Last updated: August 17, 2021

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Welcome! The vast universe of spirits has a lot to offer us, and wine lovers will find an endless number of options to choose from. And among all of them, red wine is not only one of the most popular, but also one of the most sought-after. And in this article we tell you all about this prestigious liquor. Red wine owes its name to its colouring and the variety it offers, the result of the different grape varieties with which it is prepared.

For connoisseurs, the difference between these grape varieties is abysmal, but without a doubt they all offer a good quality drink. And it is this same variety that provides culinary uses for this liqueur. As with all good things, it is not easy to buy. And not for lack of offers, but because there are many aspects to consider when choosing the right one. But don't worry, at we are here to help you, so by reading this article you will be able to clear all your doubts about the king of wines.


  • Red wine is one of the types of wine, a liquor known for its quality and medium to low alcohol concentration. It is prepared by fermenting the red grape variation, and the result is usually full-bodied liquors with strong woody flavours, resulting from the process of maturation in barrels.
  • Wines can be classified in different ways, but there are two main aspects to consider that have very different profiles: according to their ageing (young, crianza, reserva or gran reserva) and according to the grape from which they were made (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, malbec and sangiovese.
  • Buying red wine should not be a job for experts, as there are several simple criteria that will help you identify a quality wine, such as its aroma, taste and colour. Also the denomination of origin is a determining aspect to know the category of this liquor.

The Best Red Wine: Our Picks

Buying guide: what you need to know about red wines

Red wine is a complex liquor that should not be bought lightly to avoid disappointment. That's why before choosing one for yourself you should know a few things, such as the benefits it offers and the types you can opt for, as well as the budget you need and where you can find this liquor. We tell you about that and more.

Red wine is one of the favourite companions in meetings between friends, ideal to release stress and share good times. (Photo: Free-Photos /

What is red wine?

Red wine is one of the most popular and versatile variants of wine. Like all wines it is an alcoholic beverage resulting from the fermentation of grapes, and for this one in particular red grapes are used, hence its dark colour.

The elaboration of red wine is a delicate process, which requires precise conditions to give a high quality result. It has to consider everything from the ripeness of the grapes at the time they are harvested, to the condition of the barrels in which they are aged and the quality of the cork used to seal the bottles.

What are the benefits of red wine?

There is a widespread belief that wine is an elixir of life, and although this is not so accurate, it is true that the benefits of this liquor are many. They highlight its antioxidant and relaxing properties, with which a glass of red wine can improve any day.

But it is also important to know that red wine is the ideal accompaniment for many dishes, including red and white meats, as well as many vegetarian dishes. And it is used not only as a drink, but also as part of recipes. This makes red wine the drink of choice for many connoisseurs.

  • It is a versatile liquor
  • It is ideal to accompany many meals
  • There is a wide variety of offers
  • It has numerous health benefits
  • Its excessive consumption can cause addiction
  • Its purchase is limited
  • It can only be bought from authorised dealers

Young red wine, crianza, reserva or gran reserva - what should you pay attention to?

Red wine is characterised by various aspects, but one of the most striking and one of the first things you should take into consideration is the ageing process. The different ageing times result in a variety of 4 wines, with different profiles that change the consumer's experience.

  • Young red wine. These wines are also known as "vinos de año", due to their short maturation time. In general they are not taken to barrel for ageing, and the result is a wine with low alcohol concentration and not very robust body. The disadvantage is that they only retain their properties for a maximum of 2 years.
  • Crianza red wine. This is a wine that is matured in oak barrels, and it is also kept in bottles for some time before being marketed. These maturation processes are not extensive but they do give the drink more body.
  • Reserve red wine. This is a wine with a longer maturation time, but it only differs from the crianza wine because it ages one more year in the bottle. While it remains in the barrel for a year, the same as the crianza red. The results are finer wines with a slightly stronger flavour.
  • Gran Reserva red wine. These wines have a minimum maturation time of 5 years, 2 of which are spent in barrels and 3 in bottles. After this time they are marketed. It is a strong and full-bodied red wine.
Joven De crianza De reserva De gran reserva
Barrel ageing time None or very little 1 year 1 year 2 years
Bottle ageing time None or very little Up to 2 years Up to 3 years At least 3 years
Duration of properties 2 years maximum 5 to 10 years Up to 15 years More than 15 years
Vintages Small and young grapes Medium Medium Large
Volume of wine Barrels up to 200 Lts Barrels up to 330 Lts Barrels up to 330 Lts Barrels up to 330 Lts

