Over the last ten years or so wine has become more and more alcoholic. The fashion for strong wine, heavy on the alcohol came into fashion during the 1980s and seems to have stuck with us ever since. However as wines get stronger people are starting to worry more about the quantity of alcohol they are ingesting and are starting to look for wines with a lower alcohol content. After all there are now wines with 15% alcohol, this is mainly the case with wines from the New World where the hot sun ripens the grapes so intensely that the finished product packs a pretty hefty punch. There are however some wines that are traditionally low in alcohol and others are now being filtered to make them more that way.
So which wines should you look out for if you are trying to cut down on your alcohol intake?
Good wines to look out for are ones that haven’t been stored for a long time. Generally the longer they are stored the higher the alcohol content. Also it is best to stay away from New World wines. Most of these are produced in countries where there is a lot of sun and therefore the grapes ripen extra well meaning that they contain a high sugar content which turns into alcohol.
White wines with a low alcohol content are wines such as Portuguese Vinho Verde. This light wine is slightly sparkling because of its youth but is an excellent choice with fish dishes and salads. It is so light that you can hardly believe that you are drinking wine and is usually around 10% alcohol making it lower than most wines but not without its charms
German winemakers have a long tradition of off-dry styles with a tradition of lower alcohol content, look out for wines from the Mosel region with names such as Spatlese and Auslese. These wines tend to be on the sweet side but have alcohol contents of around 10%. More recently there have been low alcohol wines produced in Australia using the Riesling grape which are also becoming more popular with people around the world.
Another way to enjoy low alcohol wines is to drink rose. This is also mainly low alcohol in its production and tends to come out about 10 or 11% on average. Rose is a great summer drink and works well with barbecues and picnics – you can also make its alcohol content lighter still by mixing it with sparkling water to make a really cool drink on a hot day.
So when it comes to drinking wine there is no reason to believe that you have to consume immense amounts of alcohol in order to enjoy your drink. Choose a wine with a lighter amount of alcohol and be surprised by the taste!
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. For a range of low alcohol wines go to laithwaites.co.uk
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