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12 Best Red Wines For Casual Drinking (2024 UPDATED)

Best Red Wine for Casual Drinking

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Lydia Martin

When choosing red wine for casual drinking, endless options range in quality, style, and price. 

But the best red wine for casual drinking should be lighter in body and more approachable.  

Here are our tried-and-true red wines that can make you feel relaxed and at ease. Keep reading. 

Top 12 Red Wines To Casually Sip While Relaxing 

12. Pinot Noir: Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard 

2018 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir Bottle and a Glass

Average Price: Roughly $55 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 13.8%

Why We Like It:

Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard is an exceptionally vibrant and easy-drinking wine with a light body and refreshing acidity. 

As we opened a bottle of Gary Farrel, the red wine welcomed us with the lush aromas of summer strawberries, dark cherries, and blackberry jam. 

The generous layers of dried tobacco, black tea, and black olive surprise us with every sip as it balances the wine’s decadent taste profile. 

We don’t recommend spicy or tangy food pairings as they will not bring out the flavor of the red wine

11. Malbec: Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Reserve

Close Ups Shot of Altos Las Hormigas Reserve Malbec Bottle

Average Price: Roughly $23.99 (Total wine)

Alcohol Content: 13.9%

Why We Like It:

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Reserve is made from 100% Malbec harvested in the highlands of Uco Valley. 

It is the best red wine for casual drinking because of its gentle tannins and fruity taste. It features a medium body and shows graphite notes and black and red fruits. 

As it sits in the glass, the red wine unfolds the complex, multilayered character you will find in full-bodied red wines. It has bright acidity and is fresh in the mouth, with ripe fruit and a spicy finish. But is Malbec sweet?

10. Malbec: Alamos Malbec 2020

Bottle of Alamos Malbec and a Glass

Average Price: Roughly $11.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

Alamos Malbec 2020 is crafted in Argentina and offers intense flavor characteristics suitable for casual drinking.

The inexpensive red wine is light-bodied with more pronounced freshness. 

Alamos Malbec delivers a complex palate for easy drinking. The new flavors are revealed as it sits in the glass and as you sip it slowly.  

It offers layers of black cherry, and earthy notes, with chewy tannins that improve more with food pairings like savory foods and hearty dishes. 

Read: Top Red Wines For Pasta Dishes

9. Pinot Noir: Ritual Casablanca Valley

Ritual Pinot Noir bottle and a glass on top of a wooden barrel

Average Price: Roughly $18.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

Ritual Casablanca Valley is a medium-bodied red wine with complex flavors and remarkable cherry, floral, and raspberry aromas. 

The texture and acidity are remarkable on the palate, along with its silky, long, and velvety finish.

It will not make your mouth pucker because it does not contain more acidity than other wines. 

We tried it with food pairings like seafood risotto and grilled tuna, and the dark fruit flavors appeared more impressive. 

8. Beaujolais: Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf

Opening a Bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf

Average Price: Roughly $13.63 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf is a French red wine from Les Vins Georges Duboeuf with a rich winemaking history [1]. 

The red wine is fruity, flavorful, and fresh, especially when slightly chilled. Its French origin and different grape varieties make it a great red wine for casual drinking. 

“The last few years of grape growing in France have been a lesson in patience and perseverance, but this vintage was quite different… we’re delighted with the outcome,”

– Franck Duboeuf, CEO of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf 

Wine drinkers will agree that the intense perfume-like scent and fruity taste is a perfect accompaniment for food pairings like cheese and traditional holiday fare. 

Read: The Best Sweet Red Wines

7. Cabernet Sauvignon: Robert Mondavi Private Selection 

Cabernet Sauvignon Robert Mondavi Private Selection  Bottle and a Glass on top of Wooden Table

Average Price: Roughly $11.19 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

Robert Mondavi Private Selection features a fruity character and full-bodied taste profile.

The Cabernet Sauvignon showcases berries and currants and is more assertive than Merlot [2].  

As we opened a bottle of this red wine, the ripe dark berries and fruity character were very noticeable. 

The luscious flavor of vanilla, toasted oak, and coffee accents the fruity-tasting notes. 

Also, we noticed that it tastes better when chilled, so we recommend you chill it for at least an hour. 

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6. Syrah: Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley 

Syrah Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Bottle with glass and grapes

Average Price: Roughly $15.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley is made from the finest grapes, and the result is juicy and bright with hints of vanilla and ripe berries. 

We’ve enjoyed Syrah for the past few years because it is fruit-driven with lots of baking spices. 

Winemakers grow these grapes in cooler climate regions which lend fruity flavors and ripe tannins [3].  

The Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley is a full-bodied wine with 0.55 g/100 mL total acidity. 

It has an approachable and fruit-forward style which is why it compliments great with food pairings like meats and cheese. 

5. Lambrusco: Molo 8 Lambrusco Mantovano

Lambrusco Molo 8 Lambrusco Mantovano

Average Price: Roughly $11.99 (Vivino)

Alcohol Content: 8.5%

Why We Like It:

Molo 8 Lambrusco Mantovano is a red wine made from 85% Lambrusco Maestri & Mari and 15% Lambrusco Ancellotta. 

Lambrusco is an old red wine with fruit-forward flavors with some floral notes [4]. 

Compared to white wines, red wines like Lambrusco have higher sugar content. It is one of the light-bodied reds with low tannins and a pleasantly sweet taste. 

We like the dark fruit and rich spice of Molo 8. Some food pairings we recommend with Molo 8 are ham, cold cuts, and red meats. You can also check out our recommended semi-sweet red wines here

4. Pinot Noir: The Pinot Project Pinot Noir 2020

Bottle of The Pinot Project on Table

Average Price: Roughly $14 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

The Pinot Project Pinot Noir 2020 is handcrafted from premium quality vineyards of San Benito and Monterey.

