A Help Guide
Isn’t it wonderful how certain wines bring out rich flavors in different foods? One of the first details many wine connoisseurs want to learn is how to distinguish which wines go with which foods. So what should you consider when deciding which red wine is lightest to compliment your dinner?
What Makes Wine Light, Anyway?
First off, let’s consider what it is that actually makes wines light or heavy. Technically, the term “light” refers to the body of the wine, as in how much alcohol is packed into it. Wines with less alcohol content are considered “lighter” than wines with more alcohol content. You can imagine lighter wines feeling something like water in your mouth—however flavourful—and heavier wines feeling something closer to milk.
Sometimes, red wine is referred to as full, medium, or light-bodied. These refer to the presence of a wine’s tannins, which are born from the skins of the grapes it was made from. Tannins give red wines their colour and girth, and are credited for the “drying out” sensation red wine gives your mouth. The less tannins, the thinner-bodied the wine, the lighter the wine.
I like light red wines because they can be used to complement a large variety of meals. Their fruity flavor and light aromas bounce off your mouth and nose providing you with a great wine-to-food ratio. From pizza to filet mignon, a light red wine will fit the bill.
So, Which Red Wine is Lightest?
When it comes to the tannins in red wine, there are certain grapes from which the wine is made that are lighter than others. For example, a Chianti or Merlot will have more tannins than a light-bodied wine, but less than a heavy-bodied wine. The grapes that create such medium-bodied delicacies will be darker in color, pulling rich flavor and deep color from their skins.
Pinot Noir, a more burgundy-colored wine from France, offers the delightful fruity taste of any other light red wine with the sophistication of a more premiere wine class. Paired with grilled salmon, rack of lamb, or even turkey, Pinot Noir is sure to delight your senses and is a deliciously light red wine. Plan on spending a little more on a bottle of this wine—it is worth it!
Then there are the Gamay grapes, which produce some of the lightest and most delicious wines available. You can usually find these wines to be inexpensive and available at most grocery stores. The best Gamay grape wines can be found by names such as “Beaujolais” and are grown in France.
When considering which red wine is lightest, it is essential to look at wines created from Gamay grapes. Rich, splendidly colourful, and tasty on the tongue, you will find these wines to be the lightest of the light reds and provide you all of the goodness you expect from a light red wine. So grill up your lamb chops or salmon—or even some spaghetti—and you will have yourself one delicious and light wine meal!