Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Jun 17, 2012 02:16 PM

ISO fruity, light red

I was enjoying the table wines in Italy across the north. While I know they varied depending on the region, a lot of them were fairly light, fruity, not too tannic, not floral, lower alcohol, easy drinking. While I love a robust red, sometimes, especially in the summer or before dinner, I like some lighter. We brought a couple Bardolinos home that fit the bill but they are all gone. Can you help me find something (readily available in Canada) inexpensive that would fit the bill. Doesn't need to be Italian. Even just some comparable grape varietals would be useful then I can search out where to find them. Unfortunately our local liquor stores have next to no wine knowledge.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Beaujolais is an oft cited region in France that tends to make light, not very oaked red wines from the gamay grape.

    Pinot noir can be made in a very bright cherry style without a lot of tannin or oak. Oregon pinots, Sonoma Coast pinots, and New Zealand pinots are also worth a try (though styles vary greatly by producer)

    1. I suggest you start sampling inexpensive Australian and South African reds. There are some very nice wines in these categories. I've used that strategy living in two very different places (Hawaii and Israel) and it's served me well without emptying my wallet.

      7 Replies
      1. re: emu48

        I've found a lot of Australian wines to be very heavy, oaky and tannic (as well as high in alcohol). Do you have any recs for a low alcohol, light Australian red?

        1. re: goldangl95

          Australian reds are not at all what would come to my mind to me they are very big and jammy and robust. Beaujolais to me screams floral, perhaps my memory is clouded on this (it has been a long time since I have had one). While I enjoy a pinot, they are virtually impossible to find for under 30$ for a decent one, they have the lightness I am looking for, but missing something.

          1. re: cleopatra999

            You may want to retry Beaujolais - they are aromatic e.g. vivid noses, but there are plenty that do not have a noticeable floral nose/palate.

            Also, reds from Sancerre are light, but I really don't know enough about them to recommend particular producers.

            On Pinots, I'm not sure what prices are like in Canada. But there are some good Pinots available in CA at least for under $30.

            Some very widely available ones here:
            A to Z - for an everyday drinker
            La Crema - same
            Cambria - everyday drinker
            Copain - is pretty good would say elevates above the everyday
            Melville - is pretty good would say elevates above the everyday

            Three Miners and Amisfield may be out of this price range -uncertain

            1. re: goldangl95

              We can get La Crema up here it is under $30, not a fan. don't really know the others. But a pinot noir is really not what I am looking for, I am quite familiar with them. To me Pinot is lighter than what I want. With more thought (trying to remember what I drank in Italy) perhaps I am actually looking for something more medium bodied?

              I will retry the Beaujolais, do you have a specific one for me?

              1. re: cleopatra999

                Maybe try a majority grenache based blend? Chateauneuf-Du-Pape comes to mind. I really liked a wine made by Chateau de la Font du Loup, that I believe is right around $30 but not sure how widely available it is.

                Paso Robles Ca is making some majority Grenache based blends, but not sure how much of that wine is getting up to Canada. They are more reliably fruit forward and easier to drink young than Chateauneuf-Du-Pape

                You could also give Zinfandel a try. Ridge makes a few right around the 20-30 mark (though the young ones often need a decant).

                Merlot may be another idea, but it is not a varietal I have any familiarity with.

                For Beaujolais, the 2009 vintage was very rich and fruity, very easy drinking. Some cheaper/less well made ones may be fading a bit now but still should be going strong. The 2010 vintage was pretty good. Some producers really range in the quality of their Beaujolais. Some I can recommend, though your mileage may vary:
                Domaine du Vissoux/Pierre Marie Chermette
                Domaine des Terres Dorées

                I would say Beaujolais are Pinot light though - so it may end up not being what you want...

                1. re: goldangl95

                  I do love CduP however they too are quite pricey up here, often a Cote du Rhone can be found for cheaper.

                  Zindfandel IMO is full bodied, fairly jammy. However I have not really visited these for a few years.

                  I am hoping someone chimes in with some Italian suggestions, since that is where I was, I really should have paid more attention to exactly what I was drinking.

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    I feel your longing for those lower alcohol fresh reds. From Italy, try a Sicilian Frappato or Etna Rosso, a Dolcetto from Piemonte, and, from Sardegna, a Perdera from the winemaker Argiolas, made from the easy quaffing monica grape. From France, a Gaillac or Cotes du Frontonnais from the southwest, a Cotes du Luberon/Ventoux from the Rhone, or a Gamay from Touraine in the Loire. There are pinot noirs from Chile, like the one from Cono Sir, that are simple, inexpensive, and very gluggable.There are also Portuguese (Douro, Setubal, Lisboa regions) and Spanish tempranillos at a range of values, from mid-price Riojas (crianzas, and check alcohol) to tempranillos from other, less well-known regions, that could also fit the bill. No luck buying Bardolino or Valpolicella at home? You might consider some of the heartier roses from Spain, Italy (Puglia, Abruzzo), the Languedoc in France (Corbieres, Minervois) and Argentina (malbecs) as alternatives, too.

      2. I think a good Austrian Blaufrankisch is a perfect answer for what you are looking for. They aren't the easiest thing to find if you don't have a very good wine store though. If you can't find that maybe look for a cab franc from Loire.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bg90027

          You might also look for a Sicilian Frappato. They are very light reds generally served slightly more chilled than the average red and go well with fish in addition to beef or just for drinking on their own.

        2. I also think about the BJ's and at the Villages level. While I love the 1er Crus, they tend to be a bit less "fruity," though still lovely.

          Next, I think Pinot Noir, and the rec. for the Austrian (or German) is a good one. Both Austrian and German PN's are different, than what you will likely find from the US, and different from each other, they are lovely wines. I also like many domestic (US) PN's, though the more fruit-driven examples seem to less "light" in body.

          I have not explored enough NZ PN's to comment, but that might be a country to explore, as well.

          OZ, well they have some very lovely wines, but I have never encountered a LIGHT fruity red, but have obviously not tried them all. I find most to be much heavier, though very nice wines.



          1. You might want to try a Coup De Canon from the Loire Valley.
            I had a nice one the other day but It was a bit light for me as I prefer a fuller bodied red.