Dry red wine is the most preferred among drinkers compared to rosé and white wine. It is considered the healthiest alcoholic drink and is easy to pair. Wondering what kind to place in your wine rack? Read on to discover 2020’s best dry red wines based on the verdict of wine-tasting experts.
Dry red wine is not sweet and has high tannin content that leaves a smooth mouthfeel. Wine-making grapes are grown in various regions of the world, including France, Italy, Spain, United States, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Australia, and South Africa.
What is dry red wine?
Dry red wine is non-sweet wine that has undergone the entire fermentation process. Its sugars are completely consumed by yeast during production. On the other hand, sweet red wine is produced when the fermentation process is halted prematurely hence leaving behind sugars.
Dry red wines are also characterized by high tannin levels, which make them taste better as they age. They can be paired with different types of food and can also be used to cook.
Top 20 dry red wine types of 2020
Dry red wine has always been a favourite choice among wine lovers. Which types have been popular in 2020 and will probably be preferred in 2021? Here are the top 20 best red wines based on expert tasting.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon brands are characterized by about 13% to 14% alcohol content and have a green bell pepper flavour. They also have other distinct aromas including black cherry, tobacco, mint, black currant, chocolate, and olives. In most cases, manufacturers blend it with other red wine types to get a hearty tannic feel.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow well in hot climates. They originated from Bordeaux France but are now grown in other regions, including the USA, Italy, Australia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, and Spain.
2. Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc wine is mostly blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, but it also tastes great on its own. It is characterized by earthy, vegetal, and fruity flavours. Cabernet Franc grapes do well in cold climates and are mostly grown in France, USA, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand.
3. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is softer and less tannic than most dry red wines. It is also lighter and more acidic. The grapes do well in dry climates and chalky or clay soil. They are common in the Burgundy region of France, Germany, Austria, Italy, South Africa, Chile, and New Zealand.
Merlot is one of the driest red wines available, and its grapes can adapt in various climates, which gives it varying fruity flavours. It tastes a lot like the Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot’s alcohol levels range between 13% and 14%, depending on the climate. The grapes are grown in France, Chile, California, and Australia.
Malbec is a deep purple-red and acidic wine with fruity flavours, including black cherry and plum. It is characterized by high alcohol levels of between 13% and 14%. Malbec tastes different depending on where the grapes are grown. Common regions are Argentina, France, USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
6. Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot is known for its violet and spice aromas. It is mainly blended in French Bordeaux style wines to add colour and tannin. Modern wine manufacturers have discovered that it also tastes great on its own. Apart from Bordeaux France, Petit Verdot grapes are also grown in Argentina, the United States, Australia, and Italy.
7. Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah wines have high levels of acidity and tannins. They have varying flavours, including blueberry, blackberry, espresso, black pepper, and plum. The Petite Sirah grape is grown in France, California, Australia, Mexico, Chile, and Israel.
Carménère dry red wines have up to 15% alcohol content with spicy, herbal, and red fruity flavours. This type of wine is best taken young and fresh to taste its rich fruitiness and mellow tannins.
Carménère grapes have a long growing season and do well in sunny climates. Chile is a leading global producer. You can also find it in small quantities in France, Italy, China, Australia, and New Zealand.
Sangiovese is characterized by cherry and plum aromas and has a unique tart finish. It has an alcohol level of between 13% and 14%. The wine is best enjoyed when you pair it with food, mostly meats.
Sangiovese grapes do well in hot and dry climates and are mostly grown in Italy. Other Sangiovese growing regions include France, Argentina, the United States, and Australia.
Tempranillo wines are ruby-coloured, have smooth tannins, low to medium acidity and can age for several decades. It can be manufactured alone or paired with other red grapes. Tempranillo grapes are mostly grown in Spain. You can also find vineyards in Mexico, California, and Portugal.
Syrah, also called Shiraz, is a dry dark red wine with distinctive flavours, including meaty with black pepper, blackberry, chocolate, blueberry, olives, and herbs. Shiraz is the sixth most grown grape across the globe and has its origins in France. It is now common among winemakers in South Africa, USA, and Australia.
Grenache wines, also called Garnacha in Spain, are characterized by red fruity flavours, violet floral scents, and have high alcohol content. Winemakers can produce 100% Grenache wines or blend them with more tannic grapes like the Syrah or Mourvedre. Grenache grapes do well in warm climates and are mostly grown in South Australia, Northern Spain, California, and Southern France.
