10 Best Wines For A Red Wine Spritzer

A spritzer, or spritz, is similar to a cocktail — a refreshing blend of wine, carbonated water, and ice that can be topped with fruit, herb sprigs, or other accouterments. While some wine lovers swear against mixing wine with anything at all, many people have rediscovered wine spritzers alongside today's most popular bubbly beverages such as seltzers and sparkling water. Martha Stewart even declared the spritz "the cocktail of 2022," citing the many possibilities for this wine drink with a splash of water.

While you can go with a white wine spritzer, there are plenty of variations that lean on reds to add fruit structure and flavor depth to the cocktail. Grape varieties that are low in tannins and high in acidity lend vibrancy and brightness for the ideal sip. A relatively neutral fizz keeps the purity of the wine's character. Club soda is the obvious choice for bubbles, but other options include sparkling water, seltzer water, and tonic water. Here are some of the best grape varieties for a zesty and flavorful red wine spritzer.


Sangiovese is one of Italy's iconic wines, the backbone of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti, and Brunello di Montalcino. It's culturally tied to Tuscany, and also grown in Umbria and Campania. The most-planted grape in the country, it represents about 8% of total Italian vineyards, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine.

Like many grapes, Sangiovese is highly influenced by where its grown (via Science of Cooking), but some of its dominant characteristics include dark cherry and plum notes along with hints of tomato and savory herbs. It's got a fair share of acidity, so for a red wine spritzer, look for a young and fruit-forward version, rather than a rustic or aged bottle. A savory sprig of rosemary will round out the cocktail and add color and aromatics. Pair this wine spritzer with fresh tomatoes and herbs from the garden on flatbread pizza or caprese salad.


When it comes to chillable red wines, Gamay is a fan favorite. The variety is famously tied to Beaujolais, where it's produced in both fun and fruity versions as well as structured and concentrated releases from designated Cru appellations (via Inter Beaujolais). It's light in body and reminiscent of Pinot Noir, its famous Burgundian neighbor. According to Wine with Paige, Gamay is finding favor in other cool-climate growing regions such as Canada, Oregon, and New Zealand.

Bright berry notes represent the hallmark fruit flavors of Gamay, with the potential for peppery spice and floral aromatics in complex bottles. Zesty acidity and restrained tannin levels result in an juicy mouthfeel that's perfect for spritzy cocktails. One of Gamay's claims to fame is the Beaujolais Nouveau tradition, in which the freshest wines of the just-released vintage are distributed to Paris and around the world. Vibrant, juicy, youthful, and approachable, try these wines with a touch of sparkling water and a berry skewer for a festive spritzer.


This lesser known grape variety goes by a bunch of names, which is one reason why Schiava isn't often recognized in the U.S. market. It's also called Vernatsch,  or Trollinger, according to MasterClass, and it's actually one of the lightest skinned red wine grapes on the planet. A key variety to the Alpine Italian region of Alto Adige, there's also some German Trolliger where it's regarded as a regional sip for the people of Württemberg, according to Wines of Germany.

With a delicate, aromatic profile that sometimes exudes hints of floral charm, this bright and refreshing variety is balanced for a spritzer. While some people detect notes of cotton candy, bubble gum, or lemon candy, this doesn't mean that the wine is actually sugary or sweet. On the contrary, this is a highly drinkable variety, making it versatile and easy to sip with a splash of cold bubbly water.


Wine Folly contends that Grenache is as relevant as the ever-popular Cabernet Sauvignon, no doubt thanks to the variety's abilities in the vineyard and on the table. There is both a Grenache Blanc and Grenache Noir version — Noir producing the red wines that are commonly associated with Southern France, Spain (Garnacha), Sardinia (under the name Cannonau), California, and Australia. 

Offering a balance in acidity and tannins, there are versions of Grenache that are full-bodied and can be quite expensive — think Châteauneuf-du-Pape in France's Southern Rhône Valley or Priorat in the Catalonia region located in Spain. (According to Wine Folly, these are the top two planting areas for this grape.) For spritzers, look for approachably-priced bottles from recent vintages that haven't been aged in oak and that express juicy berry or cherry notes. Hints of citrus or cinnamon may also be present, rounding out the enticing profile of Grenache.


