If You Like Cabernet and Syrah, You'll Like …
Big is the watchword in this category: big color. With big fruit, big tannin, big oak, big alcohol, and big structure, these wines are the equivalent of strength athletes, rugby or football players, ready to tackle your palate and crush it. They are always memorable and intense.
Amarone Style - Based on the Corvina grape, this is a cracking big wine with 14%+ alcohol and classic Italian dry cherry, earth, leather licorice, cassis and coffee, tannins stand out and teeth are stained. No cellar can be happy without at least one batch of this brooding in the corner.
Brunello Style - a kind of superheavyweight Sangiovese, this red belies its ripe cherry and currant notes with not only spice, pepper and leathery character, but also a firm acidity that combines with a brightly tannic finish to make it a great food wine.
GSM - Blending Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, this is a new-world take on Rhone blends. Plummy black fruit with hints of anise, coffee and tobacco and notes of blueberry with strong but not astringent tannins.
Malbec - Black cherry, blackberry, black currant and spicy notes make this grape rich, and big tannins give it length, power and structure
Montepuliciano Style - Medium bodied, the tannins, combined with strong acidity are what moves this wine into the big category, along with dark fruit and spicy notes.
Nebbiolo - Another crushingly big Italian grape, the same one that goes into Barolo, this is not for the faint of palate: dark cherry, black licorice, tar and violets lead to a finish you almost need to chew.
Petite Verdot - A kind of 'monster cabernet', this Bordeaux grape is ultra fruit-forward with blackberry, black currant and an intense, gripping finish.
Rossa/Rosso/Rojo - Proprietary styles of each of the kit manufacturers, these wines are a modern version of Amarone, but with warmer flavors, even more alcohol, and (frankly) ludicrous levels of sweet, toasty oak. Drinking a bit more like slightly dry red Port than table wine, they're nevertheless tasty and rich.
Super Tuscan - Blending Cabernet or Merlot with Sangiovese yields a wine with the considered acidity and firm tannins of Italy and the straight-shooting fruit and big tannin of Bordeaux. Together they make a light-heavyweight of a wine, that has light feet and still manages a solid punch.