Mourvedre, also called Mataro in the USA and Monastrell in Spain, is known for its dark purple colour, intense blackberry, and black currant flavour, as well as high tannin and alcohol content. It is mostly blended in other red wines, including Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah but tastes great as a varietal wine.
Mourvedre grapes are late-ripening hence require warm climates. They are mostly grown in Spain, France, USA, South Australia, and South Africa.
Cinsault wines have floral, fruity, and ripe strawberry notes. It is also light making it a perfect blend for red wines like Grenache and Mourvedre.
The total vineyard acreage under Cinsault has been declining over the years. The wine is majorly grown in the Southern Rhone Valley of France. Cinsault grapes are also grown in South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Australia, Morocco, and Corsica.
Nebbiolo is an Italian wine with a unique complexity compared to other red wines. It has an ethereal rose petal and is also high in tannins and acidity. The wine is often manufactured as a single varietal because it is hard to grow hence produced in low quantities.
Italy is the leading producer of the Nebbiolo grape. It is also planted in smaller quantities in California, South Africa, Chile, and South Australia.
Barbera is a juicy Italian red wine with a strong black fruity flavour and high acidity. Barbera grapes can grow in a variety of soils and can withstand hot climates. It is predominant in Italy but is also grown in hot regions of South Australia, Argentina, and California. Common brands are the Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti.
Gamay is a light-bodied French red wine with delicate fruity flavours and relatively high acidity. Gamay is best enjoyed when still young. Beaujolais and Loire Valley regions of France are the primary producers Gamay grapes. The grapes, which do well in cooler temperatures, are also planted in Canada and Oregon.
Zinfandel is a red light-bodied dry wine characterized by strawberry and red fruit flavours. It has an alcohol content of between 14% and 16% with medium acidity. The grape is mostly grown in California but has its origins in Croatia.
Beaujolais is light-bodied with fruity blackberry and cherry aromas, low-tannin levels, high acidity, and moderate alcohol content. Beaujolais wines are best enjoyed young and should not be aged for longer than seven years. The grapes are mostly grown in the Beaujolais region of France.
Lambrusco is an Italian sparkling red wine that is manufactured dry (secco) or sweet (dulce). It has a rich berry flavour and floral notes with an alcohol content of between 8% and 12%.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most common questions about the topic. Find out the answers to the questions as they provide some helpful information to our readers.
Is dry red wine healthy?
For decades, red wine has been believed to lower the risk of heart disease, improve gut health, lower body mass index (BMI), and possibly elongate lifespan. It has antioxidants called polyphenols that reduce inflammation in the body. These dry red wine benefits make it the healthiest alcoholic drink option, but only if taken in moderation.
Is dry red wine good for cooking?
Dry red wines can be used for stewing, deglazing pans, or flavouring desserts. Ensure you choose brands that have high acidity and lower tannin levels to avoid making bitter meals. The best dry wine for cooking includes Merlot, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir.
The best way to prepare your meal is to add wine to the food at the beginning of the cooking to ensure the alcohol burns off. Otherwise, your food will have an obnoxious wine taste.
Is Pinot Noir wine sweet or dry?
It is a dry red wine. It also has higher acidity and lower tannin levels compared to other red wines. These characteristics give it a smooth mouthfeel and also make it a better option for cooking.
Is Merlot red wine sweet or dry?
Winemakers manufacture Merlot as a dry red wine. A little residual sugar may be purposely left behind to make the wine rich and sweet. With or without a little sugar, Merlot has between 125 and 625 calories in a 750ml bottle because alcohol has calories.
Festivities are not complete without a great quality bottle of wine. Which dry red wine is your favourite? Get wine specials South Africa from leading wine stores across the country.
READ ALSO: Who owns Boulevard Rose?
Briefly.co.za earlier reported about Boulevard Nectar Rosé ownership. The brand gained recognition across South Africa following DJ Zinhle’s appointment as its new CEO in October 2020. The rosé wine brand is produced in the Rhone Valley of Southern France using the skin contact method.
South Africa is also recognized globally for its thriving New World wine industry. It has several wine-producing regions, including Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek Valley, Breede River Valley, Overberg, and others. Grapes grown here are the Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, and Chardonnay.