity and earthy-herbaceous aromas. New World-styled Shiraz wines from Australia, the U.S. and South America usually have more fruit-driven characteristics with lots of spice.

Flavours
It has dark fruit flavours from sweet blueberry to savory black olive. When you taste Syrah you’ll be greeted with a punch of flavor. This is evidenced by notes of
black pepper, raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries, black cherries, plums, raisins, prunes, figs, tobacco, violet, chocolate, mushrooms, leather, cinnamon, clove and allspice

Food Pairing
Roast Beef
Brisket
Beef stew Steaks
Lamb
Strong hard cheeses

PINOT NOIR - lighter, medium bodied, lush and soft with a silky texture

Origin
Pinot Noir was first widely planted in France (Burgundy and Champagne regions) as is planted in other counties such as US (Oregon and California), Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Germany, Italy, South Africa Moldova, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Greece, Georgia, Hungry, Israel, Chile and Slovenia.

Characteristics
Pinot Noir (pronounced Pee-no-nwah) is derived from the French words for pine and black; the pine alluding to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit. It is a lighter-medium bodied red wine with higher acid and softer tannins that some it’s bigger counterparts.
Pinot Noir is lush and soft with a silky texture. Simply put Pinot Noir it is delicate, sexy, elegant and pretty and the least predictable of all. It is one of the most challenging varietals to make into wine, as it is a fragile grape (has a thin skin) and therefore sensitive to climate changes. For this reason it requires exceptional skill from winemakers to make a top Pinot Noir and commands high prices from the more exclusive wineries.
The wonderful red wines of Burgundy in particular are made from the Pinot Noir grape. It is also one of the principal components in champagnes together with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It can age for decades despite its gentile nature and expresses itself in many distinctive ways

Flavour
Pinot Noir has a wide range of expression from notes of red fruit (strawberries, cherries, raspberries, currants, black cherry, cranberry and plums) to those of beetroot, rhubarb, mushroom, tomato leaf, spice, chocolate and ceder.

Food Pairing
Pinot pairs with chicken, pork, veal, duck, cured meat, cheeses (Brie, Camembert and Gruyere), lamb, turkey, salmon and tuna.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON - possesses extreme depth, richness, concentration and longevity

Origin
After the birth of the grape, the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal began to be adopted in parts of France by winemakers searching for more durable plants that were relatively easy to grow, and the grape found its champion in the region of Bordeaux.
It is the base grape for many red Bordeaux and many of the best red wines from California, Washington, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina and South Africa.
Characteristics
Cabernet Sauvignon (pronounced Cab-ur-nay Soh-veen- yon), was born from a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc varietals in the 17th century in Southwest France.
Known as the king of red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is responsible for the great red Bordeaux wines of France where it is often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec creating the infamous Bordeaux blend. California and many other states and countries including Australia and Chile make proud of this varietal. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape varietal known for its thick, durable skin, and the vine’s resistance to the elements. It’s colour ranges from dark ruby red to dark purple. It is a powerful, tannic red grape and late ripening. It produces a deep colored wine with assertive tannins and has an affinity to oak and often produces wines capable of aging for decades.

Due to the high tannin structure particularly when young it can be somewhat rough and edgy. Cabernet Sauvignon however possesses extreme depth, richness, concentration and longevity. Great Cabernet needs both oak and bottle aging to bring it into harmony.

Flavours
Black cherries, black currants, raspberry, mocha, cassis, plums, herbs, mint, tobacco, cedar, eucalyptus and leather

Food Pairing
Pairs well with beef, lamb, steaks, roast, cheddar, parmesan, mushrooms and dark chocolate

MERLOT - soft texture, medium bodied, easy tannins and great food pairing

Origin
Hailing from the Bordeaux region of France Merlot was first discovered in 1784.
Counties producing this varietal include the US (California predominantly), Chile, France (Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon regions), Italy, Spain. Portugal, many Eastern European countries, Argentina, South Africa, Switzerland, Greece and Israel.

Characteristics
Merlot (pronounced Mehr-low) is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird probably a reference to the color of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness" combined with its earlier-ripening makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.
It is a very popular red wine with a softer texture than Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium bodied, red fruits, easy tannins and a soft finish are the characteristics of Merlot wine. But there’s more to Merlot than being smooth. It’s actually a bit of a chameleon, partly because of how Merlot is vinified and mostly because of where it’s grown.
In France, it is almost always blended with other grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and sometimes Malbec and/or Petit Verdot.

