Red Wine Basics

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Sommelier Jordan Salcito explains the differences in between different red wines, both better known and in up-and-coming wine regions. Whether trying the light Gamay Beaujolais or the fuller body Malbec Argentinean wine, Salcito offers excellent pairing sure to tantalize your tastebuds.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jordan Salcito, you're watching eHow.com. Today, we're going to talk about red wines. So, I have here a selection of some of the more popular grapes, some of the more well known grapes. And also, a few of the more obscure ones. The first wine is a Gamay from Beaujolais. Beaujolais is the southern most region of Burgundy in France, Gamay is the grape here. Which is little bit different, because Pinot noir is the grape of all of the rest of Burgundy. Beaujolais gets a bad rap, there is Nouveau Beaujolais, which is great, it comes out right after the harvest. It's meant to drink right away, but it's not really meant for aging. Gamay can be a really serious grape, and it is an incredible value. So, this is from one of the Cru, there are ten Cru Beaujolais. Cru in this case just means town. So, Cru means different things in France, but in Beaujolais, Cru refers to one of the top ten best areas for growing Gamay. This is from the Cru of Fleurie, just known for being really light and elegant and refreshing, very, very floral. So, this is a great wine to pair with food. And it's especially great for, if you don't like white wine, this is a great wine to start off your meal. It's light, it's very elegant in body and it's a really lovely, lighter styled wine. Next, we have Pinot Noir from Burgundy. So, this is a Camille Giroud, it's a great producer. And they make a fair amount of wine that is distributed all over the United States. So, you can usually get your hands on a bottle, if you're lucky. This is from the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin, which was Napolean's favorite red wine. He drank champagne and he drank wine from specifically the vineyard of Le Chambertin. Which is the vineyard after which this town is named. Pinot Noir from burgundy is a little bit different than from Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley or from Central Otago, or from anywhere else in the new world. In Burgundy, it's all about the soil, the soil's very important. And this bottle is made from grapes grown on limestone soil in the famous town of Gevrey-Chambertin. Which gives it structure, which gives it a great minerality. This bottle has little bit of herbs, a little bit of cherry fruit, it's lovely, it's elegant. It's great with a roast chicken, it's great with a roasted pork loin, it's great with so many things. Pinot Noir is an incredibly versatile wine and one of my absolute favorites in the entire world. Next, we have Pinot Noir from California. And I love to show these two as a point, counter-point, because they're so completely different. This is a bottle from Sonoma coast, from the winery, Littorai. And this wine maker actually used to make wine in Burgundy. But still the fruit is really ripe, it's sort of like, ripe, almost, almost candied, it's that ripe and that luscious. So, this is great if you're, if you want fruit, that's much more about fruit as opposed to minerals. This is a great, a great option. Next, we have Grenache from Australia. So, the motherland of Grenache, it's debatable, they think, it's from Spain, where it's known Garnacha. It's also very, very popular in the southern Rhone in France. It's the main grape of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. And Grenache is a great wine to have in your quiver of wines, because it is a very low tannin grape. So, it has low tannins and low acid, which makes it really plush and juicy and lovely. This one is made from 100 year old wines in Barossa Valley, where the wines are really old and gnarly. And they produce just a few bunches here and there, that are really concentrated. It's also an incredible value, I highly, I love this wine, it's great to drink on it's own, it's great to drink with food. And it's nice to know that this wine is with no tannins and very, very low acidity. Next, is sort of a counter point to that, this is Sangiovese from Tuscany. This is Rosso Del Montalcino, that just means it's like the little sister of Brunello di Montalcino. Which is made from the same grape, it's called Sangiovese Rosso, it just spends less time aging in oak, and sometimes its from younger vines. But this is a thin skinned grape, so it's quite elegant and floral. It also has that great, fresh acidity and that sort of tomato skin note, that sour cherry, those roasted herbs. It's a really beautiful wine to pair with something like a tomato sauce on a pasta, or even a plate of cured meats and cheeses. This is really a classic wine, it's great to know about. And Rosso is a great wine to know about too, because it's sort of a mini Brunello for a fraction of the price. Next, we have Syrah, Syrah is known for growing in the northern Rhone in France. So, for back in France, you have Burgundy here, you have Beaujolais at the southern most region. And the northern Rhone starts just south of Beaujolais. So, Syrah is a grape that, it has a thicker skin, it's a denser wine. It actually doesn't have more tannins, even though there's a misperception that it does sometimes. It is a wine that has great meaty qualities, especially from the northern Rhone. It tastes like smoked bacon and black pepper, almost a pastrami note. And this one is from the Russian River Valley in California. Is a little bit riper than the Syrahs that you'd find in the northern Rhone. But it's still going to have that black pepper spice, that dark berry fruit, black berries and blue berries and dark skinned plums. And a little bit of that smoked bacon fat. It's a really delicious food wine, especially if you have a nice roasted piece of meat, piece of steak. Any kind of game, this is the wine. And finally, we have a Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina. And normally, you've probably heard or tried a lot of California Cabernet from the Napa Valley. Such a classic, delicious, full bodied red wine. This is a great up and coming wine that is still an excellent value. Mendoza is the only major wine region, with vines that grow above three thousand feet. So, these vines are really close to the sun, they get all that bright sunlight. But they also get this great cool nights from all that high altitude. Which gives this lovely freshness to the wine. Also, Mendoza and Argentina in general, is still an up and coming wine country and wine region respectively. So, you can get some amazing values here. So, European settlers bought over Malbec from France, and planted the vines here. And they found that that it actually grows better here. There are certain conditions that make Malbec more delicious in Argentina than in France. You can still get Malbec from France. But Argentina is really the place, it's making these beautiful Malbec. And they've really taken it into their own, they've really adopted it and made it theirs. This is a wine that has a little bit less tannin than Cabernet. But still has beautiful structure, beautiful dark blue and black fruit. A lot of coffee and mocha notes, a little, tiny bit of roasted herbs. So, this is a great wine to go with all sorts of cuisine. Again, a steak, a burger, anything with red meat. And it's really one of the great value wines of the world right now. Wine is fun, I hope you learned something, I hope you heard about a wine that you are going to go out and try and love. Wine is something you can meditate over and get all intellectual about. Or, you can just enjoy it and drink it and call it a day. My name is Jordan Salcito, catch me again on eHow.com.

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