Uncomplicated, youthful reds, such as most Beaujolais, Southern Rhone, some Southern Italian, some Pinot Noir from the New World, some USA Merlot and inexpensive American and Australian reds.
These are some of the easiest red wines to drink. They have delicious fruity flavours such as cherries, berries or plums, and they are quite soft in texture without the mouth-drying tannins found in many other reds. These are perfect for new wine drinkers or for those wine drinkers who normally drink whites.
It's the fruitiness of these wines that distinguishes them from other styles. It's the predominant characteristic of these wines. It's their reason for being. The most typical examples have aromas and flavours of red berries, dark berries, cherries, plums, currants and other fruits. Some have just a hint of oak in their aroma and flavour - a gentle vanilla note - but it is very mild and under stated. These wines don’t have mouth-drying oak tannins however. These are typically un-oaked wines, but where oak is used its often chips or staves rather than oak barrel maturation. They are therefore generally low in tannin making them soft and smooth. Some have a backbone of acidity like Bardolino. Others can be slightly sweet, but many are bone dry. Most are light to medium bodied. Those from the warmer climates can have fairly high alcohol which gives them weight and fullness, but they are still low in tannin and fruity. The over-riding impression is of a wine that is tasty, fruity and easy drinking.
The primary requirement for soft fruity reds is nicely ripe grapes, so that their flavours are fruity and their tannins are soft. This gives and edge to warmer climates such as California and Australia. The winemaker must also ensure that the tannins are minimised or at least that the fruit outweighs the tannins, by reducing skin contact during fermentation and minimising use of oak. Some grapes are naturally low in tannins like Pinot Noir so these grapes generally produce good examples of soft fruity reds.