As the weather begins to cool, light-bodied red wines begin to find their place. They are great wines with food and reassure those of us looking for something richer and warmer than the crisp Rosé and chilled whites we’ve been quaffing all summer long. If you’re looking to gently transition your wine list as Autumn and indeed Winter comes into view (where has this year gone by the way?) then take a look at our list below. I’ve asked our wine experts to select 5 of the best light-bodied reds perfect for the upcoming season.
Let us know what you think in the comments below, or let us know what you’ll be drinking this month. There are no right or wrong answers and although we may be biased, we think there are some corkers of light-bodied reds to be found in our range.
Coteaux Bourguignons Rouge Gamay-Pinot Noir, Louis Jadot >
We’re all well aware of the joys of Pinot Noir, it’s the grape that sets the goalposts for light-bodied red. Gamay however, known largely as the grape behind Beaujolais, is similar in taste and actually a cousin of Pinot Noir. These two grapes have been expertly blended in this Sommelier Wine Awards Gold medal winning wine from infamous Burgundy winemakers Louis Jadot. A blend of 70% Gamay, nearly a half of which comes from old vine Beaujolais vines, and 30% Pinot Noir from Chalon. It has a fresh, light palate and shows red and black summer fruits. A light, simple and delicate red that will pair well with light pork dishes, charcuteries and roast chicken.
Errázuriz Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley >
The Errázuriz winery was established in 1870 by Don Maximiano Errázuriz who recognised the potential of the Aconcagua Valley’s Mediterranean climate for premium wine production. Their Pinot Noir, from Chile’s Casablanca Valley is packed with vibrant fruit aromas. Vibrant cherry and strawberry jam fruit character on the nose. Hand-harvested and aged in French oak barrels which adds complexity and weight to the palate. The finish is elegant and smooth with notes of fraise and framboise. It picked up a silver medal at the 2016 International Wine Challenge and is a perfect example of great Chilean Pinot Noir. Producing high quality Pinot Noir is the ultimate challenge for any winemaker.
Anjou Cabernet Franc, Château de Fesles >
For lighter beef dishes and smoked or cured meats, this light fruit-driven red from the Loire Valley makes a perfect accompaniment. Château de Fesles is located in the southern tip of the Anjou region near the River Layon and very close to the tiny village of Bonnezeaux, which gets its name from the quality of the iron-rich water found here. The Cabernet Franc employed in this wine is grown on old vines on the plateau close to the village of Thouarce above the river. It shows ripe, red berry and plum flavours, with some herbaceous notes and a positive, refreshing acidity.
Chapel Down Union Red, England >
The German native hybrid grape of Rondo is an unusual early ripening red variety which thrives in England’s cooler climate. England lies at the extremity of viticultural viability; as such it’s an exciting new region with real challenges and rewards. The right vineyard sites are absolutely key; there is enormous potential to explore, discover and develop, as Chapel Down have done here. Its union of Rondo with the classic Pinot Noir grape produces attractive cherry and strawberry flavours in a light refreshing red. You could really enjoy this wine with some Cheddar, Cheshire or creamy blue cheese.
Chianti, Ruffino >
We couldn’t make a list of great light-bodied wines without a nod to Chianti. This Sommelier Wine Awards winning wine from Ruffino has some unique history to it. When Chianti became a DOCG in 1984, it was a bottle of Ruffino Chianti that wore the first warranty strip bearing the number 00000001. Even though this might not have been an intentional gesture, it seems to render a secret tribute, giving Ruffino and its Chianti ‘first-born’ status in the appellation. Made exclusively of Sangiovese, it shows floral and fruity notes that lead towards spicy scents of white pepper and hazelnuts.
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