Easy Breezy: the best light red wines for spring | Wine

HAfter saying last week that I never had enough white wines in my wine rack, I now realize that I rarely have enough red wines that I want to drink either. You also? Maybe the kids sneakily “borrow” bottles when your back is turned, but it’s more a matter of season, I think, and the shift from winter to spring and early summer.

At this time of year, I want reds that are light, bright and airy, that is, from a recent vintage and largely unoaked, and the kind of wine I could happily drink without eating. . (I know a lot of people are perfectly happy drinking a 14.5% Malbec on its own, but I’m not among them, or at least not yet.)

It is a style of wine considered in France as a thirsty wine or gurgling, or a thirst quencher. The English equivalent of gluggability or smashability is the closest thing to it, but it somehow suggests excess rather than drinking capacity. (Having said that, one of the wines in today’s selection, the Saint-Pourçain which surprisingly ranks as a Loire wine – the Loire is incredibly long – has the words “Raaa Great Thirst! Boss, another one! on the label.)

In fact, France still does this style better than anyone, as long as you exclude pinot noir from elsewhere. Beaujolais is the obvious example, although the believed (Village) wines can be serious, as can Loire reds made from Cabernet Franc. Anjou is a particular favorite in this week’s lineup, and only 12.5%; along the same lines, I would also look for bardolino, frappato and valpolicella from Italy and bobal and mencia from Spain.

So-called new world wines from the southern hemisphere are traditionally riper and higher in alcohol than this, but the younger generation of winemakers, especially those who have embraced the natural wine movement, tend to pick earlier and favor the lightness and freshness. Look for varietals like Cinsault and Pais (from Chile; North Americans call the latter “mission”) and, again, Gamay, the grape from which Beaujolais is made. The young Syrah can also be quite lively.

Finally for this week, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, because not all restaurants seem to have gotten the message: it’s perfectly acceptable to drink this style of chilled wine. Maybe not chilled like a bottle of bubbly, but give it a good half hour in the fridge. Cool, in other words, just what you want this time of year.

Five delicious seasonal reds

Estevez Chilean Pinot Noir 2020 £3.99 Aldi (in-store only), 13% off. Bright and juicy raspberry. Surprisingly good for the price.

Anjou red L'Ardoise Domaine des Rochelles 2020

Anjou Rouge L’ArdoiseDomaine des Rochelles 2020 £9.25 The Wine Society, 12.5%. I like a cabernet franc from the Loire, and this cheerfully fruity example is the region at its best. Drink with grilled asparagus.

Saint Pourcain The Red String 2021

Saint-Pourçain The Red String 2021 €13.75 Yapp Brothers, 12%. If there ever was a thirst-quenching wine, this is it. All it takes is a baguette and some sausage.

Côte de Brouilly Grilled 2020

Grilled Brouilly coast Domaine Chevalier-Metrat 2020 £14.95 (or £13.95 as part of a mixed case of 12) Lea & Sandeman, 13%. Serious, age-worthy Beaujolais – but why wait when it’s so delicious now?

Craven Cinsault 2021

Craven Cinsauto 2021 £20.17, 12%. Much lighter, prettier and more delicate than your average South African red. Spring in a glass.