Lambrusco is one of the few red wines that are traditionally crafted in a sparkling version. This famous fizz from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region actually comes from a family of grapes collected under the Lambrusco umbrella. Crispy and dry versions are some of today's most impressive Lambrusco releases, and Wine Enthusiast suggests seeking out those with prominent acidity, notes of red berries, and a fragrant floral aroma, such as Lambrusco di Sorbara.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. market became saturated with sweeter versions of Lambrusco, but there are many more authentic versions available these day. This versatile bubbly is also recognized as an excellent choice for a sparkling wine to celebrate New Year's Eve, brunch or breakfast, or as the base for sangria. The New York Times suggests combining Italian bitters and grapefruit juice with Lambrusco and sparkling water for an enticing spritzer that works for any season.

Pinot Noir

For a refined spritzer with elegance, look to Burgundy's star variety: Pinot Noir. This grape thrives in cooler climate regions, making it a fabulous variety for sparkling wine, which is why it's revered in Champagne, the most planted grape in the region according to Wine Enthusiast. It's also one of the stars in Oregon and California, and is also found in Germany, Austria, New York, and elsewhere.

Fans love the characteristic acidity and tart red fruit flavors that can be dotted with earthy or spicy notes. This variety is quite terroir-driven and regarded as highly versatile and food friendly. Martha Stewart suggests Pinot Noir spritzers with a bitter aperitivo such as Aperol and a slice of citrus for a drink that fits red wine into the warmer seasons. Watch the price tag — some Pinot Noir bottles can creep into the expensive zone, so look for wallet-friendly releases priced appropriately for your spritz.

Cabernet Franc

In the world of wines with the word "Cabernet" in their names, Cabernet Franc might seem to play second fiddle. However, this is actually the older of the two famous varieties. According to Jancis Robinson, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon. Associated with France, Cabernet Franc is one of the esteemed Bordeaux varieties, often a component of a blend. It's also at home in the Loire Valley, where winemakers craft it as a single variety, and it is undoubtedly a red wine that you need to know. Robinson notes that Cabernet Franc is gaining popularity in New World plantings, with interesting projects in South Africa and New Zealand.

This variety is enjoyed for aromatics and its red berry essence and it can sometimes exhibit garden pepper character and complex notes of dried herbs. To make a spritzer with Cabernet Franc, consider adding a berry skewer, slice of lime, and a drizzle of honey.


Mencia isn't an everyday variety for most wine drinkers outside of the Iberian Peninsula, where the grape finds its home, but in regions such as Castilla y León and Bierzo,  it's a mainstay. Wine Enthusiast lauds the Spanish grape thanks to its straight-forward and juicy dark fruit character and a balanced profile marked by floral aromatics. The team at Wine Folly recommends Mencia as an alternative for Pinot Noir and Gamay lovers, noting that its a versatile wine to pair with a variety of foods.

VinePair recommends low alcohol versions for chillable reds that make for the ideal summer spritz and also overdeliver in terms of price. While sangria is often Spain's answer for a laid back wine cocktail, an even simpler version combines Mencia with lemon-lime soda. Toss in a cherry and slice of citrus and you've got the Spanish wine cocktail tinto de verano, which is a perfect summer spritzer.


Barbera is a reliable, everyday sipper, which makes it a prime candidate for a red wine spritzer. But these days, this most-planted variety from Italy's Piedmont region has also witnessed a rise in stardom with international appeal, with the denomination of Barbera d'Alba enjoying particular acclaim ( via Jancis Robinson). Wine Enthusiast also suggests looking to the new Italian denomination Nizza for excellent Barbera options. This grape also occupies plantings outside of Italy in Slovenia, California, Australia, and South America.

Barbera can go in a number of directions, from rustic and easygoing releases, to carefully crafted terroir-driven bottles. It is generous in acid with a tart berry tang — this makes for an unobtrusive profile that can mesh with a variety of other flavors. The profile lends itself to the ranks of best chillable red wines, and is particularly harmonious with bright berry ingredients when included in a summer spritzer.

Red blends

From fun and funky options to some of the best selling bottles from around the world, red blends run the gamut. Easy to find in a variety of price points, this approachable category has something for everyone, including fruity and bright options for a red wine spritzer. Super Tuscans, Bordeaux blends, and some of California's most iconic bottles occupy this space. While many single variety wines can contain a small amount of other varieties (in California, for example, the bottle must contain 75% of the designated grape, according to Napa Valley Vintners), red blends are generally a mix of several varieties and may have a proprietary name. Affordable and widely available options such as Kendall-Jackson Napa Valley Vintner's Reserve Red Wine Blend and The Prisoner Napa Valley Red Blend are well-equipped to handle your spritz needs.  

These are also some of the most food-friendly wines around, situated for pizza night, cookout fare, or simple charcuterie snacking. This casual vibe flows with popping the cork for an easy spritz cocktail.