Merlot was a popular varietal in the 1990s but too many insipid, watery and cheap commercial Merlot’s started to give the varietal a bad reputation. It’s time to set the record straight, Merlot is a first class grape varietal. Not only does it command the highest respect in the wine world, Merlot also tastes great food pairing wine.

Flavours
Black cherries, blackberries, currants, plums, mocha, cedar, vanilla, minerals, tobacco and mint

Food Pairing
Merlot wine matches with a wide variety of foods because of its position in the middle of the red wine spectrum. In general Merlot pairs well with chicken and other light meats as well as lightly-spiced dark meats. With medium tannin and not too much acidity you’ll find Merlot pairs well with many foods such as ham, pork, veal, turkey, fish, roast beef and cheddar.

GRENACHE - High alcohol and low acidity, very fruity, spicy and bold-flavoured and is medium to full bodied in weight.

Origin
The grape is known as Cannonau in Sardinia, where it is claimed that it originated there and spread to other Mediterranean lands under Aragon rule.
Other Grenache producing areas include Alella, Priorat, Roussilon, Rhone, Sardinia and Rioja.

Characteristics
Grenache (Pronounced Gren- ash) is one of the most widely planted red grapes in the world.
Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where it is typically over 80% of the blend.
The Garnacha grape (termed Garnacha in Spain) was born in the northern region of Spain known as Aragon. There, the grape began to be cultivated and was originally used for both single varietal wines as well as for blending

An early-ripening grape, it tends toward high alcohol and low acidity. It creates very fruity, spicy and bold-flavoured and is medium to full bodied in weight.
It is also know as Alicante, Cannonau, Garnacha tinta and Grenache Noir.

Flavours
Grenache expresses in berry flavours of strawberries and raspberries, notes of white pepper, cherry and sometimes spicy notes.
Depending on where it’s grown, Grenache can have aromas of orange rinds and ruby-red grapefruit. When Grenache is grown in regions such as Côtes du Rhône and Sardinia, it can have herbal notes of dried oregano and tobacco.

Food Pairing
The spice in Grenache makes it a perfect pairing buddy to spiced and herb foods including roasted meats, stews, vegetables, goulash, mild curries, macaroni cheese and many ethnic foods.
A high-alcohol Grenache can help reduce the burn of spicy food.

SANGIOVESE - Lightly colored with high acid, the most famous grape of Italy

Origin
Sangiovese is a red grape native to Tuscany. It is extremely popular in Italy where it is the base grape for Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano.

Characteristics
Sangiovese (pronounced San-gee-o-veysi) is a red Italian wine grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jove". It is the grape of most of central Italy from Romagna down to Lazio, Campania and Sicily.

Chianti is made primarily of the Sangiovese grape. (Chianti Classico must be made of 75 to 100 percent Sangiovese). The most famous grape of Italy is Sangiovese, responsible for three great wines of Tuscany: Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino.
Sangiovese-based wines are usually lightly colored with high acid, light body and moderate to high tannins.
Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, it is also a major grape in many of the prestigious wines known as the Super Tuscans. Sangiovese is also produced in California.

Flavours
The dominating characteristics are commonly red cherry, violets, raspberries, anise, tobacco, plums, spice, mocha, tar and roses and tea.
What I find particularly interesting about Sangiovese is its ability to present such a diverse range of flavours from the light savoury characters to the earthy and rustic notes.

It often exhibits cherry flavours with more subtle notes of tomato.

Food Pairing
Sangiovese pairs with a wide range of foods because of its medium weighted body and savory character.
A Sangiovese with will work well with rich roasted meat, cured sausages, hard cheeses, pasta, gnocchi with sage and butter, pork, grilled vegetables, pizza and prosciutto.

ZINFANDEL - Medium or full-bodied red wine creating a big, ripe red wine

Origin
Zinfandel also known as Primitivo, originated in Croatia. The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, where it became known by variations of the name "Zinfandel", a name that is purported to have an Austrian origin.