The result is a remarkable balance with a depth of character.

The grapes used are harvested at optimal ripeness to ensure a rich and bright flavor and to maintain freshness.  

The red wine features soft tannins, blackberries, and cacao with a noticeably smooth and lingering finish.

The aging potential of the Pinot Project exposes herb-like and earthy flavor notes. 

It is available in bottles, kegs, and even cans to drink without needing a wine glass. 

3. Malbec: Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino

Man Holding Bottle of Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino

Average Price: Roughly $21.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.9 %

Why We Like It:

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino is a red wine with over 100 years old history.

You are more than drinking red wine but experiencing the family’s rich heritage in producing wines. 

The red wine is handcrafted using 80% whole berry fruit and 20% whole cluster, and it is fermented and aged for 18 months in French barrels. 

The light red wine combines sweetness and density along with slightly salty flavors of red fruit, berries, baking spice, and other minerals. 

A glass of Catena Zapata complements great with food pairings like mushrooms, lamb, and beef. 

2. Cabernet Sauvignon: Silver Oak Alexander Valley 

Pouring Cabernet Sauvignon Silver Oak Alexander Valley on a glass

Average Price: Roughly $90 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 14.4%

Why We Like It:

Silver Oak Alexander Valley has a beautiful ruby hue and rich notes of caramel, pomegranate, and juniper.

It can give drinking pleasure through 2044 if placed under proper cellar conditions. 

The wine is made from Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon as well as Merlot which gives the drink a fruit-forward core. 

As we opened the bottle of this wine, the aroma lifted and greeted us with a fresh and bright scent. It has a nice depth supported by acidity and dusty tannins.

1. Merlot: Dark Horse 

Bottle of Merlot Dark Horse 

Average Price: Roughly $9.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Why We Like It:

Dark Horse boasts a distinctive style that embraces intriguing yet sophisticated characters, which can be slightly different from a traditional Merlot

The Dark Horse Merlot is warm in color and features a medium body and rich taste.

It has a generous tasting profile that compliments food pairings like beef and chocolates. 

Each glass of Dark Horse is layered with satisfying, tastefully balanced notes of oak, berries, and plum. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of wine is good for casual drinking?

Merlot wine is good for casual drinking as it contains low acidity and tannins.

Also, it does not have the sharp-tasting notes of other red wine staples. 

What red wine is easiest to drink?

Lambrusco and Merlot are easiest to drink because it features low alcohol content but remains fruity with a distinct berry taste. 

What is the smoothest red wine to drink?

Syrah is the smoothest red wine to drink because it has slightly sweet-tasting notes.

It is a fruity, thick, bold, and smooth wine you’ll surely get obsessed with. 

What’s the best red wine to drink for health?

Pinot Noir is a red wine to drink for health. It features a high concentration of resveratrol, few calories, and relatively low tannin content (a chemical compound that gives bitterness and texture).

What is the easiest red wine to drink?

The easiest red wine to drink is often associated with lighter varietals that possess lower tannins and a milder flavor profile. Pinot Noir is frequently considered an approachable choice for beginners due to its relatively low tannin levels, vibrant fruit flavors, and smooth finish. Its versatility allows it to pair well with a variety of foods, making it a popular choice for those exploring red wines.

What red wine is good to drink by itself?

Merlot is often regarded as a red wine that is enjoyable to drink on its own. With its soft and velvety texture, Merlot offers a pleasant drinking experience without overwhelming tannins. The wine’s ripe fruit flavors, such as plum and cherry, contribute to its palatability, making it a delightful option for sipping without the need for food accompaniment.

What is the best red wine to drink daily?

For a red wine suitable for daily consumption, Cabernet Sauvignon is often recommended. Its robust structure, combined with rich dark fruit flavors and balanced acidity, provides a satisfying and enduring drinking experience. Cabernet Sauvignon’s ability to age gracefully also adds to its appeal for those seeking a reliable and consistent daily red wine.

Which is the smoothest red wine?

Malbec is frequently recognized for its smooth and velvety texture, making it an appealing choice for those desiring a silky mouthfeel. With its dark fruit flavors, subtle tannins, and often lush finish, Malbec delivers a smooth and accessible red wine experience.

Which red wine is smooth and sweet?

Zinfandel, especially those labeled as “red” or “blush,” tends to offer a smooth and slightly sweet profile. The inherent fruitiness of Zinfandel grapes, often reminiscent of berries, coupled with a touch of sweetness, makes it a delightful option for those who appreciate a smoother and sweeter red wine.

Which red wine is not bitter?

Merlot is known for its approachability and tends to have lower tannin levels compared to some other red varietals, resulting in a wine that is less bitter. Its plush texture and ripe fruit character contribute to a well-balanced and less astringent profile, appealing to those who prefer red wines without a pronounced bitter quality.

Which is the lightest red wine to drink?

Gamay, particularly in the form of Beaujolais wines, is often considered the lightest red wine option. With its bright red fruit flavors, low tannins, and refreshing acidity, Beaujolais provides a light and easy-drinking red wine experience, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer lighter styles.

Wrapping Up Best Red Wine For Casual Drinking

There you have it, the best red wines that should be in your wine rack for casual drinking. 

Silver Oak Alexander Valley, Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, and Molo 8 Lambrusco Mantovano can be paired with food or sipped while relaxing and listening to music. 

However, if you want the best wine for casual drinking, Dark Horse is sensibly priced with rich, oaky, and great depth of flavors. 


  1. Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2022 is Here
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: Everything You Need to Know
  3. Everything You Need to Know About Syrah/Shiraz
  4. What Is Lambrusco Wine?
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