Dry Red Wine (Styles, Prices, Best Wines 2021)

Hunter Robillard
October 26, 2020

Curious to know all about dry red wine and buy the best ones for your collection?

A well crafted dry red wine has enticing aromas and rich flavors and is enjoyable by itself or with savory food pairings. Dry reds are also known to be heart-healthy, when you sip them in moderation, of course!

But what exactly is a ‘dry’ red wine?

How are they made? What are the different dry red wine styles?

And, which are the best dry red wines you should buy?

Let’s explore all about dry red wine, including the different grape varieties, wine styles, and the best dry red wines you can buy!

Further reading

Which are the most luscious  Red Wines you shouldn’t miss out on in 2020? This Red Wine Guide has it all!
Want White Wine instead? Here’s a super-informative guide to the most celebrated whites to get hold of!

This Article Contains:

(Click on the links below to go to a specific section)

  1. France
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. United States
  5. Chile
  6. Argentina
  7. Australia
  8. South Africa

All You Need to Know About Dry Red Wine

All You Need to Know About Dry Red Wine
Best dry red wines to buy in 2021

Let’s begin to explore!

What is Dry Red Wine?

Red wines that have no residual sugar and are not sweet are called dry red wines. Dry red wines go through the entire fermentation process where the yeast consumes all the sugar from the grapes.

Contrary to this, a sweet red wine would contain some leftover (residual) sugar, which gives you that familiar wine sweetness. That’s because winemakers stop the fermentation process prematurely, and there are some leftover grape sugars that give the wine its sweetness.  

What Makes Dry Reds So Popular?

What Makes Dry Reds So Popular?

Dry red wines are super-popular among wine drinkers as they can be paired with a variety of foods, and offers a great sensory experience while drinking!  

Additionally, dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz or Syrah, Merlot, and Zinfandel are widely used for cooking too (just like dry white wine.)  

They’re equally loved by wine collectors and investors, thanks to their aging potential. They can be easily stored in a wine cellar and taste even better after a few years if proper storage conditions are maintained.

Dry red wines usually have very high tannin levels - which also contributes to its age-worthiness.

Fun fact: Did you know that tannins in dry red wine are the same as those found in green tea and dark chocolate?

Now let’s look at the different dry red grape varieties.

The Different Dry Red Grape Varieties and Wine Styles

Almost all the popular dry red grape styles and varieties originated in France but are grown worldwide today.

1. Bordeaux-Style Dry Red Wines

Bordeaux-Style Dry Red Wines

Bordeaux-style wines are tannic with complex dark fruit aromas. They’re a combination of flavors like stone fruits, dark cherries, and tobacco.

Many of them age beautifully because of the high tannin levels, and they pair well with steaks and other meat dishes.

Although the Bordeaux-style grape varieties originated in Bordeaux, France, they’re also grown in California, Tuscany, and South America.

The grape varieties include:

A. Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemakers use Cabernet Sauvignon grape to make hearty tannic wines. They usually blend Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and many other wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon wines are bold and complex with flavors like olives, black currant, and black cherry.

B. Merlot

Merlot is produced in two distinctive styles:

  • The traditional Bordeaux style involves early harvesting to preserve the grape acidity. These wines are medium-bodied with red fruit flavors.
  • The New World style of Merlot wines is full-bodied with inky purple color and blackberry fruit flavor.

C. Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a grape variety used for blending, typically with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but it’s also great on its own. Cabernet Franc wines have floral, red fruit, and dark fruit notes.

D. Malbec

The Malbec grape variety originated from France but is one of the most popular grapes in Argentina today. It has a deep red color, high tannin levels, and black cherry and spice flavors.

E. Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is used mainly in Bordeaux’s blended wines, but you can also find it as a standalone wine. It has violet and spice flavors.

F. Carménère

The Carménère grape variety originated in Bordeaux, but nowadays, it’s mostly grown in Chile. The wine from these grapes has a spice, cocoa, and black fruit flavor with distinctive aromas of green bell peppers.