Characteristics
Zinfandel (pronounced Zin-fun-del), can be a medium or full-bodied red wine creating a big, ripe red wine that comes with some of the highest alcohol content of any red wine on the market (between 14 and 17 percent). It is capable of long aging with full tannins.

Zinfandel is a wine truly made famous by California. Planted in over 10 percent of all Californian vineyards, the Zinfandel grape is an important player in the California red wine industry,
It can also be made into a light style, slightly sweet wine called White Zinfandel. A Port style wine is sometimes produced from the Zinfandel grape.

Flavours
Californian Zinfandels have come to be known for their jammy, fruity characteristics however the taste of the red wine depends on the ripeness of the grapes from which it is made. Red berry fruit flavors like raspberry predominate in wines from cooler areas, whereas blackberry, anise and pepper notes are more common in wines made in warmer areas and in wines made from the earlier-ripening Primitivo clone.
A broad, exotic array of fruits from red fruits (raspberry, sour cherry), to blue (plum, blueberry), to black (blackberry, boysenberry, cherry), sweet tobacco, raisin, prune and pepper.

 Food Pairing
Zinfandel pairs well with chicken, pork, cured meat, lamb, beef, barbecue, Italian, Thai, Indian, full-flavored cheese (cheddar and Manchego) and ham

MALBEC - Brings a very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavor component to add complexity to claret blends.

Origin
Malbec was born in France where it was primarily used as a blending grape in the country’s famous Bordeaux blend. While the grape had excellent potential to be made into the pure Malbec wine we know today, only the French region of Cahors (Southwest France) did so.

In the present day it is increasingly celebrated as an Argentinian varietal wine and is being grown in numerous countries around the world.

Characteristics
The Malbec grape is a thin-skinned grape and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It ripens mid-season and can bring very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavor component to add complexity to claret blends.
The Malbec grape has robust tannins and an inky dark color and is one of the six grapes that are permitted in a Bordeaux red blend (together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carmenere). The French plantations of Malbec are now found primarily in Cahors in South West France. It is increasingly celebrated as an Argentine varietal wine and is being grown around the world.

Malbec is a wine that seemingly came out of nowhere over the past ten years and quickly has become one of the most popular red wine, It is a crowd-pleaser, easy to drink, with a ton of juicy fruit flavours.
Malbec has risen to prominence in Argentina, where it makes spicy, tart red wines that take well to aging in new oak barrels.
Known for its plump dark fruit flavours and smoky finish, Malbec wine offers a great alternative to higher priced Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Flavours
Malbec exhibit aromas of tobacco, raisin, blackberry, cherry, plums, black pepper, dark berry and chocolate. 

Food Pairing
Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec doesn’t have a super long finish. Because of this, Malbec is great with leaner red meats. The wine does extremely well with funky flavours like blue cheese and rustic flavours like mushrooms and cumin spice.
It pairs well with tomato based pasta, BBQ pork, pizza, roast meats and spicy foods (Mexican or Spanish dishes).

MOURVEDRE - Full-bodied and rustic wine, darkly coloured, thick-skinned berry with notes of leather, herbs and spice.

Origin
Mourvèdre also known as Mataro and Monastrell, is likely to be Spanish in origin, though its exact history is difficult to pinpoint. The Phoenicians introduced the variety to Catalonia around 500 BC.
Other countries producing the wine are Australia, US(California) and South Africa.

 Characteristics
Mourvedre (pronounced More-ved-ray) is a full-bodied and rustic wine, darkly coloured, thick-skinned berry that tends to produce tannic wines with notes of leather, herbs and spice.
The grape reaches its best level of ripeness in warm, sunny, dry and even hot climates.
It is a prominent component in "GSM" blend (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre). The variety is also used to make rosé and port-style fortified wines.
This Mediterranean red grape is especially popular in France and Spain, making medium-bodied, lightly spicy wines with pretty, cherry-flavored fruit. The best sites also add a distinctive, gravelly minerality to the fruit.

Flavours
On the nose, Mourvedre has aromas of spice, violet, black pepper, dark fruit and thyme.
In regions such as Bandol, France and Jumilla, Spain, Mourvedre wine can have a very gamey, leathery and cinnamon taste.

Food Pairing
Mourvedre pairs will with beef short ribs, pork shoulder, barbeque, lamb, rabbit, pork sausage and veal.
It also complements lentils, wild rice and shitake/portabello mushrooms.

