Seeing Red

With so many varieties of wine, it may be hard to know which one you should choose. Which one should you serve at your party when everyone has a different taste? Which one will pair best with your glazed salmon? This list takes a look at eight of the most popular red wines to help you make a decision for your next dinner party or girls night in.


Merlot is French for Little Blackbird and is the second most popular red wine in America. It is often recommended as the first red wine a person should try because of its low tannin levels and smooth, plummy taste. The low tannin allows this wine to pair well with foods as well as be enjoyed on its own. Spicy foods may make the wine taste more tannic and bitter.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine among American drinkers. The healthy level of tannin has a tendency to dry out the mouth, so Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with foods and can be overwhelming alone. It tastes of green pepper, tobacco, cassis, and dark fruits, with a hint of vanilla if the wine has been aged in oak.

Pinot Noir

A great bottle of Pinot Noir is a rare find as the grapes can be hard to grow. The taste of ripe red berries, sweet black cherries, and mushrooms is a great crowd pleaser and is appropriate for any occasion, whether food is served or not.

Petite Sirah

Not to be confused with Petit Syrah, Petite Sirah is deep in color and has full-bodied flavors of blueberry, chocolate, plums, and black pepper. It is high in tannin making it perfect to pour in a decanter for two to four hours before serving. Petite Sirah is paired well with richer, fattier foods as well as bold and exotic spices and herbs.


Zinfandel contains some of the highest alcohol content of any red wine (14-17%). The jammy, fruity characteristics are followed by a spice and tobacco-like smokey finish. This sweeter wine has moderate levels of tannin, high acidity, and goes well with spiced barbecue dishes.


Known as Syrah in France, Shiraz is one of the darkest reds. It’s flavor of berries, pepper, tobacco, and smoked meat goes well with any foods, especially meat. The high levels of tannin contain the highest level of health benefiting antioxidants.


Malbec is a great crowd pleaser because it is an easy to drink wine with a ton of juicy flavors. Its medium levels of acidity and tannin allow it to go well with or without food. Malbec is considered the “working man’s Merlot” because it has many of the same characteristics but is cheaper.


Bordeaux is a blended wine of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot 7, and Malbec. Against rich, meaty foods this wine tastes sweet and fruity. Bordeaux tastes of black currant, plum, graphite, cedar, and violet, but the proportions of the blended wines will determine the exact flavor.

It’s Noja’s attention to detail and our focus on farm-fresh ingredients that has allowed us to continue to serve this area for so long. For an intimate meal in one of the Port City’s longest-running restaurants in Downtown Mobile, make a reservation to Noja. We have both indoor and outdoor seating in a secluded area, just steps from Dauphin Street in LODA at 6 N. Jackson Street. To reserve a table now, call 251-433-0377. Learn more about our cuisine and offerings at or on our Facebook page.

Noja is a MediterrAsian restaurant in the heart of downtown Mobile with an ever-evolving menu. Call us at 251-433-0377 to make a reservation today then visit us at 6 N. Jackson St.; Mobile.

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