10 Red Wines With Low Tannins (Grapes and Bottles)

unhappy with the wine

The presence of tannins in wine is a very interesting matter, especially when it comes to red, owing to the fact that many wine drinkers just can’t stand the bitter, mouth-drying taste.

The interesting part is that they are a very important part of wine and winemaking as they add structure and boldness to wines, contributing to the ability of a wine to be aged.(1)

red wine tannin chart

It’s hard to find a red wine without tannins but knowing what to look for can make all the difference and help you choose a wine with less tannins to start with.

Let’s take a look at some inexpensive recommendations for low tannin red wines:

Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018

Burgundy red
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The Pinot Noir grape has a very gentle and thin skin which makes it one of the lowest tannin red wines. It produces a light-bodied wine with a very pleasant and refreshing food-friendly acidity.

Our number 1 recommendation for a low tannin red wine is a Burgundy Pinot Noir, however, Pinot Noir wines are produced all around the world, with the most popular coming from Oregon, California, New Zealand, and Australia.

Vieilles Vignes is a great low tannin Pinot Noir, with a light body, and a very elegant and delicate structure. It develops a very pleasant aroma of dark fruits, spices, and licorice and a smooth finish on the palate with notes of dark fruits, ripe cherries, and earth.

This low tannin red wine makes a great companion to fish higher in protein such as salmon and tuna, all poultry and game dishes, mushroom-based entrées, and light and soft cheeses such as Comte or Brie.

Cote de Bruilly 2020 (Gamay)

Beaujolais red
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The Gamay grape is a French variety planted all across France, with Beaujolais being the most important and famous region. Gamay produces low tannin red wines with a fruity profile and relatively high acidity.

The purple color of the Gamay wine is an indicator of its light body composition.

Cote de Bruilly 2020 is a great option for a wine lover that enjoys wines with low tannins and wants to try a Beaujolais wine, as it offers a silky structure, predominantly fruity aromas of cherry and figs, and a refreshing palate with cranberry, raspberry, and earthy flavors.

A great match for this low tannin wine would be poultry, veggie risotto, or even shellfish and high-fat fish.

G.D. Vajra Barbera d’Alba

Barbera
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The Barbera grape produces wines low in tannins with a profile that is very similar to Pinot Noir, with a very light body, fruit-forward taste, and high natural acidity.

Barbera is the most planted grape variety in Piedmont, Italy, followed by the Nebbiolo grape which is used in the making of Barolo and Barbaresco wines. California is the second home of Barbera, followed by Argentina.

G.D. Vajra Barbera d’Alba is a fruity low tannin red wine, with a very supple taste, and delicate texture, exhibiting a bouquet of sweet cherry and earth, and flavors of licorice, chocolate, and green figs.

The high acidity in this wine makes it a great match for foods such as Italian pasta with white and red sauce, poultry, and game, and the low tannin content makes it the perfect companion for heavier fish such as tuna and salmon.

Schiavenza Dolcetto d’Alba 2019

Dolcetto red
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The Dolcetto grape variety shares the same terroir in Piedmont, Italy with the Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes. Although the name translates to “little sweet one”, Dolcetto is a dry red wine with a very small amount of residual sugar.

In fact, Dolcetto is one of the lightest easy-drinking Italian red wines, with a light body and relatively low tannin content.

Schiavenza Dolcetto d’Alba 2019 is a light and low tannin red wine with moderate acidity and a pleasant fruity bouquet with hints of licorice, cherry, and plum on the palate.

Although it can be enjoyed on its own, the Schiavenza Dolcetto d’Alba will make a great companion to all kinds of pasta, rich seafood, and even pizza.

El Enemigo Bonarda 2018

Bonarda
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The Bonarda grape is the second most planted grape in Argentina after Malbec. Although it carries the same name as the Piedmont Bonarda, it is a completely different grape. Bonarda is a french grape variety also known as Douce Noir.

The Bonarda red wines are low to medium tannin, fruity on the nose, with a smooth enjoyable finish. Even though they do contain some tannins, most Bonarda wines are barrel aged and the bitterness of the wine is dramatically reduced.

El Enemigo Bonarda 2018 is a medium body low tannin red wine, with a pleasant light structure, blueberry, plum and oak on the nose, followed by black currant, vanilla, and earthy flavors.

A great food suggestion will be duck, pork, and even some veal dishes, as the Bonarda wine offers a food-friendly acidity that will bring forth a very refreshing taste on the palate.

