There’s nothing better than cozying up in the winter with a big glass of red wine. But do you find yourself always reaching for the same Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir? This year why not try some new red wines! There are hundreds of red wine varietals out there though, so it can be daunting to try to pick a new wine. So, I have the five red wines you should try in 2019.
Zinfandel is the wine that got me into reds! Back in 2011 I called a friend asking for a red wine recommendation and she suggested Dancing Bull. And I have been loving Zinfandels since! But lets be clear, I’m not talking about the white Zinfandel you drank back in high school. Red Zinfandel is a big, bold, smooth wine with jammy berry flavours and smoky finish. Most of the world’s Zinfandel is grown in California, so head straight to the California section and pick yourself up a bottle from Napa, Sonoma or Lodi Zin.
Do you like the smooth easy drinking characteristics of Merlot? When first planted in Chile, Carmenere was actually mistaken for the Merlot grape. The Carmenere grape was brought to Chile from France, but it wasn’t until 1994 that what was thought to be Chilean Merlot was actually discovered to be Carmenere. Similar to Merlot, it is medium bodied with berry flavours but Carmenere has a very distinct pepper characteristic. Carmenere wine has great value, so don’t be afraid to pay a visit to the LCBO’s Vintages section!
If you are a fan of lighter bodied reds like Pinot Noir then you must try Gamay! The Gamay grape will typically give floral, earthy and herbaceous flavours with low tannin and high acidity. Most of the world’s Gamay is grown in France, where it is most commonly referred to as Beaujolais. But Gamay is becoming more popular in other cool climate regions, like Canada’s Ontario wine region. As a Pinot Noir lover, drinking more Ontario Gamay is on my to-do list for 2019! But if this is your first time trying Gamay, start in the LCBO France Vintages section with a Beaujolais wine labelled as a Cru or Villages.
As you may know, I am still pretty intimidated by Italian wines. I was given a bottle of Amarone a few months ago and not knowing anything about it, I had no expectations. And I was blown away! Amarone is from the Valpolicella region in Italy and is known for it’s full-bodied richness and intense flavour concentrations. The process to create this wine requires double the amount of grapes which usually means a higher price point for these wines. But trust me, it is so worth it. If you have never tried Amarone, treat yourself and head straight for the LCBO Italy section and look for bottles labelled ‘Amarone Della Valpolicella’.
Grenache, or what in Spain is known as Garnacha, is for the smooth fruity wine drinker. Grenache is most commonly grown in the French Côtes du Rhône region, but is followed close behind by Spain. And for those first timers with Grenache, I think it is definitely the Spanish Garnacha you should try! Spanish Garnacha is known for it’s red fruit flavours and hints of spice. At one of my recent wine events, the Spanish Garnacha won as most popular wine! Plus, the price point for Garnacha is much more reasonable than it’s French counterpart.