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How to BUY RED WINE ONLINE? Lesson 2

Updated: Apr 30, 2023


You bought your first red wine. It is time to get the next one. Tips how to keep exploring your wine palate.

Presumably, you have read the previous article How to BUY RED WINE ONLINE? Lesson 1 where I suggested starting your red wine journey with three varieties and how to find them online:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon,

  2. Merlot

  3. Pinot Noir

They represent, in that order, three major wine styles you can find: big strong reds, medium body reds and light reds. I will assume that you have tasted all three varieties after reading Lesson 1.


Cabernet Sauvignon

1. If you preferred Cabernet Sauvignon

you could be described as a fan of high-tannin and full-body wines. Cab Sauv is usually described with dark fruit such as blackcurrant, black cherry and blackberry. It is unique for its green bell pepper aroma which is best expressed in younger versions of these wines. However, when matured and aged spicy aromas appear like black pepper, tobacco, wood, and vanilla (from aging in oak barrels). As a Cab S lover your next varieties should be:

  • Malbec

  • Syrah/Shiraz

  • Monastrell (Mourvedre)

that can also be described with dark fruit and spices. In very warm climates even the lighter varieties can express these characteristics. You should also try wines coming from:

  • California ( Central Coast: Santa Barbara, Paso Robles...)

  • Australia ( South Australia: Adelaide)

  • Spain

  • South of Italy ( Sicily, Apulia, Campania)

  • South of France ( Rhone, Languedoc-Rousillon)

  • Argentina ( Mendoza)

Merlot

2. If you preferred Merlot

you probably love full but not assertive wines, soft mouthfeel with a fair amount of tannins and medium body. Merlot is often described with red and dark fruits: cherry, plum, blackberry, and blueberry. Aged versions of Merlot are special for their intense jammy notes. Spicy notes, if present, are much more delicate compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Although the following varieties do not have so similar taste profile I have concluded empirically that Merlot lovers also find interesting:

  • Cabernet Franc

  • Nebbiolo ( not labeled as Barolo or Barbaresco)

  • Corvina and Rondinella ( Valipolicella blend)

Look for mild climates neither too cold nor too hot. Some of these are:

  • Central Italy (Tuscany, Lazio)

  • Oregon

  • North of Spain ( Galicia)

  • Bordeaux

Pinot Noir

3. If you preferred Pinot Noir

you are a lover of light-body wines with delicate aromatic profiles. Pinot Noir has the lightest body of all three and a clean nose full of red fruits: cherry, raspberry, and strawberry ... Other elegant varieties within the Pinot Noir group are:

  • Gamay

  • Schiava

  • Cabernet Franc (exclusively from Loire Valley - France)

It would not be wrong to say that Pinot Noir lovers favor cool climate wines. Hence, these wine regions might be appealing:

  • France (Loire Valley, Beaujolais)

  • North Italy (Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige)

  • Washington

  • Australia ( Tanzania)

  • New Zealand (Marlborough)


red grapes

4. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir

are extremely popular varieties grown all over the world. You can stick to them and just explore how these varieties express differently around the world's wine regions. This method will help you fully understand the whole aromatic profile each variety can offer. You might find drinking the same variety after a few bottles boring, but it is the best way to train your nose.


wine product page

5. Do not forget to buy wines with complete product pages

Complete wine product pages contain info that you will need to navigate this wine journey of yours. These are some of the details you should look for:

  • varieties that were used to make a wine

  • how was the vintage and how mature were grapes when picked

  • info about aging wine ( time spent in wooden barrels)

  • precise wine region where the grapes were sourced from

  • tasting notes to help you analyze the wine

2 Comments


Eli Maxwell
Eli Maxwell
Jul 10, 2023

The detailed explanation of online wine buying nuances is especially helpful for novices who are eager to explore the world of wine but might feel overwhelmed. With this guide, you gain a deeper understanding of the myriad factors involved in wine buying and become better equipped to make an informed choice that suits your palate and budget.

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Julia McGraw
Julia McGraw
Jun 02, 2023

Thank you for this incredibly informative and easy-to-understand post on continuing our red wine journey online.

Having dabbled in a bit of wine exploration myself, I deeply appreciate the way you break down how our preferences for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir could guide us towards other varietals. The progression seems so logical when you explain it, but it's not something I'd considered before! Your tip about paying attention to complete product pages is also very valuable. I had overlooked some of these details in the past, but understanding that elements such as the maturity of grapes when picked, time spent in wooden barrels, and precise sourcing regions can all greatly impact the wine's flavor profile and overall experience is…

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