GAMAY - Light with high acidity and tart flavors of red fruits

Origin
The Gamay grape is thought to have appeared first in the village of the Gamay, south of Beaune, in the 1360s. Gamay is also grown extensively in the Loire Valley around Tours where it is typically blended with Cabernet Franc and Côt a local clone of Malbec.
Other countries producing Gamay’s are Canada, US, Italy and New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia.

Characteristics
Gamay (Gam-may) also known as Beaujolais (Boh-zho-lay) is a light-bodied red wine usually a little lighter than a Pinot Noir.
It has fruit driven flavours (raspberry, cherry an strawberry) and is a very easy drinking wine. It can be drunk young and with modest aging can produce a deeper body and flavours. It’s usually more affordable than Pinot Noir and a great alternative if you prefer a lighter weight, juicy and low alcohol wine.

The red Beaujolais wine is a Gamay and takes on the name of the region instead of the name of the grape. The wines are loved for their delicate floral aromas, subtle earthy notes, and surprising ability to pair with ligher style foods.

Flavours
Aromas of cherries, iris, raspberry and plum, forest floor, smoke, cranberry, mushrooms, bubblegum. On the palate, the wine is light with high acidity and tart flavors of red fruits along with a subtle bitter note on the finish.

Food Pairing
Roast turkey with cranberry sauce
Grilled salmon fillet with roasted fennel
Moroccan lamb tagine with apricot
Ham, Pork and chicken pair well too

NEBBIOLO - A full-bodied red wine

Origin
Nebbiolo is a grape varietal native to the Piedmont region In Italy although some DNA evidence suggests that it may have originated in Lombardy, located to the east.
It is thought to derive its name from the Italian word nebbia which means "fog." During harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where many Nebbiolo vineyards are located.

Characteristics
Nebbiolo (pronounced Neb-bee-oh-low), is the principal grape of Barolo, Barbaresco and Gattinara (all in the Piedmont region of Italy), it’s unquestionably belongs with the great red wines of the world.
Nebbiolo is a full-bodied red wine more famously known by the two production regions of Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy where it is revered as the king of red wine.
Barolo and Barbaresco can only be made in a few villages in the region of Piedmont. If the winemaker’s vineyard is not located in one of those villages, you can’t make Barolo or Barbaresco.  But the Nebbiolo grape is planted extensively throughout the region, not just in the villages that use it to create the high-end wines.

Nebbiolo has a great amount of acidity, mouth-drying tannins and earthy flavours.

Flavours
The experience of Nebbiolo wines can be quite a deceptive because the floral, light red fruit aromas suggest the wine is much lighter than it is. On the palate however, you experience leathery, gripping high tannins. Despite this tannic structure, the wine’s flavours of cherry, tar, plum and raspberries are accompanied with aromas of rose and anise.
In cooler years, Nebbiolo gets a bit herbaceous with more sour cranberry fruit, rose hip and leather and red clay minerality.

Food Pairing
With Nebbiolo’s delicate aromas but bold tannin, you’ll want to seek out less-gamey meats that have enough fat to absorb the ample tannin.
The wine’s high acidity gives it the opportunity to match against higher acid foods with saltiness and perhaps vinaigrette-based sauces, but remember to balance by adding enough butter, fat or olive oil to compliment the wine’s tannin.
It will pair well with prime rib roast, rack of lamb or rich mushroom lasagne.

CABERNET FRANC - Medium-bodied red wine with savory, bell pepper-like flavors, medium-high acidity and a mouthwatering taste.

Origin
Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais (Bordeaux) region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century after which cuttings were transported to the Loire Valley.
Other countries producing Cabernet Franc are Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Hungary, Canada, Bulgaria, Croatia and most recently China.

Characteristics
Cabernet Franc (pronounced Cab-err-nay fronk) is one of my favourite varietals and is a medium-bodied red wine with savory, bell pepper-like flavors, medium-high acidity and a mouthwatering taste.
Cabernet Franc shares DNA with Cabernet Sauvignon. But there are numerous differences between the grapes. Cabernet Franc ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. On average, Cabernet Franc will ripen about one week before Cabernet Sauvignon. This makes the grape better suited to slightly cooler climates and cooler vintages than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Historically, Cabernet Franc was primarily used as the third and smallest minority ingredient in the production of the coveted Bordeaux blend, contributing finesse to the wine by adding a peppery, earthy and herbaceous component, even when it may make up as little as 5 percent of the blend.

