Red Wine: Your 101 Kit to Buying the Best Red Wine Online

What you need to know before buying red wine

Trust your own taste buds. Your taste buds are like your fingerprints – there is no other with the same. So what you like is okay no matter what anyone says. If you talk to a wine aficionado to help you choose a wine, just describe exactly what you like. Ask yourself, do you prefer a full bodied wine like cabernet sauvignon or syrah (or shiraz as Aussies like to call it) or do you prefer a lighter wine like pinot noir or something in between, like a well chosen Chianti.

Did you know, most of the richness of good red wine comes straight from the grapes themselves? Knowing that the rounded and diverse fruity and spicy flavours are the pure result of the process of fermentation and maturing over many years make us very appreciative of what we pour into our wine glasses!

Red wine can be beautifully complex, usually stronger than white and rosé wines and ready to be uncorked any time of the year. Because red wine often improves with age and is collected by enthusiasts and saved for special occasions, the act of buying red wine is often more complicated than buying whites and rosés which, in many cases, shouldn’t be left hanging about for too long.

The wine industry has come a long way, and these days you can find most bottles your taste buds desire online. Having said that, buying European wine online in Australia can be slightly tricky if you don’t first have some good information. Buying online means you cannot sample the wine before purchasing, so you need to know what you’re talking about.

Luckily for you, we’ve reviewed over 2,000 European wines at Popsy & JJ (tough job, we know) and selected the top 32 for our online shop – ready to be shared with all Australian wine lovers!

What are the different types of red wine?

Well that depends if you are from an ‘old world’ or ‘new world’ wine making country? Australia is distinctly ‘new world’. That doesn’t mean better or worse. Basically, ‘old world’ wines are considered those wines grown in Europe (where wine grapes have been cultivated on soils for literally thousands of years!) and ‘new world’ wine is considered wine grown in countries where Europeans have settled in the last few hundred years, such as USA, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and NZ.

The ‘old world’ is far more obsessed with the ‘terroir’, that is the soil and microclimate of the area. Many of the famous European wines are named after the famous areas they come from, such as Burgundy, Barolo, Bordeaux, Chianti, Chablis, Soavé, Champagne, Pouilly Fumé and so forth. By contrast, the ‘new world’, countries such as Australia and USA, are far more obsessed with the specific grape variety, such as cabernet sauvignon, syrah (or shiraz in Oz), pinot noir, grenache and so forth. In France, if you’re into red Burgundy, they know you like pinot noir as they are made from 100% pinot noir grapes, but the grape is not their number one focus. In Italy, if you’re into Barolo, you like nebbiolo as it’s made from 100% nebbiolo. The old world would suggest that nowhere on the planet can reproduce nebbiolo quite like the Barolo wine region does, or pinot noir quite like Burgundy wine region does, as the soil and environment are so unique and play such a big part in it, that nothing can quite make up for that. And they would be right. Just the same reason why syrah (or shiraz) is very different when grown in the Hunter Valley versus Barossa Valley versus Hermitage (northern Rhone). All delicious but completely different profiles given the vast differences in soil and environment in these 3 different areas. Vive la difference!

What to consider when choosing a wine

So when choosing a wine, what we wine obsessed nuts at Popsy and JJ suggest is that you take both the grape variety and the area into consideration as both are important and will greatly affect your drinking experience! Note the texture of wines and the fullness of the wines you prefer. And find out if the wines you are intending on buying will go well with the food you like to cook. So do your research and just make food that will match the wines you love. Wine is so much better with perfectly matched food and vice versa!

If you intend to buy wine from Popsy and JJ, and you are unsure about it or have any questions regarding all the above, then contact us! Describe what you like, and ask us all your questions before you buy! We love to discuss wine and are only too happy to take your questions. No question is too silly or crazy!

How should you drink red wine?

Red wine is typically denser than other wines, but its structure can vary greatly. Fuller-bodied wines pair excellently with richer foods and red meats while lighter-bodied wines are better matched to lighter dishes such as chicken stir fry or baked fish. But remember to take the sauces into account! Richer sauces may require a fuller bodied wine.

How long does red wine last?

Red wine is known for improving with maturity, but there are many factors that come into play to ensure it ages perfectly. Note also, not every red wine is made for aging so make sure you discuss cellaring potential with your wine merchant. Popsy and JJ having cellaring recommendations listed online for every wine they stock.

Temperature, light and humidity are the major elements to be considered when cellaring red wine – the optimum storage environment is at about 15°C give or take. But most importsantly, wine does not like big temperature fluctuations or hot spells. Dark-tinted bottles help to protect the wine from harmful UV-rays, and a too-dry environment will dry and shrink the cork, causing oxygen to make contact with the wine.

The shelf life of different types of wine can range greatly, so talk to your wine merchant about the cellaring potential of your wine if you intend to store it.

Is red wine good for you?

The debate about whether or not red wine is actually healthy has been going on for years. Don’t we all just want to hear – for once and for all – that the lovely glass of red wine we enjoy at dinner is also good for our bodies!

There are many studies that show drinking red wine in small doses does, in fact, have health benefits. Everything in moderation!

So, why is red wine good for you? To summarise and simplify, red wine is filled with polyphenols like tannin, pigmentation, aromas and other plant compounds. The antioxidants in red wine have been found to lower the chances of heart disease and type-2 diabetes, thanks to the condensed tannin which is also present in green tea and dark chocolate.

Of course, the health benefits of each red wine will differ according to the level of condensed tannins it has. In this regard, cabernet sauvignon is considered healthier than Pinot Noir, for example.

Typically, dry wines and those higher in tannin are healthier than sweet wines and those lower in tannin. Of course, lower alcohol percentages also equal a healthier lifestyle.

Your next question is probably, how much calories are in red wine? Despite being the healthier choice among other wines, red wine isn’t the lowest in calories. Less caloric than white wine but generally more caloric than rosé, one bottle of red wine on average contains about 535 calories.

Looking for trusted red wine reviews online?

When it comes to our reds, we don’t play around! Our love for red wine goes way back – years before Popsy & JJ was born. We want to share our love for wine and all things delicious and this platform is the perfect way to do that. Keep an eye on Popsy & JJ for more wine reviews coming your way at popsyandjj.com