Light reds have a big future?
I'm enjoying some lighter red wines this summer. It seems to me we're all a bit obsessed with bigger, darker, richer, sweeter red wines. But sometimes you want something lighter, with less of everything, but still good concentration and a smooth texture - perhaps with a bit more aromatic interest.
I'd like to think that lighter reds have a big future, as people turn away from the bigger is better mentality and begin to value such characteristics as elegance, balance, texture and poise. Let's face it, that's part of the appeal of Pinot Noir, isn't it?
Beaujolais can do lighter reds brilliantly, with a combination of granitic soils and the Gamay variety. [Granitic soils do seem to make lighter, more aromatic red wines.] But Beaujolais has been at least partly ruined by efforts to 'modernize' the wines, using special cultured yeasts that just make the wines smell and taste of bubblegum. Lighter reds seem to benefit from more natural vinifications.
Tonight I'm sipping a cheap Gamay from the northern Rhone that's quite delicious in the right context. Marks & Spencer Gamay 2007 Vin de Pays de l'Ardeche is a red wine that benefits from being served chilled, when it displays light, fresh cherry fruit with a subtle herby freshness and some strawberry sweetness. Vibrant and juicy, and good fun. 82/100