A List Of 8 Low Acid Red Wines

When it comes to wine, most people can feel overwhelmed, all these regions, areas, grapes, styles, and more, it’s hard to know what you like when you like it.

Often one mistake people can make is striking to one style or region because they liked it previously.

A List Of 10 Low Acid Red Wines

This can be effective but can also be really restrictive, it can exclude many other regions and wine that you may well like purely because you think you only like one style.

This is rarely true, and it’s important to think a little differently about why you like a style or region.

The style and region are rarely what you are picking up on as a novice, instead you are probably picking up on subtle notes that are harder to pull out.

Commonly these notes can be as simple as dry or sweet, acidic, or tannic, full-bodied, or light.

When you figure out if you like sweet wines or low acidity wines, this is much easier to go to a sommelier with or to look for in the store.

By simply enjoying sweet wines, for example, you can try a whole bunch of different regions and styles with varying degrees of sweetness.

Knowing these specific notes, why they occur, what makes them occur, and which wines fulfill these notes, is a much better way to approach trying different wines as it is a lot more open than liking one specific style.

In today’s article we are going to discuss low acidity wines, what makes a wine low in acidity, as well as the various styles and regions that can create some of the best low acid wines out there.

Keep reading to learn more about wine, low acidity wines, and wine tasting in general. Find out more below.

Do Tannins Make Wine Acidic?

First things first, many people may actually mistake the tannin content of a wine as acidity when it is actually its own independent flavor or note. Tannins basically come from the skin of the grape, whether it’s thick or thin.

The thicker the skin of the grape used, the more tannins in the wine, the thinner the skin the less tannins are present. Yes tannins are theoretically an acid but they act completely differently in wine and don’t necessarily make a wine acidic

Tannins can taste bitter and astringent, but not necessarily in a bad way, this is simply a feature of the wines and tannins are present in all wines.

Tannins are why wine is so great to eat food with because they can do well to cut through certain flavors in, say, fatty food as an example.

Tannins are also what can make your mouth feel dry when tasting a wine as well, which some people put down to acidity.

It’s important to understand that tannin and acid is present in wine in some form, even if both are low, so it’s important to deliberate between the two.

What Makes Wine Acidic?

Acidity is found in the harvesting period of the grape like most of the notes. Put simply, when you pick the grape has a large effect on the wines it will produce.

The longer you leave a grape on the vine the more sugar will be present decreasing the tartaric acids, so wines that are picked later are actually much less acidic because they are higher in sugar and this itself deals with the acid.

Another important period for deliberating on acid is the malolactic fermentation period. During this time the wine maker will decide how much malic acid converts to lactic acid, which makes the wine softer, less acidic, and less tart. 

Red wines, for example, almost always go through some malolactic fermentation in order to reduce acidity, while nearly all white wines will prefer lactic fermentation in order to maintain acidity levels that are enjoyable in white wines.

Although that’s not to say there aren’t white wines which are low acid, but generally a red wine is less acidic (see also “Best Sweet Red Wine: Buying Guide“).

By nature, wines that are sweeter will naturally be less acidic, they will likely have some acid present but the sweetness and body of the wine can overpower this in a flavorful way.

List Of Low Acidity Wines

Here are some wines worth trying if you don’t like acidic wines, many of these wines have the flavor to keep acidity quite low, so they are worth checking out.


Merlot is what you would consider to be an ‘international wine’ style as while the grape is French in origin basically every winemaking country will have their own style of Malbec wine.

This said the Merlot grape is notoriously dark and brooding which tell us of how the wine may be naturally high in sugars, sweet, as well as fruity.

The Bordeaux regions are where Merlot grows best and Bordeaux wine often uses Merlot as one of two grapes that it blends together.

Also, note that Merlot is one of the third most popular wine styles in the world, these facts alone mean the wine is popular and palatable, but not pricey.

Merlot generally has a medium body but is often quite high in alcohol.

For starters the alcohol percentage means that much of the acid will be overpowered, but also Merlot is considered to be pretty sweet too, with flavor notes such as raspberries, strawberries, and more, with other leafy and vegetal notes to balance.

Overall, this means Merlot is pretty low in acidic content.

A List Of 10 Low Acid Red Wines

Port Wine

Port is a type of fortified wine that has been heated. This heating method to fortify wine is mainly a traditional method of making wine more transportable as other wines would go off when being transported.

Port wine gets its name from Portugal, its origin, where these types of sweet fortified wine are common.

There are many different port style wines created in various other regions across the world but there is  designation of Protected Origin here meaning only wines from Portugal can be called ‘Port Wine’ or ‘Port’.

Many grapes can be used to make Port, as listed for its protected origin, but only around three are used in the modern day. These bring some natural flavor to this historic dessert wine.

Dessert wines are commonly pretty sweet and had after a meal, which is also true of prot.

It’s a particularly sweet wine with a heavy body, its sugar levels also indicate its high levels of alcohol which also do a lot to distract from any potential acidity. While it’s great for an after meal aperitif, it’s also great to contrast fatty foods like cheese.


Chianti is an extremely popular table wine, one that many Ameicans may have also had. It is often served at Italian restaurants in a specific rounded bottom bottle which is usually housed in a basket.

It’s considered to be so popular due to its versatility with many foods and general ability to please a crowd and not be too distinct.

