Getting to Know Red Wines

Light-bodied and fruity

  • These are the red wines that deliver drinkability, with up-front berry fruit flavours and a light, low tannin palate experience
  • Their fruitiness and softness can lead to a perception of sweetness on the palate, even if the wine is dry
  • Approachable and with a broad appeal, these wines would be an excellent choice for new wine drinkers


  • Beaujolais from France
  • Ontario Gamay Noir
  • Bardolino from Italy
  • Pinot Noir from cool climate regions like Germany or New Zealand

Serving suggestion:

  • These easy-going reds can be lightly chilled, and served with light cuisine, finger foods and appetizers
  • Perfect for bistro-style food and an informal mood

Medium-bodied and fruity

  • These wines offer a rounder, fuller sensation on the palate
  • The components of these wines work together to create a sensation of weight and body
  • In this group, we see slightly more structure, slightly higher alcohol, and the addition of grape varieties that produce a deeper coloured, fleshier style of wine


  • Valpolicella from Italy
  • Ontario Cabernet Franc
  • Wines from Côtes du Rhône (France)

Serving suggestion:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Hors d’oeuvres
  • Cheese platters

Full-bodied and smooth

  • Big, lush and inviting, these are the full-bodied wines that convey strength and power, but keep grippy, drying tannins in check
  • The fuller bodied reds often show the spicy, toasty nuances of oak ageing, which provides another layer to wrap the rich fruit at their core
  • These wines will appeal to wine lovers who are exploring the world’s leading wine regions and a wider range of grape varieties.


  • Aussie Shiraz
  • California Merlot or Cabernet/Merlot blends
  • Valpolicella Ripasso
  • Ontario or British Columbia premium blends
  • Malbec from Argentina

Serving suggestion:

  • Grilled and roasted meats
  • Fajitas
  • Sausage pizza
  • Lamb
  • Grilled mushrooms

Full-bodied and firm

  • Wines that step forward in this category are unapologetic about their heft and chewy texture; they are wines that may be a little more challenging and appeal to an experienced palate
  • Their deep colour, firm tannins and focused acidity are typical of wines that have ageing potential and the structure to take on robust dishes
  • These are wines that may require some additional ageing to reach their peak, and truly come in to their own when paired with food


  • California cabernet
  • Premium Ontario Cabernet or Cabernet blends
  • Chianti Classico or Barolo from Italy
  • Northern Rhône Syrah, Bordeaux or, Burgundy or classified growth Bordeaux (all from France)

Next : Getting to Know White Wines