What are the grape varieties and what do they influence?

Another important way to classify red wines is according to the grape variety. Different types of grapes result in different wines, the taste of which varies greatly from one grape variety to another. It cannot be said that one grape variety is better than another, but that each one has different properties that are equally appreciated by winemakers.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon. This is one of the most popular grape varieties in the world, and it has the special advantage that it can grow in a great diversity of climates, so it is produced in different latitudes around the world. Wines from this grape variety have a robust body and a penetrating flavour.
  • Merlot. This grape originated in the Bordeaux region, but its cultivation has spread. In fact, it is the second most sought after grape variety, because it produces very versatile wines and perfect accompaniment for many dishes.
  • Pinot Noir. The flavour of this grape variety stands out for its herbal tones, so it is often used to prepare and accompany seafood and poultry. It is originally from France, but nowadays its cultivation and production has spread to several regions of the world. It requires low temperatures for its growth.
  • Malbec. Another grape variety originally from France, but its cultivation has specialised in Argentina, where it is very popular and from where excellent quality red wines are exported. The light profile of these wines makes them ideal to accompany red sauces and grilled meats.
  • Sangiovese. This is a grape originally from Tuscany in Italy, but it is also produced in California. It is traditionally used for Mediterranean gastronomy, as it provides a delicious flavour to meat pairing.
Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Pinot Noir Malbec Sangiovese
Region France, USA, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Chile Bordeaux (France) France, USA, Spain, Australia and New Zealand Bordeaux (France) and Argentina Tuscany (Italy) and California (USA).USA)
Robustness and body Strong Medium Medium Light Light
Gastronomic use Red meat and heavy sauces Red meat pairing White meat (poultry and seafood) Red meat and tomato sauces Mediterranean food pairings
Flavour Cedar, mint and black cherries Plum, honey and mint Cinnamon, strawberries, violets and roses Dried fruit, chocolate, vanilla and plum Earthy flavour, with a sour cherry tone

What can red wine do for your health?

Red wine is so good that it even helps your health, what more could you ask for? But to choose one, it's not enough to know that it's good, you also need to know how it can benefit you specifically. We tell you about the different aspects that are benefited in your body by the moderate consumption of red wine.

  • It protects the gums. Certain compounds in red wine, once fermented, help prevent the growth of bacteria of the streptococcus family. People with weak or bleeding gums do well to accompany their meals with a glass of red wine, which will help them avoid infections.
  • Helps you lose weight. The wonders of red wine even help us to look good. There are compounds in this liquor that activate a gene in the body that prevents the formation of new fat cells, thus helping to avoid the accumulation of unnecessary fat in the muscles, what we call "the fatties".
  • It helps fight depression. Red also promotes the production of endorphins, a hormone that makes you feel relaxed and in a good mood. So moderate consumption can help people with depressive tendencies avoid serious episodes. The list goes on, as red wine has also been proven effective in improving heart health, increasing levels of Omega 3 in the body and preventing degenerative brain diseases. It is a wonderful elixir, but should not be used as a treatment for any of these conditions.

Red wine is a prestigious liquor extracted from the fruit of the vine: grapes. (Photo: Jill Wellington /

Buying criteria

Buying a red wine is not just a matter of choosing one and that's it, you have to evaluate several aspects that directly intervene in the quality of the liquor. Among these are the type of grape variety and the ageing of the wine, but there is more. We will tell you about these other criteria so that you can make a well-informed purchase.

