Californian Red Wines
California is home to over 1000 wineries and they have over 50,000 registered wine brands. So care must be taken when selecting a Californian red wine.
There are many varieties of red wine, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvedre, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfadel to name but a few. In California the most widely produced red wine grape is the Zinfandel.
Californian red wines are generally heavier than white wines, because in making the red wine they use the grape, the skin, seed and even some stems, where as in white wine they only use the juice of the grape. (See How Wine is Made)
The general rule is that red meat or red sauces should be served with a red wine. White wine is the better choice when servingwhite meat such as fish, chicken or pork. (See Food and Wine matching)
If you are still none the wiser but your wine drinking friends are coming to dinner, here is a rough guide: Californian Red wines from sweet to dry are: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet, Syrah and Merlot. California Red wines from light to heavy are: Merlot, Zinfandel, Chianti, Pinot Noir and Cabernet
Types of Californian Red Wines
California is known for its many productive vineyards and wineries in various areas around the state, below are some details on the different red wines produced by Californian wineries.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular type of Californian red wine which people drink on a frequently basis. Two main characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon are its dark red tones and strong flavour. Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with meats, pasta and some seafood dishes.
This wine also has a nice deep red colour to it and can be strong in flavour. The Merlot variety also goes nicely with red meat and pasta. Consider serving your favourite Italian dish with a nice glass of Californian Merlot Wine.
Syrah is a type of wine which is similar in nature to the Pinot Noir yet varies more in red tones than Pinot Noir does. When ordering a glass of California Syrah red wine, it comes out in a variety of red tones. This is a great wine to have with strong or spicy foods such as Mexican dishes.
The tone of the Pinot Noir is a bit less than other Californian red wines, yet still has a good flavour to it. Compared with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir is a bit lighter. If looking to pair Pinot Noir with a dish, you will find that beef, fish and pasta all go wonderfully with this Californian wine.
Many of the wineries and vineyards based in California will produce a type of Red Zinfandel on a large scale. Many wine lists at restaurants throughout the United States will have Red Zinfandel as a standard on their wine lists as it is such a popular Californian Red wine. In addition, this type of red wine goes well with Filet Mignon.