Chianti is generally a blend of two kinds of grapes, most commonly they use Sangiovese as the main grape flavor. Sangiovese literally means ‘the blood of Jupiter’ which can tell us something about its body and taste.

It is grown mainly in the south as well as Sicily but mostly in Tuscany, and is used for the modern style of ‘Super Tuscan’.

In terms of flavor its notes are mainly red fruits and berries such as strawberries, currants, and other fruits, but does have an earthiness and light body to manage sweetness.

Generally it isn;t very acidic but is pretty palatable which is why it makes such a good table wine.

Malbec (Argentinian)

The Malbec is historically considered to be a cheap alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz/Syrah, but rose to much more popularity with its Argentine counterpart, the Argentine Malbec.

Note that the French Malbec, while still made from the same grape, originally from France. Is much more acidic than the Argentine variety.

The French is generally a lot more tannic in its content and more acidic by nature. They are considered to be moderate in its acidity levels but this also means less alcohol so you can certainly taste it more. 

This is not true of Argentine Malbec. The main fruity flavors are blackberry, violet flowers, tobacco, and even milk chocolate.

As a result the Argentinian Malbec is considered to be much sweeter and tastier, with less acidity but still a moderate tannin profile. This is a good example of a style of wine that is still tannic but not acidic.

It also demonstrates how terroirs and mild changes can create a completely different aspect to a wine, even when they are in the same style and are made with the same grape.

To surmise, Argentinian Malbec is sweet and full bodied, while the French variety is much more acidic.


The Beaujolais grape is a great one for those who want a style of wine that is low in tannic acid and other acids.

Beaujolais is a traditional term that generally refers to any kind of wine made in France with the Gamay grape, but there is a more modern style of Beaujolais grape that has popularized a more specific style.

Beaujolais grapes are pretty crowd pleasing, so much so that in the area where Beaujolais comes from, only 1% of the population seem to drink white wine.

This isn’t hard to imagine as the win is very pleasing and light.

It has quite a low tannin content so is quite light but this itself allows the fruitier notes to come through as well as the grape’s sweetness making it ideal for a generic light drinking wine and table wine.

It has quite sweet and fruity notes that are ideal for those who don;t like acidic notes.

A List Of 10 Low Acid Red Wines

Ice Wine

To show how much the ‘on the vine’ period can really affect how a wine tastes, and how sugars are modulated, the Ice Wine demonstrates this perfectly.

Ice Wine refers to wine where the grapes have been allowed to freeze on the vine during the super cold months. As the grapes freeze the water freezes but the sugar doesn’t which means the sugar is concentrated.

Naturally, as the sugar is concentrated the acidity of any grape is basically nullified. Ice Wines are rarely made with one specific grape but can use a whole host of different grapes to bring out their sweetness.

With this Ice Wine method you can even draw sweetness out of the white grape varieties.

Madeira Wine

Madeira wine is another type of fortified wine from the region of Portugal, or more specifically the island of Madeira which is also under the rule of Portugal. It’s frankly throughout this region and is enjoyed for its versatility.

There are generally two types of Madeira wine, from sweet to dry, but nearly all are low in acid. Liek port, this follows a Portuguese tradition of fortifying the wine with heat which traditionally makes it much more transportable.

This also affects the sugars in different ways and creates notes such as caramel, walnuts, peach, orange peel, burnt sugar, and more.

None of these notes will be particularly acidic and you can generally get around acidity in both the dry and sweet varieties. As a result they are perfect to drink as an after dinner aperitif or with cheese in the evening.

Shiraz and Syrah

It’s important to note here that Shiraz and Syrah are actually the same thing. Syrah is the grape but the style of wine can be both Shiraz and Syrah, and we will explain why. Yet, note that neither have a connection to Syrah, a city in Iran.

If you know anything about wine you will know that Australia are huge winemakers in the modern day and have arguably risen to the top 5 in modern wine production with most wine in Australia being made locally.

This is all thanks to James Busby, considered to be the progenitor of this whole Australian wine movement, he;s also likely to have created the Shiraz style.

When in France studying winemaking in the mid 1800s he brought back the Syrah grape to Australia where they would end up making Shiraz as we know it today.

If you see either Syrah or Shiraz in a modern menu or store they are generally synonymous at this point, with both modern grapes being virtually identical thanks to horticulture.

THis said both varieties are markedly sweet and not acidic. There are some high levels of tannin in the Syrah grape thanks to its thick skins, however, like Malbec, this does not necessarily denote acidity.

Rather, the sugars in the wine that endow it with sweetness can overpower any acidity that may exist. Thanks to the tannins, though, there is a pleasant tannic acidity that is perfect for eating with food.

Final Thoughts

As you can see acid is certainly a property of wine, but when we know we don’t like it we can actually endeavor to find wines that we do actually enjoy.

To revert back to the statement in the introduction, you can see that one style of wine such as the French Malbec described can be acidic, and you might decide you hate Malbec.

When in fact you simply dislike the acidity of a French Malbec and if you had a Argentinian Malbec you would see that it’s not the style but simply the way the acidity is handled. 

By identifying what you specifically don’t like, you can present this to a sommelier or wine store, and ask for a low acidity wine, and they will likely suggest one of the above wines.

It’s important to note that wine is a naturally acidic drink, so it might be general wine distaste.

Jon Barbieri
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