Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Low-Alcohol Wines -- Benefits worth considering

Pay attention to how much booze is in your glass
Most people may not read the alcohol content info on the bottle of wine they're pouring with dinner, but in fact the trend among winemakers worldwide for the past decade or more has been to kick up the alcohol percentage in many if not most bottles. That's as true for everyday, low-cost chardonnays and cabernets as it is for cellar-worthy "investment" wines we save for special occasions.
However, for the sake of your health, it's not a bad idea to seek out lower-alcohol wines if you're drinking at home or in a restaurant. The difference between a pleasant night out and a DUI can hinge on whether the bottle you chose for dinner came in at 12% or 14-16% alcohol. It doesn't sound like much of a spread but in fact a couple can share a bottle of Sancerre (a French sauvignon blanc, about 12 percent) and not be intoxicated. If they'd downed a bottle of almost any California cabernet or zinfandel, however (at least 14.5 percent), they could be a danger to themselves and others if one got behind the wheel.

Another bonus: there are significantly fewer calories in lower alcohol wines. 

The Portuguese white wine, Vinho Verde, comes in as low as 8-9% alcohol, as do some Italian sparklers such as Asti Spumanti or Moscato. German rieslings also tend to contain only 8-10 %.

Here are a few lower-booze wines to look for:

  • Ulrich Langguth Riesling, 10% abv. - Germany
  • Domaine Hemelin Chablis, 12% abv. - France
  • Dezzani Asti Spumante, 7.5% abv. - Italy
  • Luna Argenta Prosecco, 11% abv. - Italy
  • Grandial Blanc de Blanc, 11% abv. - France
  • Bardolino, 11.5% abv. - Italy
  • George du Boeuf Beaujolais Villages, 12.5% abv. - France
For more suggestions, see The Kitchen blog (click on the link to go there).

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