The world of red wine is fairly expansive, as even the most casual drinker knows. Varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc come from all corners of the world, including South America, Northern California, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, and Australia. While many people consider red wine to be the perfect companion drink to pair with a hearty steak, it’s incredibly versatile and depending on the style you can pair with nearly any food. Red wine is best served at a slightly cooler temperature than you might think, usually somewhere below room temperature — between 60 and 70 degrees. So don’t be afraid to stick a bottle in the fridge for a bit to cool it down before opening. Here’s our list of new red wine vintages to try now, a sampling of varietals, and regions that will serve as a good introduction for a vino novice as well as an experienced collector.
This release marks the 25th anniversary vintage of this Chilean red wine. Seña was founded in 1995 as a collaboration between Eduardo Chadwick and Robert Mondavi, but is now fully operated by the Chadwick family. The wine is made in the Bordeaux style, and is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 15% Carmenere and 4% Petit Verdot. While the proportion of Carmenere grapes is small, the wine is meant to showcase this particular variety and what it brings to the palate. The color is deep red, and the palate earthy and rich, with big tannins and notes of cherry, orange, and a bit of acidity. Drink this now, but it will age well if you choose to cellar it for a few years.
Price: $150, Totalwine.com
2018 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Grown, Mount Veeder
This is the signature Cabernet Sauvignon from Hess Persson Estates, made from grapes grown in the Veeder Hills Vineyard. According to the director of winemaking, the harvest started later than normal for this vintage, giving the grapes ample time to mature and were subsequently picked at an exceptional moment. The wine spent almost two years in new French oak barrels, and is marked by notes of wild berries, cocoa, vanilla, cassis, and a hint of spice. This is a classic California Cabernet that will satisfy all levels of wine drinkers.
Price: $80, Wine.com
2019 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Franc
This marks the second Cabernet Franc release from Cakebread Cellars (the first was the 2018 vintage). The grapes were sourced from Suscol Springs Vineyard, a cooler region that is considered to be prime territory for growing Cabernet Franc grapes. There is a pleasant balance between spice and tannin on the palate, with notes of dark fruit, ripe berries, violet, and a bit of cocoa and chocolate on the finish. This is an excellent, vibrant wine to drink all summer long, and will pair well with grilled meat, cheese, and fresh vegetable salads.
Price: $60, Cakebread.com
2019 Tormaresca Torcicoda
This Italian wine from Puglia is a delicious and complex budget option that punches way above its price point. It’s made from 100% Primitivo grapes harvested from the Masseria Maìme estate in Upper Salento. The wine was aged for ten months in French and Hungarian oak, before being bottled and aged for another six months before its release. The color is a deep red, with intensely fruity notes on the palate counterbalanced by spice, vanilla, and some anise. This is an everyday wine that drinks like something twice as expensive, so pick up a bottle or two to enjoy with a casual weeknight dinner. It also makes a great host gift.
Price: $20, Wine.com
Loveblock Pinot Noir 2020
New Zealand has so many great wines, including this affordable estate Pinot Noir from the Central Otago region. The grapes are grown in the Loveblock vineyard, which is certified sustainable by the New Zealand government. Loveblock was founded by husband and wife team Kim and Erica Crawford in 2004, and the pair have been making excellent wines ever since. For this 2020 vintage, expect black cherry notes with a bit of mushroom earthiness and toasted oak, along with some floral and spice character. Pair this with a range of food, from fish to lamb.
Price: $37, Wine.com