Sunday 25 February 2018

'Lifestyle' Wines: Low in alcohol, but not in taste

Liam Campbell, wine columnist chooses wines which are low in alcohol, but not in taste. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Liam Campbell, wine columnist chooses wines which are low in alcohol, but not in taste. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Light Lips
Torres Natureo Free
Sutter Fre
Robertson Sauvignon Blanc

Fat-free, zero sugar, reduced cholesterol and gluten-free are all marketed as lifestyle choices with implied health benefits. Wine has not escaped.

While there has been some success with beers, wines with reduced or removed alcohol are still finding themselves and hoping the consumer will too.

Lower alcohol wines have been marketed as "lifestyle" wines with fewer calories but do they taste as good as wines over the standard 12pc alcohol?

A blind tasting showed whites made with aromatic grapes performed best followed by the roses with the reds much less forgiving of their alcohol loss.

Conclusion, best not to view lower alcohol wines as an alternative but to regard them as an additional style of choice.

Wine of the Week: 1) Moscato d'Asti 2013, Bera, Italy 5pc

Semi-sparkling and 
delicious with a perfume of apple blossom and freshly crushed grapes. Medium sweetness. Chill before enjoying as a great low calorie alternative dessert.

€17.20 at Wines Direct Shop, Mullingar and online

2) Italian Pinot Grigio, Light Lips, Germany 5.5pc

Pleasantly fruity and sappy. True to character flavours of fresh green apple skins. €5.00-€5.99 at Dunnes Stores nationwide

3) Muscat, Natureo Free, Torres, Spain 0.5pc

Pretty floral and grapey Muscat perfume. Off-dry and fruity with refreshing acidity. €6.99 nationwide at O'Brien's Fine Wines and Dunnes Stores. In Dublin: Mitchell & Sons, CHQ at IFSC and Glasthule.

4) White Zinfandel 2011, Fre, Sutter Home, California 0.5pc

A rose with feminine raspberry 
cordial scents. Off-dry and fruity cherry flavours. €6.99 at Joyce's, Galway and nationwide at Dunnes Stores and SuperValu.

5) Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Robertson Winery, South Africa 9pc

Grassy, zesty and citrusy flavours, 
true to varietal character. €9.99 at Mace, Naas and La Touche Wines, Greystones.In Dublin: Londis, KCR Kimmage; Gerry's, Skerries; Drink Store, Manor Street and The Carpenter, Castleknock

Value Buy

Carmenere 2012, Gato Nero, San Pedro, Central Valley, Chile 13.5pc

Intense red-berry fruity flavours, crisp acidity and friendly tannins. Partner with steak and courgette ‘chips’.

€10.99 nationwide at SuperValu; O’Briens Fine Wines; Londis and Next Door Off-licences. Reduced to €8.00 at Dunnes Stores until August 18

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