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5 Wines You Should Know

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5 Wines You Should Know

AskMen Editors

April 10, 2008

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There are a few things that every respectable man needs to know. One of these things is how to select an appropriate bottle of wine for any occasion. The AskMen.com editors recently attended the Montreal Wine and Spirits Show to investigate some of the more popular wine varietals, and we’ve come back with this primer on five wines you should know.

Bear in mind that we’re only scratching the surface here, and that true depth of knowledge will rest on your own exploration. Start your journey of wine-discovery by exploring the five wines you should know, tasting our recommendations and picking your favorites.
Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon is touted as being one of the most popular red wine varietals to fill glass stemware. Originating in Bordeaux, France, in the 17th century, Cabernet Sauvignon is now found in every major wine-producing country in the world, including Canada, Australia, the U.S., Chile, and Italy.

This bold wine is made from a crossing of the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, and once it has aged (at least 10 to 15 years) it boasts an oak-y aroma that often hides hints of coffee, chocolate, leather, and tobacco. Younger Cabernets (aged 3 to 7 years) have a lighter, fruitier smell and taste with aromas of cranberry, raspberry and plum swirling in the bowl of your glass. So, whether you like your red wine woody and earthy or fruity and floral, this oft-named “King of the Red Wines” will surely make a welcome addition to your wine rack.

Pair with:
Aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a bold wine that tends to overwhelm light dishes. It is best sipped with red meat dishes, like steak and lamb, heavy cream dishes, and dark chocolate desserts.

Lighter Cabernet Sauvignons are best paired with pork, veal, poultry, pasta, and light cheeses.

Recommended bottles:

2006 McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia
 
2004 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile

2005 Janzen Estate Cloudy’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, California


Shiraz Red wines made from the dark-skinned grape known as Syrah are some of the most popular wines on the market today. Known as the man’s wine — because like most men, Shiraz is steady, dependable and not a wine to be messed with — both Shiraz varietals and blended wines have a distinct flavor that the general public has come to love. While we may know these wines as Shiraz, in its country of origin, France, these wines are labeled as Syrah wines, but still share the same robust and full-bodied experience.

While the history of the wine may originate from France, it’s the Australians who have really taken Shiraz to the top with numerous vineyards, most notably from South Eastern Australia, taking on the Syrah grape and producing aromatic red wines. Labels like Penfolds, Wolfblass and Wyndham Estate have Shiraz table wines that are so enormously different, you’d be shocked to know they came from the same grape. However, that’s the beauty of Shiraz; while each wine may originate from a single family of grapes, the methods used, climate, and even the soils in which the grapes are grown can change the final taste and aroma so dramatically that each producer’s personal Shiraz has its own personality and qualities to enjoy.

Pair with:
Most Shiraz wines are best enjoyed with red and/or game meats as well as full-bodied cheeses. So, if you’re planning on cooking up a mean steak, make sure you check out these Shiraz varietals to complement the meal to perfection.   

Recommended bottles:
2005 Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz, Australia

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