The results are in and you’re clearly into Light Bodied Reds. Red wines are your go to, but you like them with a bright acidity, fruity, and easy drinking. You gravitate towards wines that are light and fruit forward with floral and spice notes much more than wines that are big, bold, heavy and full bodied.
We’re gonna take a wild guess here and say you mainly grab a bottle of Pinot Noir when you’re at your local wine shop. We love Pinot Noir. The name is derived from the French words for pine and black. The word pine alludes to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pinecone–shaped bunches of fruit. It is a thin skinned grape that takes on less color and tannin during fermentation. It is basically the exact opposite of Cabernet Sauvignon. But, just because it looks and tastes lighter than those bigger bolder reds doesn’t mean it isn’t complex. They run the gamut of flavors including cherry, raspberry, mushroom and forest floor, plus vanilla and baking spice when aged in French oak.
If you like Pinot Noir try…
We’re not here to steer you away from Pinot Noir if you’re convinced that it's your one true wine love. But there are a lot of other grapes out there, that’s one of the most exciting parts about wine. So we’re not saying you should take a break from Pinot Noir, but we do think you should try some other varieties we think you’ll love just as much!
Gamay is a light-bodied red wine that’s similar in taste to Pinot Noir. In fact, this variety is a cousin of Pinot Noir and it grows primarily next to Burgundy, France in a region called Beaujolais. Gamay wines are loved for their delicate floral aromas, subtle earthy notes, and surprising ability to pair with food. The best part is, you can find high quality Gamay at a much better price than Pinot Noir.
Best part? It packs a ton of aroma and flavor. Expect to smell fresh cut violets, iris and peony flowers, rounded out with cherry, raspberry and plum with subtle earthy quality. On the palate, the wines are light with high acidity and tart flavors of red fruits along with a subtle bitter note on the finish. It can be served chilled on those hot summer days and just like Pinot Noir, it can even be paired with fish.
Grenache is a red wine grape variety grown extensively in France, Spain, Australia and the United States. It is particularly versatile both in the vineyard and the winery, which may explain why it is one of the most widely distributed grapes in the world.
Who here is looking for a wine whose signature taste is fruit roll-up? That pretty much sold me. Grenache is full of juicy fruits, bursting with flowers and loaded with spice. It also plays a very important role in some of the wine world’s most famous blends. It produces wines exploding with cherry fruit along with herbal, almost smoky notes like oregano, lavender, and tobacco.
We are big fans of this light variety and if you can find it on its own even better! It is fun, versatile and can even be served a little chilled.
Cinsaut pronounced (Sin-So) is a French red-grape variety, traditionally used the Southern Rhône blend as a partner to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, and Provençal rosés. Cinsault delivers fresh, punchy reds that are just as floral as they are fruity. Good news for you! Despite a decline in plantings over the past decade, with stylistic trends moving towards lighter wines, Cinsault has been receiving fresh attention and there are new plantings being made especially in California.
Cinsaut is a versatile grape in the glass. As a varietal, it produces a soft wine that is low in tannins with a light, brick red color. The most commonly found descriptor is bright, red berry fruits. Cinsault sourced from older vines that are at least 20 years old contribute a more sweet spice and meatiness complexity.
Sangiovese means the blood of Jupiter and it is one of Italy’s influential grapes. In Tuscany, it is the base for some of Italy’s most famous wines. These include Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino.
The most common tasting note for Sangiovese is acididy. In its native home of Tuscany, while the days may be warm, the nights cool down significantly. This helps the grapes retain their natural acidity as they ripen. Most Sangiovese wines have notes of bright red fruit like cherry and raspberry. They also have notes of earth, truffle, and spice and older wines can take on nuances of coffee and leather. All of which complement the core of acidity that is synonymous with the varietal.
Many wines are 100% Sangiovese, or close to it. But it is also often blended with other, typically heavier, varietals like in the case of the Super Tuscans. Part of the magic of this grape is how well it blends with many different varietals. The key, of course, is to make sure that the blend is enhancing the flavors of the Sangiovese, instead of overwhelming it.
Counoise (pronounced “Coon-wahz”) is a dark-skinned wine grape grown primarily in the Rhône valley region of France. Counoise is used primarily as a blending grape in Châteauneuf du Pape.
Today, however, not much is planted. Less than .4% of Chateauneuf du Pape is devoted to the Counoise grape. Counoise and Chateauneuf du Pape are a natural combination as the grape grow best in hot, dry, gravelly soils.
Counoise is often described as a peppery and spicy grape variety, but it also adds much in the way of plum and wild berry (strawberry and raspberry) flavors. Secondary notes of anise and licorice have also been described in some examples.
Counoise is mostly used in blends because the variety lacks deep color, strong tannins and potential alcohol. However, it does provide good acidity and in Provence it is used to make crisp and lively rosé wine, while in California there is an increasing trend towards producing single variety Counoise wines. If you can find one in your local shop you should definitely give it a try!
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