As the weather starts to warm, many people assume it’s time to stow away the red wine and make way for whites and rosés. That’s not necessarily the case. Did you know there are plenty of lighter, refreshing red wines for you to sip on this summer?
Don’t count out red quite yet - we’re sharing the best light red wines for summer!
Top Light Red Wines for Summer
1. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is probably the first place your mind goes when you think light body red wines. That’s because it’s one of the most widely grown varieties! Loved for its red fruit, flower, and spice aromas, Pinot Noir has high acidity and low alcohol content so it’s ideal for a summer wine night with friends, happy hour, or a glass out on your porch as you take in the summer air.
Arguably the lightest red wine of all, Lambrusco is the perfect bubbly wine for summer sipping. Imagine your favorite light red, plus a little bit of fizz. Lambrusco crosses all the best parts of red wine and sparkling wine to create a combo that’s perfect for your patio.
Zinfandel is another light red known for its jammy flavor profile and notes ranging from black raspberry to spicy strawberry jam. While it has intense jammy fruit flavors, Zinfandel is still very light bodied. However, it does have a little bit higher alcohol content, so keep that in mind as you select your summer wine.
It’s important to mention that Zinfandel and Primitivo both originate from the same Croatian grape. They’re close relatives, but Primitivo wines usually come from Italy and are on the lighter side. Primitivo can also be aged in oak barrels, adding a bit of spice and vanilla to the profile.
Try saying that five times fast. Originating in Austria, this light red wine is a cross between Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent and has flavors of fresh berries. It has low tannins and acidity which means it’s best enjoyed in its younger years. Don’t let Zweigelt’s beautiful purple hue fool you - it’s definitely one of the best red wines for summer.
Since the 1900’s, Pinotage has lovingly become known as ‘South Africa’s grape.’ Like the name suggests, it’s actually a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes.
If you’ve never tried a Pinotage before, we highly recommend asking for our Indulu Pinotage in your next wine box! With dark fruit notes of blackberry and plum alongside aromas of campfire smoke, this bright red wine is a must-try.
Grenache is an extremely versatile red wine - it’s used as a blending grape in GSM blends and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. You may recognize it by another name, Garnacha, which is what they call it in Spain.
Grenache is known for spice and aromatic characteristics, which is why it’s so widely known as a blending grape. Its light body and high acidity makes it the perfect summer wine to add to our list of notable light reds.
With intense tannins but light body, this red wine offers flavors of pepper, rose, clay, and red currant. Nebbiolo is known as one of Italy's most famous grapes, and it’s used in both Barolo and Barbaresco. If you traditionally reach for a Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll love this lighter alternative that still offers all the tannin-y goodness.
In Vino Finito
When it comes to the best light bodied red wines for the summer, Bright Cellars has you set. Have you tried the light reds on our list? Let us know in the comments!