With more than a thousand varieties of grapes used to make wine, it’s probably no surprise there are so many different types – at least 31 popular varietals – of red wine.

Most popular types of single-varietal red wine

Cabernet and Merlot are two of the most well-known and widely produced red wine varietals. They are also two of the most popular red wine grapes used around the world.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Generally big, full-bodied and tannic, Cabernet Sauvignon is a robust red wine with strong character. It can age for years.


Merlot is a medium-bodied wine with fruitiness and softer tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pinot Noir

Typically medium to light-bodied with a soft tannic structure, Pinot Noir is a dry red wine with berry overtones.

Syrah (Shiraz)

Jammy, fruity, and spicy, Syrah is a grape that can take on different characteristics depending on terroir and growing conditions.


Typically zesty, Zinfandel wines run the gamut in flavour characteristics and range from big and hearty to light and delicate.


This red wine is more on the earthy side in flavour characteristics with medium tannins and high acidity.


Nebbiolo is a medium-bodied wine with strawberry characteristics and powerful tannins. It can often be aged for longer than a decade.


Grenache is often earthy, smoky, and soft.


Malbec is a medium-tannin wine with flavours of cherries and cocoa.

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc has medium-tannins with flavours of plums, berries, and spice.

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