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An introduction to fruity red wine

Fancy a vibrant red that isn't so full-bodied? Fruity red wines are lighter than their bolder counterparts, perfect for sipping in the sun.
Fruity red wine - main image

Soft fruity red wines are a popular choice when it comes to an easy-drinking wine style that can be enjoyed on its own or with a range of dishes. Our guide to fruity red wine reveals what to look for in a wine date that’s easy on the palate, playful and light.

If you find that red wines lean too heavily on the oak and result in a dry mouth thanks to a hefty dose of tannins, fruity red wine could be your ideal alternative. A popular choice for red wine newbies, the soft and smooth texture of a fruity red makes it your go-to for summer days.

Typically un-oaked, soft and fruity red wines are lower in tannins and feature notes of cherries, plums and blackcurrants. Less heavy than many traditional reds, they’re the perfect choice for BBQs, dinner parties or simply a casual end-of-the-day glass.

Fruity red wine - summer wine
Photography by Taylor Forrester

Fruity vs sweet red wine

You’d think fruity equates to sweet, but that isn’t always the case. While fruit flavours are associated with sweetness, that doesn’t mean the wine is sweet. You can have fruity and dry wines, as well as fruity and sweet wines – which makes tasting wine such a joy.

Sweet wines typically have a lower alcohol content, as sugar changes to alcohol during fermentation. So, the more sugar left, the sweeter the wine, and the lower the alcohol content generally. In the EU, a wine is considered sweet if it has 45g of sugar per litre (45g/L) or more. Natural sugar left after the fermentation process is sometimes there as a balance to the wine’s acidity.

Fruity wines, on the other hand, focus on the fruit flavour of the wine, and typical tend to be un-oaked. Oak barrels infuse wines with woody, spicy, vanilla notes, which over time can overpower the fruit aromas of the wine. Un-oaked wine has a more noticeable fruity flavour and is often lighter in body and colour.

Grape variety

The most common grapes used to produce fruity red wine varieties include:

  • Gamay/Beaujolais − low in tannins, with fruity flavours of blackberry, raspberry and cherry.
  • Pinot Noir – the younger the bottle, the lighter and fruitier the flavours. Features notes of strawberry, cranberry, raspberry and cherry.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – fruity characteristics of blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry.
  • Merlot − low in acidity and tannins. The Merlot grape is sweet and characterised by blackberries, cherries and plum flavours.

While Pinot Noir and Beaujolais are good choices for wine beginners – light-bodied and fruity flavours help ease beginners into a red wine palate – modern wine drinkers are welcoming a new era of wine blends.

For example, our R’Dotto Royale Italian Blend features the five-card-trick of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Montepulciano and Sagrantino. The result? A taste-defining five-star act that is rich, ripe and bright. Little wonder it has racked up eight golds in wine awards.

Fruity red wine varieties

What to eat and pair with fruity red wine

Fruity red wines are typically soft and light, so they go well with delicate foods that aren’t too overpowering when it comes to teasing the tastebuds.

Think vegetable dishes such as ratatouille or vegetable stir fry dishes. Charcuterie boards of cheese, olives and cold meats also balance the flavours of wines like Merlot.

Grilled meat, particularly chicken, works well with fruity wines like Gamay and Pinot Noir.

For meatier dishes, burgers and steaks won’t mask the softness of a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon such as our The Red Sedan Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, which makes it an ideal partner for a BBQ.

If you have a sweet tooth, Pinot Noir and Merlot are a match made in heaven with chocolate-based desserts such as mousse, chocolate-covered strawberries and truffles. The fruitiness of the red wine helps to balance the bitterness of the chocolate.

Fruity red wine - three bottles of RedHeads
Photography by Taylor Forrester

How to choose the best fruity red wine

When looking for fruity red wine, start with a Cabernet Sauvignon, or explore some of the more adventurous blends such as our R’Dotto Royale Italian Blend.

A lower alcohol percentage can also indicate a lighter, fruitier wine. Alcohol content under 12.5% is considered light-bodied.

Some of our easy-drinking, fruity reds include:

  • The Red Sedan Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz − a deliciously moreish and silky blend with bright red berry and mocha notes, rounded tannins and spicy vanilla oak.
  • R’Dotto Royale Italian Blend – full of bright freshness and ripe fruit, this medium-bodied red has cherry, pomegranate and raspberry notes.
  • Dan’Jango – a lush, drink-me-now blackberry-kissed Shiraz with a little tannin to lengthen the finish.