While Pinot Noir is undoubtedly a classic and beloved wine, there are many other wine varieties worth exploring. Trying new wines allows you to expand your palate, and is a great way to explore different wine regions.
Today, Caves Wines Shop goes over 5 new red wines you must try if you love Pinot Noir. No offense to Pinot Noir, but there are many other similar reds that a wine lover must try to expand their palate and improve their wine knowledge.
How to Expand Your Red Wine Palate
If you’re looking to expand your red wine palate, there are a few things you can do now to broaden your horizons:
- Explore different wine regions and grape varieties.
- Join a wine club to learn about new red wines.
- Pair your wine with food to discover new flavor combinations.
- Ask for recommendations from your friends and colleagues who love wine and try new types of red wine.
5 New Red Wines to Try
These 5 red wines are great alternatives to Pinot Noir and will allow you to explore more of the world of wine while still finding a bottle that is light and fresh on the palate.
Wine 1: Grenache
This is a grape that is grown all over the world and can take on many different styles, but at its core, Grenache tends to produce wines that are juicy, bright, and refreshing. Look for more modern styles in Australia, South Africa, Spain, and the south of France to really understand the different faces of this wonderful wine.
This wine pairs well with beef, lamb, and rich pasta dishes.
Wine 2: Gamay
Gamay is the red grape of Beaujolais, the region located at Burgundy’s southern end that produces exceptional wines at great values. The Gamay grape typically makes a wine that is light in body, yet giving and fruit-forward. Look to some of the regions within Beaujolais, like Morgon, Juliénas, and Fleurie to experience the best of this wine.
If you’re a fan of light, juicy wines you need to give this a try.
Wine 3: Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is often misunderstood as a wine similar to its fuller-bodied offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is not always the case. In its homeland, the Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc produces wines that are a nice alternative to Pinot Noir - light and medium-bodied wines that are peppery and filled with bright red berry fruit. Look to Chinon and Bourgueil to find the very best.
Loaded with pyrazines, this wine pairs well with peppers and spicy food.
Wine 4: Pinot Meunier
A cousin of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier is found commonly as a blending grape in Champagne but is not always used to make single varietal wines - until more recently. Pinot Meunier has many similarities to Pinot Noir and often comes with a touch of earthiness that is very enjoyable. Expect the same delicate mouthfeel that Pinot Noir offers but with some subtle differences.
We love this as a Pinot Noir substitute. You can chill it down and pair it with a variety of foods, like duck or chicken.
Wine 5: Nebbiolo
If you love Pinot Noir for its incredible ability to age, develop and express the land that it comes from, then try Nebbiolo. The king of Italian wines responsible for Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, like Pinot Noir, is known for producing wines that are intoxicatingly aromatic and capable of aging for decades without struggle. Nebbiolo is bolder on the palate but at its best, it is a wine that never disappoints. Look to Barolo, Barbaresco, and Valtellina Superiore to experience the best of this beautiful grape variety.
Uncommon Red Wines Worth Buying
Here are some uncommon red wines worth buying to expand your palate and wine knowledge even further:
Blaufränkisch is a red wine grape primarily grown in Austria, although it also has a presence in Hungary and Slovakia. It’s known for its deep color and bold, spicy flavors characterized by plum, blackberry, and pepper. It pairs well with meats, stews, and cheeses.
Trousseau is a beautiful red grape variety that hails from the Jura region in eastern France. The cool climate of the Jura is known for producing exceptional wines that are light and delicate on the palate.
Rare Red Wine Varietals to Explore
Here are some more rare red wine varietals to explore:
A lesser known grape grown on the volcanic soils of Mount Etna in Sicily, Frappato makes wines that are earthy, light and delicious.
Mencia is grown in northwest Spain and produces a light, fresh red wine with flavors of red fruit, herbs, and mineral notes.
This grape variety grown in Greece produces a complex and age-worthy red wine that has flavors of red fruit, tomato, olive, and spice.
- Touriga Nacional
Grown primarily in Portugal, this grape variety is known for producing full-bodied and rich red wines with flavors of black fruit, chocolate, and spice.