Denomination of origin

Many spirits and gastronomic products have an appellation of origin, which is a certificate that ensures that the product was made in a specific region. This gives prestige and is a sign that the quality of the product is high, especially when it comes to liqueurs. Red wines are no exception to this, especially because the climate is a determining factor in the quality of the grape cultivation and consequently of the wine, and the latitude defines the climate.

Thus, grapes grown in different regions of the world offer wines with different profiles, even if they are made from grapes of the same variety. The world's major wineries, and some small and exclusive ones, have appellations of origin. Being a guarantee of high quality usually increases the cost, but it is a difference that is noticeable in the taste. To find out if the product has a Denomination of Origin, you only need to read the label carefully.


With wines it is not possible to establish a specific taste, as the profile depends on many aspects. But there are flavours in common, determined by the grape variety and by ageing. We will tell you about the latter, as they can indicate the quality of the wine. And don't worry, it's simple and you don't have to be a wine taster to distinguish them.

  • Young. These spend little or no time in oak barrels, so they do not have a marked oak flavour. They are also light in alcohol and acidic in tone. In general they are smooth wines with a red fruit flavour.
  • Crianza wines. These wines spend only 6 months in oak, so although the wood flavour is more pronounced than in young wines, it is still not predominant. On the other hand, the alcohol taste is deeper, and the red fruit flavour is maintained. Some have hints of mint and herbs.
  • Reserve. The flavour of these wines is marked by the year spent in oak barrels, so the wood is predominant. Red fruits are also present and may be accompanied by mint or vanilla, depending on the grape variety.
  • Gran Reserva. These also spend 1 year in oak barrels, which results in a deep woody flavour. However, this does not overshadow or dominate the fruity flavours, similar to those of red fruits.


The same applies to the aroma as to the taste: it is not possible to establish a specific aroma as in red wine. But there are also tones that are preserved and differentiated according to the ageing of the wine. We tell you about them so that you know what profile each one should have and how to differentiate between them.

  • Young. This type of wine is the lightest in all senses, as its aroma is not penetrating either. The wood tones are usually absent, but they have a soft alcohol aroma, which should be light.
  • Crianza. The wood aroma is present in these, but very light due to the short ageing time in oak barrels. Tones of mint may be present depending on the grape variety, but they always tend to have fruity aromas.
  • Reserve. The time spent in oak barrels deeply marks the aroma of the wood, and in these wines it is accompanied by the red fruit tones common in red wines. But it also has an aroma reminiscent of black plum.
  • Great reserve. Although it spends the same amount of time in oak barrels as the reserve wine, it has a different aroma. This is because the time spent ageing in the bottles allows the fruitier aromas to come to the fore. Some health specialists claim that a glass of wine a day provides the body with the necessary antioxidants.


Colouring is an aspect that can be defined more precisely than aroma and taste, since the profiles of the colour are marked according to the grape variety and ageing. We tell you in detail what the colouring of a red wine should be according to its ageing.

  • Young. As we said before: young wines are the lightest in every sense. They have a deep purplish red colour, due to the fact that they do not spend time in oak barrels, where the wine takes on more body, texture and consequently a darker colour.
  • Crianza. Once the wine spends time in oak barrels its tone darkens and intensifies, so these wines are usually ruby with violet tones. If it is lighter or less intense, it is an indication that it did not spend time in oak barrels.
  • Reserve. Reserve wines spend 2 years in oak barrels, this makes the wine more concentrated and its colour is more intense and darker than younger wines. These are the ones that come closest to their name, as they have a red wine colour.
  • Gran Reserva. Due to the long time spent in oak barrels, these wines acquire a very intense colour, which is accentuated with the time spent bottled and becomes similar to a dark purple. The colour is so deep that the young and aged wines have a "diluted" appearance in comparison.

(Featured image photo: serezniy /