Three light young reds to quaff early

Minimal tannin extraction and little or no time in oak barrels is all part of the style.
Minimal tannin extraction and little or no time in oak barrels is all part of the style.  Photo: iStock

There's a fashion now for soft, fruity, light-bodied red wines with gentle tannins that are designed to be drunk young. They're not meant to be complex wines, although some of them will age well and build complexity in time. They can be fashioned from almost any grape variety, as you'll see from these examples. Minimal tannin extraction and little or no time in oak barrels are part of the style. These are slippery, slurpy reds that can be treated like white wines, even to the point of chilling, especially in warmer weather. The lighter versions, such as the Innocent Bystander, serve as a bridge between heartier rosés and other red wines.

The Lane Provenance Super Sangio 2020, Adelaide Hills, $40

Score 93

Despite changes in both the ownership and staff at The Lane recently, the quality seems as good as ever. This blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot echoes similar blends in Tuscany, known as Super Tuscans. It has a medium-deep red hue with a purple rim, and a meaty shiraz-like bouquet, along with floral, spicy, red-cherry and strawberry characters. It's medium-full bodied and attractively flavoured, the tannins firm-ish, but the wine's easy texture means it's already approachable. A most appealing red that delivers remarkable pleasure for one so young. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 12 years.

Stockists include

Fox Creek Limited Release Tempranillo 2020, McLaren Vale, $38

Score 92

This 36-year-old winery was sold by the founding Watts family in late 2020 to a local syndicate of wine industry players, including Jock Harvey of Chalk Hill. Its future looks secure. Deep, bright red-purple hue with a lovely clean fragrance of fresh berries and mixed spices. It's medium-bodied at most and very approachable. A lovely drink now, and not as simplistic as many of its peers. It has the depth and structure to take some age while its immediate drinkability is irresistible. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 10 years.

Stockists include:


Innocent Bystander Nero d'Avola 2020, Victoria, $25

Score 87

This is very reminiscent of the carbonic maceration style of wines Browns used to make, such as Tarrango. Or "Cab Mac" – remember that? The process is traditional in Beaujolais so it's no wonder they often taste like lighter Beaujolais wines. The colour is medium red-purple, light and bright, while the aroma is spicy and meaty, suggesting Beaujolais-style winemaking. Light-bodied, fruity and light in tannin, it has a sweet-berry fruit-driven taste. Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to four years.

Stockists include The Healesville cellar door, and