Knowing that you enjoy red wines with a red fruit profile can help open up the possibilities of new and exciting wines you've never tried before.
Red Wines with Red Fruit Profiles
by Beth Richman
You know you love red wine, but there are some that you enjoy more than others. The difference may depend on the fruit profile in each wine. Are you like me and always grab the red-colored candy out of the bag before eating the rest? Are you Team Cherry-Flavored Cough Drops? Do you only grab the red Gatorade? If so, you most likely enjoy red wines that have more red fruit in the profile over those with darker fruit notes. Welcome to #teamredfruit!
What does this mean for the wines you should look for the next time you’re wine shopping? This is where knowing the grape varieties in a bottle of wine is helpful. The fruit characteristics we taste come primarily from the skins of the grapes and these characteristics differ depending on the grape variety. Now, it’s important to note that when we taste cherry, for example, in a glass of wine, that doesn’t mean there are cherries in there! It’s all about what flavors in wine remind us of. We then can describe simply what the wine tastes like on our palate. Here are a few grape varieties that are known for their red fruit profile that may be right up your alley.
If you enjoy red summer berries then Pinot Noir is a great choice. It typically gives us notes of strawberry, cranberry, and raspberry, though these fruit characteristics can range from tart and sour to ripe and candied. This difference can come from the climate in which the grapes are grown, or how early the grapes are picked. The fun thing about Pinot Noir is that it is grown all over the world, so it’s possible to find a mix of both at most wine shops and restaurants. The other fun thing about Pinot Noir is that you can find a wide range in terms of body – from light and chillable to full and supple and everything in between. Branch out from the usual Pinot Noir regions, like France, Oregon and California and try one from New Zealand, Chile, or Germany instead. You won’t be disappointed!
If you think that cherry-flavored anything is the best, Sangiovese is the grape variety for you! Sangiovese is the dominant grape in Tuscany, Italy, but you rarely find it on a label. Instead, you see geographic designations like Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino, or Brunello di Montalcino.
The red wines from these sub-regions are predominantly Sangiovese and will give you tart and ripe cherry fruit notes along with savory elements such as balsamic, herb, or minerality. These savory notes mean Sangiovese is very food-friendly, so pairing with a weeknight meal is easy. The aging requirements for these various classifications differ, so I recommend starting with a Chianti or Chianti Classico before working your way through others that will have more age and oak influence.
For red wine lovers who enjoy fuller styles of wine with more tannin and structure surrounding their red fruit profile, then Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine of choice. It can have a range of red fruit notes, from raspberry to black cherry to red currant. Because of its high tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon benefits from aging and blending, so in many cases you’ll find blends, such as those out of Bordeaux, or examples with some oak aging. If you go for a Bordeaux blend, aim for those from the Left Bank; look for Médoc, Haut-Médoc, or Paulliac. You can also find great examples out of California, Italy, South Africa, Australia, and Argentina.
Knowing that you enjoy red wines with a red fruit profile can help open up the possibilities of new and exciting wines you may have never tried before. Still looking for others to try that commonly have a red fruit profile? Don’t forget Gamay, Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Grenache. Or stop in the shop today and ask us for a fun, off-the-beaten-path wine with a similar profile. Find a new favorite? Let us know at @dcanterwines!