But over the past few decades the grape has begun to be used to create fantastic 100 percent Cabernet Franc wines,
Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc is part of the essential blending that makes up a Bordeaux blend red wine. Cabernet Franc over the recent past is becoming more recognised as a stand alone wine.

It is also the key component together with Sauvignon Blanc that makes a Cabernet Sauvignon varietal and hence a closely related cousin.

Flavours
The aroma of the wine is considered spicy, with additional smells of violets and tobacco and vegetal flavours of green pepper. In addition earthy, black olive, coffee and blueberry notes are evident.

Food Pairing
Cabernet Franc is an ideal food pairing wine
Cabernet Franc’s vegetal characteristics make it the perfect complement to gamey meats such as lamb, rabbit, duck and venison, but it’s just as at home with turkey and chicken as well.
Its higher acidity makes it possible to pair with tomato-based dishes, vinegar-based sauces, smoky BBQ or rich veggies like black beluga lentils.

CINSAUT - dark skinned grape, delivering floral and ripe strawberry notes coupled with a strong aromatic quality

Origin
The Cinsualt grape varietal originated from the Herault area of the Languedoc-Roussilion region in France.
Other countries producing the grape are Algeria, Australia, Corsica, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa.

Characteristics
Cinsault (Pronounced Sin-Sow) also spelt Cinsaut, is a dark skinned grape ripens early and delivers floral and ripe strawberry notes. It has a low level of tannin and acidity, coupled with a strong aromatic quality
It is most often used as a blending partner with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre to make a Southern Rhone blended wine.
France has more Cinsaut planted (50,000 hectares) than Cabernet Sauvignon
It is fairly unusual to see Cinsaut produced as a varietal wine, except as a rosé, in which it expresses itself as a light, aromatic and refreshing wine
In Morocco, Cinsaut is the leading grape variety in terms of production levels. The grape is tolerant of extremely hot, dry climates, which explains much of its success in North Africa and the Middle East.
In 1925 Cinsaut was crossed with Pinot Noir to create what has become South Africa's signature grape variety, Pinotage, which now overshadows Cinsaut in the vineyards of the Western Cape.

Flavours
Cinsault delivers floral and ripe strawberry notes coupled with a strong aromatic quality

Food Pairing
It pairs well with hot smoked salmon fillets (rosé), Moroccan lamb with prunes and apricots (red) as well as Escargot.
It’s also works quite well in pairings with stews, braised and roasted meat dishes like beef, lamb, goat, beef, duck, chicken and pork.

CARIGNAN - Expresses high tannins, acid and depth of colour

Origin
Carignan originated in Cariñena, Aragon in Spain and was later transplanted to Sardinia.
The grape reached Algeria where it became a high yielding "workhouse" variety that was widely exported to France to add colour and weight to French wine blends.
The variety was historically a component of Rioja’s red wine blend.
Other countries growing this varietal are Croatia, Greece, Australia, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.

 Characteristics
The Carignan (pronounced Ca-ree-yon) grape can express high tannins, acid and depth of colour. This makes it an excellent addition to red wine blends that have plenty of aroma and flavor, but lack body and depth of color.
In France, Carignan was the most-planted grape variety from the 1960s-2000, but huge vine-pull schemes in the 1980s nearly halved the grape's total acreage by the turn of the century. Merlot has now the top spot.
Around three-quarters of France's Carignan is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, where it is largely produced as Vin de Table (Table Wine).
It has a high tannin and acid structure and the softening effect of carbonic maceration allows it to be drunk reasonably young.

Flavours
Carignan flavours are of dark and black fruits, pepper, licorice, and spicy and savory accents. Expect medium to lengthy finishes, cassis, cracked pepper, leather saddle, olive, dry forest floor and tobacco notes.
It has dry herb notes over red and black fruit and its tannins create an astringent mouth-feel and can display bitterness on the palate.

Food Pairing
Peppery sausage, spicy lamb meatballs, eggplant lasagne, Morrocan lamb tagine and grilled pork chops.

