Fruity Red Wines: How and Which Ones to Choose - The Complete and Definitive Guide

Fruity red wines represent a fascinating universe for wine lovers. But what does it really mean when we talk about a "fruity red wine"? What are the aromas of the fruits that can be recognized in the glass?

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the world of fruity red wines in detail, from the grape varieties to the production areas. Finally, we will discover 10 types of unique and fine fruity red wines produced in Italy.


What does "fruity red wine" mean?

By "fruity red" we mean a wine with an aromatic profile characterized by fruit aromas . The BASIC RULE to know is this: red wines, red fruits . The counterpart is white wines, white pulp fruits. In addition to red fruits, of course, black ones may be present, at the most different levels of ripeness, as we see in the next point.
As another GENERAL INDICATION: if a wine has the notes of fruit (and flowers) predominant compared to the more evolved aromas (the tertiary ones, from spices to tobacco) it is likely that it is a fairly young wine, which has not undergone long refinements .

Fruit aromas in red wines: where they come from and what they are

The aromas of fruits in wine can depend on:
1. from the vines themselves, that is, from the grapes from which they are taken;
2. or be due to the winemaking and aging process.
On the second point, the general rule is that fresh fruit, typical of younger wines, over time gives way to more mature fruit: in jam, in syrup, marmalade or in alcohol.

The note of "red fruits"

When you smell the wine it is first important to understand if you smell the "red fruit" note. Then you can detail better and smell: cherries, strawberries, raspberries, red plums, plums, berries, pomegranate, red fig... Each aroma has its specificities: raspberries bring a slightly acidic fruity note to the aromas of the wine, the strawberry tends to be sweet, cherries can add a sweetness underlined by subtle acidity.

The typical character of "black fruits"

The black fruits contribute to another aromatic profile. We are talking about black cherries, blueberries, blackberries, black plums, currants, morello cherries, black figs. Each aroma is characterized by its specificity: blackberries also bring with them a touch of sweetness, together with a light hint of spices, while blueberries add freshness to the aromas of the wine. Mulberries, on the other hand, add a dark, earthy fruit note.

"Candied fruits" and "cooked fruits"

These are two categories of aromas that can be detected in red wines, and each of them adds a distinctive element to the overall aromatic profile of the wine.
Candied fruits evoke the scent of fruit subjected to a candying process, resulting in an aroma of ripe and sweet fruit. Recognizing the scent of cooked fruit evokes sensations of fruit cooked for a long time in a pot, in fact.

When these scents are found in a red wine, a sensation of fullness and aromatic complexity is created. The presence of candied or cooked fruit may suggest that the grapes were picked very ripe and that the wine may have residual sweetness.

The aroma of "stone fruits"

When someone who smells a wine says they recognize the aroma of stone fruit, they mean hints of fruits such as peaches or apricots. We are therefore talking above all about white or rosé wines, with a delicate and fine aromatic profile.

Guide to choosing a red wine with a soft taste and fruity notes

Now that we've explored the variety of fruity flavors in red wines, let's look at how to choose the perfect fruity red wine for you. First of all:

The excellent production areas for fruity red wines in Italy

Italy is one of the homelands of wine, with many regions famous for producing excellent fruity red wines. Each has its own unique characteristics due to variables such as climate, soil and cultivated vines. Here are some of the main ones:

Piedmont is famous for some of the finest and fruitiest red wines. Barolo and Barbaresco, both produced from Nebbiolo grapes, are known among other things for their fruity aromas of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Other Piedmontese varieties, such as Dolcetto and Barbera, produce fruity red wines.

Tuscany is famous for its Sangiovese, which offers aromas of red fruits such as cherries and strawberries. Some examples of wines? Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino.

Sicily is the place of origin of Nero d'Avola, a grape variety that produces wines with fruity notes, especially of black cherries and plums, often with a spiciness on the finish that makes the bouquet complex.

In Veneto , Valpolicella is renowned for its fruity red wines with aromas from cherries and berries to intense aromas of black fruits. Ripasso and Amarone are two of the best examples.

In southern Italy, Puglia is known for its Primitivo. This vine produces wines with aromas of black fruits such as blackberry and blackcurrant, with a pleasant spiciness.

Sardinia is famous for Cannonau, a wine that offers aromas of red fruits such as strawberries and cherries, enriched with more complex spicy notes of Mediterranean influence.

In Lombardy (Oltrepò Pavese) the Pinot Noir grape - not native - produces elegant red wines with notes of red fruits such as strawberries and raspberries, made intriguing by a subtle minerality.

The grape varieties to choose for drinking a fruity red wine

The starting grape has a crucial role in determining the aromas of the wine. Grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cannonau, Primitivo, Sangiovese and Nero d'Avola but also Ciliegiolo and Nebbiolo are known for producing red wines with a clearly fruity profile. The aromas of red fruits naturally combine with other aromas in these wines, for a broad and varied aromatic bouquet, which makes sipping fun and satisfying.

