The Ultimate Guide To Red Wine Varieties

Have you ever walked into your local bottle shop to pick up a red wine, only to be faced with literally hundreds of different brands and styles that leave you feeling overwhelmed and indecisive?

We hear you. From Grenache to Gamay, Merlot to Montepulciano, and Sangiovese to Shiraz, navigating the world of red wine can be challenging if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

To help you, we've sorted some of our most popular red wines into three categories to simplify your decision-making. Just choose based on your taste preferences or the meal you're serving it with, and voila! You'll be decanting the perfect bottle of red in no time.


How To Choose The Perfect Red Wine For You


Light-Bodied Red Wine

If you're looking for an easy-to-drink wine that won't leave you feeling weighed down, consider a light-bodied red. These wines are known for their slightly translucent colour, delicate aroma and smooth mouthfeel. They also tend to be lower in alcohol content and tannins than their fuller-bodied cousins.

Light-bodied reds are perfect for adjusting to the changing seasons, especially as the weather starts to warm up. Pair them with lighter proteins like pork, turkey or chicken, anything with mushrooms, or grilled salmon.

We suggest:

2022 Tempus Two Varietal Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir grapes are known for having thinner skins than other red wine varieties, resulting in a lighter body and a translucent ruby colour. They are often grown in cooler climate regions, where the slower ripening process produces lower sugar levels and a lighter wine.

When it comes to taste, Pinot Noir is known for its deliciously approachable, fruit-driven flavours and balanced acidity, making it an excellent option for everyday drinking.

Tempus Two Varietal Pinot Noir displays upfront berry fruit flavours, with hints of spice and black pepper that provide a velvety texture and an elegant finish.

2020 Tempus Two Copper Gamay

Gamay is a type of grape famous for the wine produced in Beaujolais, a region in France located just south of Burgundy. To get the most out of Gamay's fruity and floral flavours, we recommend chilling it for about 20 minutes before serving.

Tempus Two Copper Gamay is made in the Hunter Valley. It offers an enticing blend of cherry, plum, and delicate floral aromas with a hint of oak spice and its velvety tannins and luscious mouthfeel create an expressive and opulent finish.

2022 Tempus Two Copper Maestri

Maestri is a lesser-known grape variety that is native to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It produces a light-bodied red wine that typically has a refreshing acidity and low tannins, making it easy to drink and perfect for pairing with a variety of foods. It's known for its bright red fruit flavours, such as cherries and raspberries, as well as hints of spice and earthiness.

Tempus Two Copper Maestri is intensely coloured with definitive blackberry and blueberry aromas, and it’s generously poised on the fore palate, with lovely weight and great depth of flavour.


Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Medium-bodied red wines are a great choice if you're looking for something with a bit of structure but not too heavy. They typically have moderate tannins that don't overpower the fruity flavours of ripe berries, plums, and cherries, often accented with a hint of spice or herbs. Some of the most popular grapes for medium-bodied reds include Merlot, Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Tempranillo.

Medium-bodied red wines are super versatile when it comes to food pairings. Enjoy them with pizza, pasta with tomato-based sauce, red meat dishes and roasted veggies.

We suggest:

2022 Tempus Two Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a red wine grape native to central and southern Italy. These wines typically have a medium to full body, with moderate tannins and acidity and are known for having delicious flavours of dark fruit like blackberry and plum, as well as some earthy and herbal notes.

Tempus Two Montepulciano is a plump, juicy, and luscious wine with an opulent length and aromas of cherry, boysenberry, and red plum. You'll also notice some gritty, powdery tannins that give it a slightly savoury edge.


Full-bodied Red Wine

Full-bodied red wines are the ultimate treat for wine lovers, with their rich and robust taste that fills your mouth with intense flavours. These wines are often higher in tannins, which can give you a dry and puckered sensation in your mouth. They are also known for their higher alcohol content and darker hue when compared to other red varieties.

The grape varieties used to make full-bodied red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Malbec, or a blend such as GSM (Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvèdre). They typically feature flavours of dark fruit, such as blackberry, black cherry, and plum, as well as notes of chocolate, coffee, and spices like pepper or cinnamon.

Full-bodied red wines pair perfectly with strong and bold-flavoured dishes, such as grilled red meats, rich stews, and aged cheeses. They are often considered to be sipping wines, to be enjoyed slowly and savoured.

We suggest:

2021 Tempus Two Pewter Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark and full-bodied red wine with strong, grippy tannins that make your mouth feel dry when you sip it. You'll taste green pepper, tobacco, and dark fruits like cherries, with a hint of vanilla from ageing in oak. Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious paired with all red meat dishes, but it is an exceptional match with lamb.

Tempus Two Pewter Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted using grapes sourced from a single vineyard in Coonawarra, a region renowned for producing some of the world's finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines. This wine exhibits the classic mint chocolate flavours typical of Cabernet Sauvignons grown in cooler climates, but we've taken it up a notch with 15 months of oak maturation, adding depth and complexity to the wine. Blackcurrants, mint, chocolate, and subtle hints of oak-imparted spice make this wine a true masterpiece. It’s beautifully balanced and supple, with elegant tannins that give the wine a structured length and a persistent finish.

2021 Tempus Two Uno Hunter Valley Shiraz

Shiraz, also called Syrah in some parts of the world, is a bold and full-bodied red wine that is high in tannins and displays strong flavours of dark fruits like blackberry and blackcurrant. It also has spicy notes of pepper and clove. Shiraz is an excellent choice if you're looking for a wine that pairs well with rich and hearty dishes like roast beef or lamb, hearty stews, or pasta with a slow-cooked ragu.

Tempus Two Uno Hunter Valley Shiraz is a luxurious and elegant wine that has a velvety texture that flows smoothly from mouth-filling and soft strawberry preserve and cherry to a chocolate and slightly liquorice-like finish.

2018 Tempus Two Copper GSM

GSM is a blend of three grape varieties: Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvèdre. Grenache is known for being fruity and spicy, Shiraz has dark fruit flavours and peppery notes, and Mourvèdre adds a tannic structure and earthy flavours. When these three grapes are blended together, they create a balanced and complex wine, with flavours ranging from fruit to spice to earthiness.

Tempus Two Copper GSM is made from grapes from the Barossa Valley and has a rich, mouth-filling taste with sweet and savoury fruits, a velvet-like texture, and notes of coffee flowing into a chocolate-like finish.

Tempus Two Shiraz bottle pour

How do I serve and store red wine?

Serving red wine at the optimal temperature can enhance its taste and flavour, which can vary depending on whether it is light, medium, or full-bodied.

  • Light-bodied red wines: Serve slightly chilled, between 10-13 degrees Celsius.
  • Medium-bodied red wines: Serve between 14-16 degrees Celsius.
  • Full-bodied red wines: Serve between 16-18 degrees Celsius.

If you want to step up your red wine game, use a decanter to serve it. Decanting helps to remove any sediment and allows the wine to breathe, enhancing the flavour. But if you don't have a decanter, simply pouring the wine into a glass and letting it sit for a few minutes before drinking can work wonders.

Proper storage is also important for red wine. Keep it in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature (10-18 degrees Celsius) and humidity level.


How long should I keep red wine?

The lifespan of an opened bottle of red wine can be influenced by different factors, including the wine's quality, grape variety, age, and storage conditions.

Lighter red wines with softer tannins, like Pinot Noir, should be stored in the fridge once opened and consumed within a day or two.

Bold and heavy varietals, like Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, can last a little longer, especially if aged. These wines should be stored in a cool, dark place and consumed within five days.

If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a vinegary or musty smell, it’s best to discard the wine.