Early spring is a transitional time - as the indecisive and wildly varying weather of the last several days attests. For many wine drinkers, the styles of wines and the flavors we seek out shift at this time of year as well. Flavors that emphasize freshness, vibrancy and lighter textures fit perfectly with the season of rebirth.
We’re big fans of light, vividly flavored, easy-drinking reds any time of the year, but they’re an especially great match for the warm days and chilly nights that early spring brings. Here are some of our current faves...
CARDEDU "PRAJA" MONICA
This red from the Italian island of Sardinia has been a longtime customer favorite at all of our locations. The native Monica grape balances fruit and herbal elements, a light body and enough structural tannin to let this wine sing with food while still being easy-going to drink on its own. Flavors of fresh red fruits, a bit of fig, and a dusting of earthy dried herbs. Give it just a bit of a chill before drinking. $21.99; Available at Krog, West End & Fayetteville
AGRIOLAS CARDA NERA CARIGNANO
Sardinia brings us another delightful, easy-drinking red wine in Carda Nera. Made from 100% Carignano (the local name for Carignane) and aged in clay amphora, the wine pulses with juicy black cherry, plum, cinnamon and a whisper of sea spray, reflecting its origin in seaside vineyards. Youthful, vivacious and tons of fun. $19.99; Available at West End
JOHAN VINEYARDS JAZZY JUICE
Oregon’s Johan Vineyards gets experimental every year to create a red that’s juicy, bright and lighter bodied. For their most current version, Johan minimizes skin contact with freshly pressed Pinot Noir grapes, then blends that with Pinot Gris and Kerner, an aromatic white grape grown in the Italian Alps. The result is a highly quaffable wine with loads of plush red berries, aromatic hints of white flowers, and a finish that brings back memories of pink lemonade. Wonderfully refreshing. $29.99; Available at Krog & West End
DOMAINE LES HAUTES NOELLES "HEHO" ROUGE
France’s Loire Valley gets a lot of attention for its showstopper white wines (think Sancerre, Vouvray, Muscadet), but it’s also the home of delightful red wines that perfectly balance fresh fruit and savory herbal flavors. Hého combines Cabernet Franc with carbonically maceratded Gamay and Grolloeau (a red grape indigenous to the region). Juicy, bright and silky, full of just-picked plums and raspberries, complemented by undertones of black pepper and accented with the scent of violets. $16.99; Available at Krog
Croatia has been steadily building a reputation for high-quality and exceptionally well-priced red wines. The local Plavina grape, grown within sight of the Ionian Sea on the Dalmatian coast, delivers refreshingly light red wines bursting with freshness and elegance. Pomalo’s bottling gives flavors of red plums, dark cherries and hints of cinnamon-raisin bread. Definitely chillable, definitely crushable. $21.99; Available at West End