Pairings between food and fruity red wines

Fruity red wines are often very versatile on the table and pair well with a wide variety of dishes. It all depends on the specific characteristics of the wine, however here are some ideas to inspire you:

Light appetizers: Fruity red wines are ideal for appetizers based on cold cuts such as raw ham, salami and coppa.

Fresh cheeses: Fresh cheeses including buffalo mozzarella, burrata or goat cheese go well with fruity red wines, if light and easy to drink.

Delicious salads: Light salads enriched with fruit including strawberries, raspberries or citrus fruits pair well with fruity wines. The aromas of wine and food will create fascinating harmonies.

Fish dishes: If you are serving a substantial and fatty fish dish such as salmon, a fruity red wine can be an excellent and unconventional choice. An example? Pinot Noir.

Chicken dishes: Whether grilled with sauces on the side or roasted, the rich flavors of chicken dishes, often slightly sweet, pair well with fruity red wines.

Vegetarian cuisine: Vegetarian cuisine, if enriched with preparations of a certain importance, including condiments and cooking reductions, finds a perfect companion in fruity red wines.

Fresh fruit: At the end of a meal, a selection of fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries can be further enhanced by a fruity, sweet red wine.

How to choose the finest red wines with fruity notes

The choice of fine red wines with fruity notes essentially depends on two things: the search for quality and your tastes. Choosing the finest red wines with fruity notes requires attention and a good knowledge of wine regions, grape varieties and exceptional vintages. Here are some ideas on how to do it:

Familiarity with the grape varieties: Grapes play a crucial role in determining the fruit characteristics of the wine. Learn to distinguish the vines known for producing fruity red wines, such as Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Barbera, Dolcetto…

Explore wine regions: Different wine regions around the world produce wines with unique fruit profiles. For example, if you love fruity red wines, you should explore the regions of Burgundy in France for Pinot Noir, Bordeaux for the famous Bordeaux blends, Rioja in Spain for Tempranillo, Tuscany in Italy for Sangiovese.

Consider reviews: Read reviews and ratings from wine industry experts on individual labels. Various specialized magazines and guides provide reviews of the wines and the various vintages.

Professional sommelier: If you are undecided, contact a professional sommelier. With Sommelier Wine Box you receive selections of wines based on your tastes: you can tell us your needs and receive boxes of wines selected for you by great experts from niche wineries. It is a convenient option for discovering fine red wines from new wineries and receiving them directly to your home.


10 types of unique and fine fruity red wines to try, produced in Italy

1. The Dolcetto 🍷

Dolcetto is known for its aromas of fresh red fruits, such as cherries and strawberries.

On the palate it is slightly bitter and pleasantly fruity.

Production areas: Piedmont, mainly in the provinces of Cuneo and Asti.

Preferred soils: Limestone and clayey soils.

2. The Cannonau 🍷

Also known as Grenache outside of Italy, it is a red wine that offers notes of ripe red fruits such as raspberries and cherries, with a touch of spice.

Production areas: Sardinia, in particular in the Gallura region.

Preferred soils: Sandy and granitic soils.

3. Pinot Noir 🍷

Famous for its delicate aromas of strawberries, cherries and currants. It has a light structure and elegant acidity.

Production areas: In Italy mainly in Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Preferred soils: Calcareous and clayey soils.

4. Valpolicella 🍷

It is a wine produced in the Veneto valley of the same name made from Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes; offers a bouquet of red fruits such as cherries and plums, with a slightly spicy note. It is drinkable, fresh, very pleasant.

Production areas: Valpolicella.

Preferred soils: Limestone and clayey soils.

5. Barbera 🍷

Barbera is known for its aromas of cherries, currants and blackberries, with a streak of lively freshness.

Production areas: mainly Piedmont, mainly in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria.

Preferred soils: calcareous and clayey soils.

6. Merlot 🍷

From a grape of French origin, Merlot is a wine with a full, rich flavor, with aromas of ripe cherries, plums and sweet spices. It has a medium body and soft tannins.

Production areas: cultivated in various Italian regions, including Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Tuscany.

Preferred soils: clayey and sandy soils.

7. Nero d'Avola 🍷

Nero d'Avola is known for its aromas of dark cherries and spices. It has a full body, good structure and well-present tannins.

Production areas: Sicily, especially in the province of Syracuse.

Preferred soils: Calcareous and sandy soils.

8. The Primitive 🍷

Primitivo is a wine with an important structure and a rich, full-bodied flavour, with a broad and intense aromatic profile , from notes of ripe cherries to plums, up to sweet spices.

Production areas: Puglia, mainly in the Manduria area.

Preferred soils: clayey and calcareous soils.

9. The Schioppettino 🍷

Schioppettino is a very particular red wine, with a broad and soft flavor and aromas of strawberry, dark cherries, often with pepper and aromatic herbs.

Production areas: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in particular in the Prepotto area.

Preferred soils: calcareous soils.

10. Sangiovese 🍷

The main grape of Tuscany, Sangiovese offers wines with clear and rich aromas : cherries, blackberries, raspberries... It is known for its complex structure.

Production areas: Mainly in Tuscany, with wines such as Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.

Preferred soils: calcareous and clayey soils.


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FAQ on fruit wines