Drinking the lowest tannin red wines is a great option if you dislike the bitter taste that tannins can add to red wine.
4 Reasons Why The Lowest Tannin Red Wines Are Worth It
As a wine drinker, you’re looking for a good experience. Drinking wine is meant to be fun! Some wine enthusiasts don’t mind tannin content, and some people dislike this natural substance. To be clear, tannins are completely natural biomolecule, and they are not limited to wine. Tannins are commonly found in tea, nuts, fruit, and wine.
1 Tannin Sensitivity
As a wine drinker, you may be highly sensitive to tannin content. Or you might be inviting a friend over for a dinner party who has tannin sensitivity. In that case, choosing white wines and red wines made in a low-tannin style is a great solution. After all, tannic wine is not for everyone.
2 Avoid Wine Headaches
As a wine lover, wine headaches are a risk you run while enjoying wine. However, some people find that they get particularly unpleasant wine headaches from tannins. You may avoid wine headaches if you select red wine with low alcohol levels that are also produced in a low-tannin style.
According to Harvard University, tannins can “spur the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which at high levels can cause headaches in some people.” Keep in mind that high alcohol content may also contribute to wine headaches. In that case, switching to a light-bodied wine with a lower alcohol content may also be helpful.
3 White Wine Lovers Looking For Something New
As a white wine drinker, you might be curious to brand from familiar wines like Sauvignon Blanc and explore some new delicious wines. In that case, starting with the lowest tannin red wines makes sense. Tannins are one of the most significant differences between red wines and white wines. Therefore, drinking low-tannin red wine is a good starting point to make red wines more approachable.
4 Personal Taste As A Wine Lover
Personal taste preferences are the final reason why you might prefer the lowest tannin red wines. You might not like the astringent flavor in high-tannin wine. If you enjoy the fruity flavors in wine, the bitter taste of tannin might not be to your taste. Personal taste as a white wine lover is another reason why you might prefer low-tannin wines.
Keep in mind that there is a vast world of wine varieties out there. Some wine connoisseurs love tannin content in their red wines! You don’t have to go that far. However, exploration in wine is one reason why wine is so enjoyable. If you are looking for an introduction to red wines and white wines (including the best white wine to cook with), check out this post on the best beginner wines.
Lowest Tannin Red Wines: What To Look For
Finding the lowest tannin red wines is easy when you know what to look for. It is easiest to find wines with low tannin content if you take your time in the wine shop. It is a bit more complicated in a restaurant since you usually can’t look at multiple wine bottles.
1 Check For Keywords in Wine Reviews
Wine reviews are your friend when you are searching for the lowest tannin red wines. There are two ways to use reviews. First, look for reviews of red wines that use phrases like “fruit-forward style.” This comment can mean that there is relatively minimal tannin content. On the other hand, look for reviews that use terms like “harsh tannins” or cases where tannin content is discussed at length.
Use the following websites and publications as a source of wine reviews. Almost all wine connoisseurs rely on these resources to navigate the wine world
- Wine Enthusiast
- Wine Spectator
- Natalie MacLean (excellent coverage of wines available in Canada)
- Jancis Robinson (one of the best British wine experts int he world)
Some wine reviewers will tell you what to expect regarding tannin levels but don’t expect it in every case. To better understand what you will encounter in your glass of wine, you need a basic level of understanding of the essential grapes.
2 Know Your Wine Grapes
When you know your way around wine grapes, it is easier to find a popular wine that you will enjoy. Keep in mind that many popular wine bottles, including those from Bordeaux, are a wine blend of several wine varieties.
The following red wine varieties are noted for their low tannin content. In terms of flavor, that means you will generally avoid the bitterness associated with tannins. These wine grapes are available as affordable wines, so spending $100 per bottle is no need.
- Merlot. In American wine, French wine, and other regions, the Merlot grape variety is one of the most popular red wine grapes. For more insight into Merlot, check out my comparison post: Pinot Noir vs Merlot.
- Pinot Noir. Produced worldwide, the Pinot Noir grape variety is prevalent in cool climate climates like Ontario and the Pacific Northwest (i.e., Oregon and Washington). In terms of fruity flavors, Pinot Noir is commonly described as cherry and raspberry.
- Zinfandel. Twenty years ago, Zinfandel had a poor reputation. Today, most wine tasters and wine connoisseurs agree that Zinfandel wine has improved dramatically. Do yourself a favor and avoid the inexpensive wine area of the wine shop when shopping for Zinfandel. Spending at least $20 to $30 for a bottle will help you find a quality bottle.
- Barbera. This Italian wine grape has been around for centuries. In terms of taste, expect it to taste like strawberries. It is commonly aged in oak barrels which further adds to the taste. It is generally considered to have a low level of tannins. If you have never tried this Italian grape, it is well worth trying a glass of wine.
- Gamay. In French wine regions, the Gamay grape variety is produced in the Loire Valley and Beaujolais (e.g., Most of the lowest tannin red wines are known for their cherry flavors. Gamay is a bit different – it tastes more like blackberry. For an occasion, consider buying a bottle of Cru Beaujolais. In American wine, you can find good Gamay produced in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
What About Acidity Levels?
Tannins in wine are not the only factor that influences the taste. Acidity levels also have a significant effect. When I first started learning about wine, I didn’t understand why acidity levels matter. In a well-made wine, the acidity helps to balance other elements in the wine. In white varietals, a reasonable amount of acid gives the wine a refreshing taste, perfect when you’re drinking wine on a hot day. There is much more to be said about the acidity levels, but that is a topic for another day.
Want To Know The Best Beginner Wines?
Now that you know all about the lowest tannin red wines, you might feel ready to try something else like the best red wine for non wine drinkers.. In that case, I recommend trying the Best Beginner Wines – you will find out about quality red and white wines that are widely available at a reasonable price.