2. Rhône-Style Dry Red Wines

Rhône-Style Dry Red Wines
FAMILLE PERRIN- L'Andeol Rasteau & Domaine de Verquiere Rasteau

Rhône-style wines are made with Syrah, Grenache and other grapes grown in the Rhône region in France. These wines have a very distinct spectrum of aromas, including nutmeg, stone fruits, and cherries.

Rhone-style wines can be enjoyed young, but some of them have good aging potential, depending on their tannin levels.

You can pair this wine with cured meats, game meats, and poultry.

Besides the Rhône region, these grape varieties grow in other regions, including Spain, Australia, and California.

A. Grenache

In the Rhône region, Grenache is usually blended with other grape varieties like Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. It’s also a very popular wine grape in Spain and Australia.

If you want a fruity, ripe wine, get a Grenache wine from warmer regions like the South of France or Spain. You’ll love the typical flavor notes of cherry and spice with a hint of earth.

Grenache is also used in the making of some sweet wine blends and rosé.  

B. Syrah or Shiraz

Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a versatile red grape variety. Depending on where it’s grown, it can produce wines that are light and fruity or even dense and spicy.

Syrah wines from colder regions are medium to full-bodied with high levels of tannins. They have blackberry and tobacco flavors with a hint of earthy notes.

The Syrah wines that are made in regions with warmer climates are more jammy with softer tannins and notes of baking spice, licorice, and anise.  

C. Mourvèdre

The Mourvèdre grape variety is originally from Spain and has intense blackberry and black currant flavor. In France, Mourvèdre is used in red blend wines with Grenache and Syrah.

D. Cinsault

Cinsault is originally from Southern Rhône and is a grape variety that grows in warmer climates. It produces light, fruity wines, and that makes it perfect for red wine blends with Grenache grapes.

3. Burgundy-Style Wines

Bourgogne Pinot Noir

The main red grape variety in Burgundy is Pinot Noir - the fifth most planted grape in the world.

Pinot Noir pairs well with foods like salmon, duck, lamb, and mushrooms.

Outside of Burgundy, you can find fine Pinot Noir wines in:

  • Oregon
  • California
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Chile
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Italy

Pinot Noir wines are usually light to medium-bodied with flavors of black cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. That’s a perfect red wine if you want something less tannic and light!

Despite being softer than most dry red wines, Pinot Noirs have good aging potential. The flavors become more complex and creamy with hints of earth and spice notes as the wine ages.

Related article:

Meanwhile, check out this fascinating article on White Burgundy wine as well!

4. Other Dry Red Wine Grapes

Other Dry Red Wine Grapes
Gundlach Bundschu Tempranillo

Other impressive dry red grape varieties are:

A. Nebbiolo

The Nebbiolo grape variety grows in the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s used in making prestigious wines like the Barolos and Barbarescos that are extremely popular among beginner wine drinkers and collectors alike.

These wines have high tannin levels and acidity and age well. Over time the wines develop complex, rich flavors of licorice, truffles, and rose petals.

B. Tempranillo

The Tempranillo red grape variety comes from Spain. It is used in winemaking to produce some fine Spanish wines, both as a standalone and in a red blend with grapes like Grenache. Tempranillo can also be used for making sweet wines like Port.

Tempranillo wines are aged in barrels where they acquire an oak barrel aftertaste mixed with flavors like leather, smoke, and red plum.

C. Barbera

Barbera is another grape variety that grows in Piedmont, Italy. It has a robust black fruit flavor. Some of the most notable Barbera wines are Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba.

D. Gamay

Gamay grapes are mostly grown in the Beaujolais region of France. They’re used to make light fruity aromatic wines - best enjoyed when young.

E. Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah originated in France but quickly became popular in California, Chile, Argentina, and Australia. Petite Sirah wines are dark with a blackberry flavour and a hint of spices and pepper.

F. Zinfandel

Zinfandel is one of the most popular grape varieties in California, but it originated in Croatia. Zinfandels are usually light-bodied with red fruit and strawberry flavors, which makes them easy to drink.

Apart from dry red wines, Zinfandel is also used to make dessert wine.

