Soft fruity red wines are typically made from red grapes that are low in acidity, and they often have a lower alcohol content than other types of red wine. This results in 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.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A SOFT, FRUITY RED
It's the fruitiness of soft fruity red 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, darkberries, 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. Examples include most Beaujolais, Southern Rhone, some Southern Italian, some Pinot Noir from the New World, some USA Merlot and inexpensive American and Australian reds.
Soft fruity wines pair harmoniously with these cuisine choices.
Soft tannis feature in this delicious Pinot by Castle Rock from the USA.
CASTLE ROCK PINOT NOIR 2019
Carefully produced from grapes grown in a carefully elected group of California vineyards, this elegant and medium-bodied Pinot Noir offers aromas of cherry, tea and herbal spice. On the palate, it is smooth with a silky texture and mild tannins, giving flavours of black cherry, plum and spice. Finishing long and harmoniously, this versatile food wine pairs well with lamb, veal, salmon and light pasta dishes.
Platinum Medal / 94 Points Monterey International Wine Competition
Soft fruity wines tend to come from New World other than Old World regions. Most European wines that qualify for this style fall into the less fruity and less aromatically intense end of the this style’s spectrum. The exception is Beaujolais Nouveau. The few South American wines that fall into this style are less overtly fruity, slightly more tannic, and less fresh and bright in personality than North American and Australian versions.