Wine Buying Getting the Flavors You Want - Part 2 Red Wines

Wine Buying Getting the Flavors You Want - Part 2 Red Wines

Wine Buying 101 – Part 2

So tell me how was your Thanksgiving with Family and Friends?  I hope that you would share with me and the rest of the readers what wines you served with Thanksgiving dinner. 

Besides be the Sommelier and Wine Buyer here at Mecenat Bistro I work as a Wine Consultant at Wine Tasting Room in Wheaton.  So I worked on Thursday pouring tastings, bottles, and helping guests select wine for their Thanksgiving celebrations.  We closed at 3:00 pm so I joined some friends and their family to celebrate the holiday.  We toasted with everything from some beautiful crisp Champagne and delicious Red wines from both the Champagne and Rhone regions of France.  The real surprise an elegant, rich, silky California Pinot Noir from Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties…… “2011 Belle Glos – Meiomi Pinot Noir” If you like Pinot Noir this is one you do not want to miss…….

Ok so in last week’s Wine Buying lesson on “Getting the Flavors You Want” I focused on White wines so this week I am going to turn to Red Wines……  For a long time I have favored “Red” wines, heck the bulk of my cellar is red wine…. Let me narrow the focus of what wines fall into the following specific categories so that the next time you are at your favorite wine shop you can focus on getting the flavors you are looking.

Reds tend to fall into the following flavor profile categories:  Juicy & Fruity, Silky & Strawberries, Intense & Black Currants, Spicy & Warmhearted, Mouthwatering combination Sweet and Sour.   Let’s take a closer look at each of these profile categories.   

Juicy and Fruity Reds are those very fruit forward, easy drinking wines that do not really require food to enjoy.  The New World is best known for these wines, but the Old World has their own version for our enjoyment as well.  So what are we talking when we use the term Juicy and Fruity?  These are those red wines that have not been aged in the cellar for 5, 10, 15, 20 years.  The Juicy and Fruity Reds are meant for drinking and enjoyment now; with their brighter, juicy (fresh picked fruit flavor) minimal tannins unlike those red that have been aged in the cellar. 

You will find these wines coming from the New World Wines – California, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.  If this is your flavor profile venture out and try some of the Chilean Merlots you will find in the market today.  But you may want also try some of those young California Merlots and Zinfandels or the smooth Tempranillo from Argentina.  If you are an Old World fan like me the French Beaujolais will definitely will satisfy your palate.

Moving on Silky, with Strawberry notes….. These wines begin with the bouquet of perfume of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries and this nose translate right to fresh fruit on palate with an elegant silky month feel.  So if this is your flavor profile…… like you, we enjoy a great Pinot Noir.  I have come to love and appreciate those beautiful French Burgundy’s; it is the barnyard earthiness, fruit notes and those silky tannins that grabbed me hook line and sinker so to speak. California, Oregon, and New Zealand have great Pinot Noir that are also worthy of a try.  Spanish Red Rioja and Navarre and Cote du Rhone-Village might also please your taste and palate.  Be Adventurous……. 

Ok now for those of you who enjoy something a bit darker “Intense & Black Currant” profile will be right up your alley; the full flavored reds with rich tannins and that classic black currant flavors.  We’re the ones that love a beautiful full bodied Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots from California and probably a rich elegant seductive French Bordeaux’s  or two with that classic black currant fruit with distinct notes of graphite, cigar box, and an under lying hints of vanilla, and possibly mint.  As you know these can be very pricey so where in the world do you find wine to satisfy this flavor profile.  Check out the Cabernet’s from the new world – Australia, South Africa and even Chile or even Spain’s Tempranillo will satisfy this palate.

So where does one go from here, well how about those “Spicy & Warmhearted Reds”.  If you want your wine to have the flavor of dark fruit and berries, with a finish of black pepper and chocolate you are headed to the Syrah, and Shiraz.  For these we are traveling to Australia in the New World, and France’s Rhone region in the Old World. The Australia Shiraz  are known for those dense rich notes of fruit, chocolate and that delicious black pepper finish and in some cases that subtle hint of smoke.  In the Old World France’s Rhone region brings a smoky minerally to its Syrah’s….. For me it is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape or a GSM blend (Grenache Syrah and Mourvèdre).  Others wines falling into this category would be Zinfandels from California, Petite Sirah’s, Malbecs, and Carmenere from South America, and those Pinotage’s of South Africa.

Reds seem to have a wider range of flavor profile so let me finish off with those “Mouthwatering, Sweet and Sour Reds” sweet and sour cherries hints of plums with lighter softer tannins.  So if this is what you are looking for really your best bet is are some of those Italian Reds… Sangiovese’s, Chianti’s, Teroldego’s, and Nebbiolo’s will fit the bill.  The new world is also producing some wonderful wines using these same Italian varietals….


Gregory Hayes, cs, cwp

Sommelier – Wine Buyer

Mecenat Bistro & Gather Place

821 West Burlington Ave.  Western Spring, IL.

Phone: 708-246-8668.  Email: Gregory@MecenatBistro.com


Join me at Mecenat Bistro & Gathering Place on Friday and Saturday’s for complimentary Wine Tastings.

Fridays 2:00 -4:00 pm, Saturdays 1:00 – 4:00 pm

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