G. Sangiovese

The Sangiovese grape variety is emblematic of the Chianti region in Italy. Sangiovese wines are usually medium-bodied with plum and cherry aromas and a distinctive tart finish.

Sangiovese wine is best enjoyed with food (mostly meats, pasta with tomato sauce, and spicy food) rather than on its own. You can even indulge in a dessert like red wine cake while sipping your dry red.

Also read:

Want to explore the Best Wine Brands in the world? Check out this guide on the most coveted wine brands you should consider!

So, which are the best dry red wines you should buy?

The Best Dry Red Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)

Let’s take a look at the finest dry reds by their country of origin.

1. France

Some of the most exquisite dry red wines come from the French wine regions of Bordeaux and Côtes du Rhône.

A. Château Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite' 2012

Dry red wine: Château Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite' 2012

The Château Lafite Rothschild wine estate makes some of the most sought-after dry red wines. This elegant Bordeaux-style dry wine includes the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

The 2012 vintage has a distinctive dark fruit taste with a hint of leather, tobacco, and oak.

Price of Château Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite' 2012: $347

B. Chateau Petrus 2018

Dry red wine: Chateau Petrus 2018

Petrus is a harmonious Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine represents the perfect balance between finesse and boldness with medium to high acidity and tannin levels.

The 2018 vintage combines dark fruit flavors with an earthy aroma and a hint of smoke and dark chocolate.
Price of Chateau Petrus 2018: $4,292

2. Italy

Italy is famous for its white wine, rosés, and sparkling wine like Asti Spumante and Lambrusco, but it also produces some great dry reds.

A. Soldera Toscana IGT - Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015

Dry red wine: Soldera Toscana IGT - Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015

This Italian dry wine is made from the grape juice of the Sangiovese berry flavors. The wine is bold with rich fruitiness and goes well with red meat dishes.

The 2015 vintage has a dominant red berry flavor with an undertone of licorice and mint.

Price of Soldera Toscana IGT - Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015: $597

B. Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2010

Dry red wine: Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2010

This dry red wine is made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes. Nebbiolo gives the wine a tart taste, high acidity and tannin levels, making it the perfect wine for more decadent dishes like pasta, beef, and lamb.

The 2010 vintage has smoke and oak aromas accompanied by delicate chocolate and cherry flavors.
Price of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 2010: $1,640

3. Spain

Spanish dry reds are usually more fruity and milder since the grapes grow in a warmer climate.

Bodegas Muga Aro 2010

Dry red wine: Bodegas Muga Aro 2010

Bodegas Muga wines come from the Rioja appellation in Spain. The wine is bold, with high tannin levels and has excellent aging potential.

The vintage of 2010 is mild with oak and vanilla undertones accompanied by smoke, plums, and blackberry flavors.
Price of Bodegas Muga Aro 2010: $224

4. United States

Dry red wines from the United States come mainly from California, Washington State, and Oregon.

Opus One Vertical Collection 2005

Dry red wine: Opus One Vertical Collection 2005

Opus One is one of the most emblematic dry reds from Napa Valley.

It is a rich Bordeaux blend from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, and Malbec. The red grape skins give this wine a deep inky purple color and a complex tannic structure.

The vintage of 2005 has blackberry and cassis flavors accompanied by an aroma of dark chocolate, oak, and smoke.

Price of Opus One Vertical Collection 2005: $6,459

5. Chile

Chilean dry reds are made in the Old World elegant style, but they have more affordable prices.

Vina Almaviva 2015

Dry red wine: Vina Almaviva 2015

Almaviva wines are some of the most prestigious Chilean wines. This well-balanced bold Bordeaux blend has medium tannin and acidity levels.

This vintage has pleasant blueberry and cassis flavors combined with a sweet aroma of vanilla and chocolate.

Price of Vina Almaviva 2015: $163

6. Argentina

Argentina is most famous for its fine Malbec wines and some other rich dry red wines.

Luigi Bosca Icono 2015

Dry red wine: Luigi Bosca Icono 2015

This dry red wine is made in the foothills of the Andes mountain near the Mendoza River. It is blended from two grape varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

This vintage has a distinctive blackberry taste with undertones of cocoa and smoke.