BARBERA - Strong fruit flavours and aromas, especially black cherry.

Origin
Barbera originated in Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy in the thirteenth century.
The variety has traveled widely in the past two centuries and is grown in Australia, Argentina and California.

Characteristics
Barbera (pronounced Bar-beh-rah) is most common in the Asti and Alba regions in Piedmont.
It is the second most widely planted red variety in Italy after Sangiovese with fifteen times more acreage than Nebbiolo.
Barbera grapes produce rich, red wines with strong fruit flavours and aromas, especially black cherry. Other characteristics of wines made with Barbera grapes include low, mild tannins and high acidity, which produces a crisp taste.
Barbera is an unusual grape variety. It is an early-maturing variety and its juice has a dark ruby colour with pronounced acidity, pink rim, wonderful berry-like aromas and flavours and discreet tannins.

Flavours
Barbera has flavours of cherries, strawberries and raspberries, and when young can have intense aromas of blackberries as well.
Other notes of sour cherry, lavender, nutmeg, anise, violet, dried leaves and incense can be evident.

Food Pairing
Barbera is a perfect wine to pair with rich foods like cheeses, meats and earthy mushrooms.
Rich dark meats, Thai duck noodle soup, herb-crusted lamb rack, mushroom pizza with truffle oil, herbs, blue cheese complement the wine.

TEMPRANILLO - medium to full-bodied red wine with lower acidity and full fruit flavour

Origin
Tempranillo is native to northern Spain. The two major regions that grow Tempranillo are Rioja, in north central Spain, and Ribera del Duero, which lies a little farther to the south.

Characteristics
Tempranillo (pronounced Tem-pra-nee-oh) is the most widely planted red wine grape in Spain
Tempranillo grape produces medium to full-bodied red wine which are characterized by lower acidity and full fruit flavour. Tempranillo wines are relatively high in tannin due to their thick skins.
The vines have a short growing season and this early ripening factor explains the origin of the grape’s name, Tempranillo means “little early one”. It prefers a cooler climate, as in hot climates the fruit tends to develop indistinct flavours and some undesirable characteristics.
The most famous Spanish Rioja wines are made predominantly from Tempranillo and often blended with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano.
It is also a key blending varietal in Port, known by the name of tinta roriz in Portugal's Douro Valley.

Flavours
Tempranillo wines are ruby red in colour, while aromas and flavours include berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb

 Food Pairing
Tempranillo is a food-friendly wines because of their fruit and earthy flavours, firm tannins and balanced acid levels.
A good tip when it comes to food and wine pairing is that the food from the region typically compliments the wine from the region (e.g. Sangiovese and spaghetti). Tempranillo pairs well therefore with Spanish style dishes (paella, tapas, chorizo) and other strongly flavoured foods.
Other pairings include, spice lamb chops, herb-crusted beef tenderloin and steak with shallots and mushrooms.

CARMENERE - Medium-bodied with a velvety texture.

 Origin
The Carménère grape is a wine grape variety originally planted in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France.
A member of the Cabernet family of grapes, the name "Carménère" originates from the French word for crimson (carmin), which refers to the brilliant crimson colour of the autumn foliage prior to leaf-fall. Today, Chile maintains the largest planting of Carmenere in the world. The grape first gained popularity in the South American country when cuttings were brought over from Bordeaux around 1850.

Characteristics
Carmenere (pronounced Car-men-yair) wine has a deep red purple colour and intense aromas of ripe red fruit.  Its flavour is reminiscent of cherries and wood and tannins are gentle and ripe. It is medium-bodied with a velvety texture.
Carmenere although it is related to Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere has more velvety and sweeter tannins, its fruit is riper and acidity is lower.
Although mostly used as a blending grape, wineries do bottle a pure varietal Carménère.

Flavours
Carménère wine has a deep red color and aromas found in red fruits, spices and berries. The tannins are gentler and softer than those in Cabernet Sauvignon and it is a medium body wine
It imparts a cherry-like, fruity flavour with smoky, spicy and earthy notes and a deep crimson colour. Its taste might also be reminiscent of dark chocolate, tobacco, and leather.

 Food Pairing
Carmenere pairs well with smoked, grilled or roasted meats, chicken, pork, lamb, beef, veal, wild boar, venison, and strong hard cheeses.