Porrera (Vi di la Vila) Garnacha 2018

Garnacha
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The Spanish Garnacha grape or the French Grenache, which are actually the same grape, is another recommended option to explore if one prefers red wine with low tannins. Grenache comes in both red and white varieties with Grenach Blanc as the white wine version.

Although Grenache contains slightly more tannins than Pinot Noir, the wine it produces is pleasant-tasting and very smooth on the palate.

Besides being one of the ChâteauneufduPape grape varieties in Rhone Valley, France, and one of the most planted grapes in Priorat, Spain, the Grenache grape also thrives very well in Italy and Australia.

Porrera (Vi di la Vila) Garnacha 2018 is a full-bodied Spanish red wine with a rich bouquet of black currants, raspberries, and cinnamon, along with an intense herbal and earthy taste on the palate.

Juicy meats such as pork or veal shank will be a great match for this wine, or you can pair it with some semi-hard cheeses like Gouda or Emmental.

Gracci Etna Rosso 2019

Etna Rosso
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Nerello Mascalese is the grape variety that produces Etna Rosso wine, and yes, as the name suggests, the home of this low tannin red wine is Mount Ethna, the famous raging volcano in Sicily, Italy.

The color of Nerello Mascalese is light red (even lighter than Pinot Noir). It is a red wine with a delicate body, moderate acidity, and smooth aftertaste.

Gracci Etna Rosso 2019 is a low tannin red wine, with a bouquet of sweet cherries, mushrooms, vanilla, and flavors of blueberries, earth, and spices.

Etna Rosso is a very food-friendly wine, best paired with the local Italian cuisine and all kinds of poultry.

Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2018

Chianti
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The world-famous “romantic” Chianti is a Tuscany red wine, with Sangiovese being the main grape, followed by Canaiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sangiovese typically produces low tannin red wines, with generous acidity and a fruit-forward profile. The color of Sangiovese is ruby, and if blended with other grapes, as in this case Chianti, it results in a slightly deeper red shade.

Volapaia Chianti Classico Riserva is a dry wine, with distinctive aromas of licorice, ripe red fruits, and a delicate palate with black currant, vanilla, and strawberry flavors.

Chianti pairs very well with red meats, roast lamb, and game dishes.

Mustiguillo Mestizaje Bobal 2019

Bobal
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Bobal is another example of low tannin red wine. It thrives in the Utiel-Requena region in Valencia, Spain.

Bobal wines are dry and easy on the palate, with a pleasant acidity and a fruity profile.

Mustiguillo Mestizaje Bobal is a light red wine, with fresh aromas of raspberry, herbs, spices, and wood and blueberry fruit flavors.

A great match for this wine will be poultry, all kinds of Spanish tapas, and even a rich creamy risotto.

Abazzia di Novacella Schiava 2021

Schiava
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Schiava is an Italian grape variety, grown in the Alto Adige region and across Europe under different names.

Due to the thin grape skins, the resulting wine from Schiava is a very light and low tannin red wine.

Abazzia di Novacella Schiava 2021 is a delicate red wine with moderate acidity, a fruity palate, and enjoyable aromas of sweet plum, figs, and ripe raspberry.

This low tannin wine can be extremely delicate when it comes to food pairing so it’s best to go light and easy with dishes such as roasted veggies, light pasta, shellfish, and pizza.

Tannins in Wine Grapes Explained

Tannins are polyphenolic compounds found in wine, coffee, tea, and vegetables. The taste of tannins can be bitter and astringent, with a drying effect on the mouth.

Tea bag

The tannins in wines come from the grape’s skin and seeds, naturally developing as the grape grows.

As the thickness of the wine grape skin plays a significant role in the wine tannin content, grapes with thinner skin such as Pinot Noir and Barbera will produce low tannin wines, while thicker skin grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec will make high tannin red wines.

It does not necessarily mean that high tannins in wine are a bad thing, it’s surprisingly the most heart-healthy component in wine, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a great antioxidant.(2)

The best way to start exploring tannins is with a low tannin red wine, and then gradually switching to high tannic wine options.

FAQ

Does white wine have tannins?

Yes, most white wines contain some tannins, although not as much as red wine.

Is Tannin and Sulfites the same?

No, tannins and sulfites are completely different compounds, and while almost every wine has them, Pinot Noir, Barbera, and Dolcetto are red wines with low tannins and sulfites.

What are the lowest tannin red wines?

According to many researchers, the Frontenac and Marquette grape varieties produce the least tannic red wines.

Stan Kushkin