Price of Luigi Bosca Icono 2015: $130

7. Australia

Dry red wines from Australia are usually milder with more red fruit aromas, and they’re easier to drink.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet - Shiraz 2013

Dry red wine: Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet - Shiraz 2013

This dry red comes from South Australia, and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The wine is light with medium acidity and tannin levels.

This vintage has a light berry and plum taste with an aroma of licorice, oak, and vanilla.

Price of Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet - Shiraz 2013: $65

8. South Africa

South African dry red wines are fruity and well-balanced with a creamy undertone of earth and mineral zest.

Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir 2016

Dry red wine: Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir 2016

This Burgundy-style Pinot Noir is made in the Walker Bay region (near Cape Town), and it boasts an elegant complexity of flavors that is smooth and much lighter than most dry reds.

This 2016 vintage combines red fruit flavors of raspberry and strawberry with a light aroma of oak and leather.

Price of Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir 2016: $27

So, how can you find any of these exquisite red wines?

You might try to look for them in a wine shop or order online. But often, the prices in brick and mortar or online stores are much higher, and they might not have what you’re looking for.

Also, you’ll never know whether you bought an authentic bottle or the retailer gave you a counterfeit.

A much smarter idea is to buy your wines through a wine investment company like Vinovest.

Let’s see how that works!

Buy the Best Dry Reds and Other Fine Wines Through Vinovest

Buy the Best Dry Reds and Other Fine Wines Through Vinovest
Vinovest dashboard

Vinovest is an online wine investment company that not only buys, but also sells, authenticates, and stores your wines for you.

How Does it Work?

It’s simple. You just have to:

  1. Sign up on the Vinovest website.
  2. Fill out a questionnaire so Vinovest can assess your investment preferences and your risk appetite.
  3. Add a minimum of $1,000 to your account.
  4. Start building your wine portfolio.

Benefits of Buying Wines through Vinovest

And here are all the benefits that come with using Vinovest for your wine investment.

1. Easy Buying and Selling

Buying and selling of wine have never been easier. Since Vinovest is an AI-based platform, you can buy and sell wines with just a few clicks!

2. Best Prices

As Vinovest sources its wines directly from wine producers, wholesalers, and global wine exchanges, you get the best possible, below-retail prices.

3. Provenance and Authenticity

Before you make a purchase, Vinovest ensures the authenticity of each bottle. You’ll never have to worry again about getting a fake bottle or one that’s stored inappropriately.

4. Curated Portfolio

An expert team of Sommeliers and data scientists curates your portfolio with the help of AI-based investment models.

5. Optimal Storage

Vinovest stores your wines in bonded warehouses with optimal conditions - light, temperature, humidity, and vibration.

6. Insurance

There are 24/7 surveillance cameras in all wine storing facilities and a power backup that will keep the optimal storage conditions in case of a power cut.

You also get a comprehensive insurance policy that protects your wines at all times.

7. Easy Delivery

You may want to deliver the Pinot Noir that you just sold to your buyer. Or you may want to try one of those dry reds you just bought. Vinovest has you covered. They’ll deliver your wine safely to your buyer or directly to your home, whenever you want.

8. Ownership

And the best part is that you own every single bottle you buy - without having to worry about inconveniences like delivery, storage, and authenticity.

Time to Pick Your Favorite Dry Reds?

Dry red wines offer rich, complex flavors and are highly coveted by wine lovers all over the world.

The question is, what type of dry red you like best, and how you can source the highest quality bottles for your wine collection, hassle-free!

So, why not sign up for a convenient platform like Vinvoest to build your wine portfolio?

Further reading

Step into the world of fabulous Red Wines in This Incredibly Useful Red Wine Guide!

Written by

Hunter Robillard

Portfolio Advisor at Vinovest with experience in both the fine wine & high end spirits industry. Previously helped wineries, distilleries, and breweries around the world with their production equipment needs. Avid kayaker, skier and a self proclaimed BBQ expert.