The different types of red wine are determined by their grapes. Their color by the grape skins (actually called black). When it comes to red wine for beginners you will want to know, the most typical red grapes:
If you know these four wines and have acquainted yourself with them, you will be able to make your way around.
If you haven't tried each of these, I definitely recommend opening a bottle (at least) of each. Probably best with friends. That will make it more fun and you won't end up having to finish four bottles of wine on your own.
Would you like some tips to make it more fun and well, ok, educational? Check out my Wine Tasting page.