In search of lighter reds – ask Decanter

Not a big fan of big and heavy red wines. Julia Harding MW gives Decanter some advice on lighter red wines.

Ask Decanter: In search of lighter reds

Chris McGrath, from London, asks: Try as I might, I just don’t like wines with big, heavy tannins. Apart from Gamay, what other red grape varieties should I look out for?

Julia Harding MW, for Decanter, replies: The answer is not as simple as the question might suggest, because the amount and texture of the tannins in a red wine are influenced not only by the variety but also by where it is grown, when the fruit was harvested and the winemaking. For example, Grenache can be soft and juicy, or more savoury and structured.

Bearing all these caveats in mind, I’d suggest the following: Pinot Noir, Frappato, Dolcetto, Barbera, Schioppettino, Cornalin, Cinsault, Dornfelder, Sankt Laurent and Tarrango.

I’d also recommend that you befriend a good local independent wine merchant, who can guide you to specific wines rather than dealing in pitfall-ridden generalisations.

Julia Harding MW is co-author of Wine Grapes and Jancis Robinson MW’s associate palate.