8 Best Light Red Wine Varietals For Every Wine Drinker

Light Red Wine Varietals

You may ask, who will enjoy light red wines?

  • For many white wine drinkers, they prefer lighter red wines.
  • Also for many wine beginners, light red wine is a great place to start.
  • And for wine connoisseurs and red wine lovers, they are some of the greatest wines in the world.

So basically, a light red wine is the ideal choice for all types of drinkers. And they are becoming increasingly sought-after for their smooth and easy drinking flavor.

So whether you’re new to red wine or an experienced enthusiast, these 8 light red wine varietals should be on your must-try list.

But please keep in mind that not every selection of these 8 red wine varietals will be a light red wine. Each wine is unique on its own, some vineyards/winemakers will produce the wine a little differently than the other. Therefore, there will be different types of each of these wines.

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What is the Definition of Light Red Wine?

We characterize light red wines by their low body, acidity, alcohol or tannin content- or a combination of any of the four. Therefore, the term “light red wine” is often ambiguous and can encompass a range of possibilities.

8 Best Light Red Wine Varietals

1) Pinot Noir

pinot noir vs cabernet sauvignon body full bodied red wine

First up is the most popular light red wine, which is Pinot Noir. Because its most known for being a light bodied red wine with a lower acidity and tannin level.

You can find many different regions that produce this amazing wine. This Burgundian variety is known for its earthy aromas of cherry and raspberry along with subtle hints of rose petals and herbs. But if you are looking for a lighter acidity and more fruit forward Pinot Noir, I believe you can find it in Willamette Valley in Oregon.

And one of the best things about Pinot Noir is how well it pairs with food. To give you an idea check out our Pinot Noir Food Pairings!

2) Gamay

Quick Facts About Gamay

Another great option for a light red wine is Gamay aka Beaujolais, which is made from the Beaujolais region of France. And it’s also a light bodied red wine with low tannin levels and delicate aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry.

And its usually low in tannins and high in acid, which gives it a fresh finish. Also its bright fruitiness makes Gamay a great choice for pairing with food. Just another wine that pairs well with many different types of foods such as roasted chicken, salmon, sushi rolls, and creamy pasta dishes.

3) Garnacha

Grenache Fun Facts full bodied red wine

Grenache is another great choice for those looking for a light red wine varietal. Mainly grown in Spain and France, but for a lighter wine I would choose one grown and produced in the US. Because it’ll be more of a fruit forward wine with bright acidity.

The flavor of Grenache wine is heavily influenced by its terroir. So from France, you can find dark and red fruit aromas, along with earth, herbs, and smoky flavors. And from Spain, you will have aromas and flavors of earth, black fruits, tobacco, licorice, and dark chocolate.

Finally, Grenache wines are known for their peppery, berry flavors and a smooth palate, as well as a relatively high alcohol content (14% – 16%). And generally this wine features a low to medium tannin content, moderate acidity, and a medium body

4) Lambrusco

lambrusco alcohol full bodied red wines wine tasting

Lambrusco is an Italian sparkling red wine made from the Lambrusco grape variety native to Emilia-Romagna in Italy.

And the Lambrusco di Sorbara variety is the most popular among all of its types, with a light, delicate flavor profile that has floral and fruity undertones along with a slight sweetness. But there are also dry varieties of Lambrusco available to choose from which have tart notes instead.

The flavors are fresh yet complex with notes of tart cherry, strawberries, blackberry jam, citrus zest, and cream on the palate. It’s perfect for pairing with pizza or spicier pasta dishes.

5) Pinotage

Pinotage name red wine red wine red wine red wine

Pinotage is an interesting South African hybrid grape created by crossing two classic varieties: Pinot Noir & Cinsault (both on this list).

This variety is known for its intense dark berry notes on the nose followed by subtle herbal, smoky notes on the palate along with oak aging characteristics like tobacco and leather.

This red wine pairs well with game meats like venison or rabbit as well as hearty stews or roast beef dishes/casseroles that are cooked in tomato sauce based gravies/stews (such as boeuf bourguignon).

6) Zinfandel (California's Heritage grape)

best zinfandel drink red wine

Zinfandel hails from California’s Central Valley where it produces darkly colored  medium to full bodied red wines, yet still retain their acidity making them surprisingly food friendly despite their higher alcohol content (14-17%).

They have ripe fruit-forward flavors of cherry, raspberry, blackberry jam, and hint of spicy notes like pepper & clove which make them ideal for pairing alongside BBQ’d meats or spicier dishes such as chili con carne!

7) Primitivo

primitivo wine croatian grape

Primitivo is an Italian grape variety known for producing medium to full bodied red wines but still have relatively low tannins which can be great food pairings due to their soft structure & juicy character – think ripe blackberries, cherries, and raspberries alongside savory spice, leather, and tobacco.

Perfect for anything from charcuterie boards including salami & prosciutto through to braised lamb shanks & more rustic cuts of pork cooked in rich tomato sauces!

8) Cinsault

cinsault wine tasting notes

Cinsault is a French grape variety which tends to produce softer styled wines than many other classic French varietals – perfect if you’re looking for something more approachable but still want plenty of flavor!

Expect aromas of wild berries, white pepper & violets on the nose followed by juicy cherries & raspberries on the palate balanced out by just enough earthiness so you don’t forget you’re drinking a classic French style red wine! Pair this one up against any Mediterranean dish – think ratatouille or grilled vegetables served over couscous finished off with feta cheese – delicious!


What is the best light red wine to drink?

The best light wine to drink is going to depend on your own personal preference. Some popular light red wines include Pinot Noir, Grenache, Lambrusco, Zinfandel, Primitivo and Cinsault.

What is the most easy drinking red wine?

The most easy-drinking red wine again depends on your own personal preference. However, I would choose Pinot Noir, Lambrusco, and Gamay as the most “easy” drinking light red wines.

Is Pinot Noir lighter than Merlot?

Yes, Pinot Noir is typically one of the more light bodied red wines. And it has lighter tannins, lighter color, and lighter flavor profile. Merlot on the other hand is usually a bit fuller bodied red wine with more tannic structure and richer fruit notes. Merlot is closer to Cabernet Sauvignon than Pinot Noir in body. 


There you have it – our 8 favorite light red wine varietals including Gamay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Lambrusco , Pinotage , Zinfandel , Primitivo, and Cinsault . With these picks we guarantee there will be something that appeals to every taste bud out there – so get sipping already!

And to learn even more about these delicious varietals take your time exploring them each in depth – enjoy discovering nuances you may not have considered before! Cheers!

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