Types of Low Alcohol Reds You Should Try in January
In case you want to cut your consumption of alcohol this January, we have prepared a set of recommendations for low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines, so you still can enjoy your dinners to the fullest with your loved ones.
Our community have asked us to find the best wines with low alcohol content. In the past, bottles of wines normally had between 12-13% ABV. However, now they normally have between 14 – 15% ABV. This means, that looking for the best reds with a low alcohol level or alcohol-free drinks was not an easy task, as now many consumers are deciding which ones to purchase depending on the alcohol by volume.
Main Reasons for higher alcohol content wines
The reason for the increase in alcohol percentage in the winemaking process can be related to the change of climate conditions in winemaking countries, to the internal decisions of the wineries, or to a combination of both options.
Winemakers can decide on the alcohol content that they want their wines to have. If they leave grapes in the vineyards for a longer period of time, the grapes achieve extreme concentration and ripeness. Ripe grapes have a higher concentration of sugar.
Then, during the fermentation process, sugar is converted into alcohol. So, the higher the sugar content that the grapes have, the higher the alcohol content that the wine will have.
In order to keep wines with lower alcohol content, there is a technique, famous among winemakers. It consists in checking the date of the harvest, as it will have a huge impact on the style of the wine. Also, vineyards that are planted on middle and high slopes of granite soils, will have lower temperatures and therefore, lower alcohol content.
Another reason for higher alcohol volumes in our favorite bottles of wine is due to global warming. According to winemaker and climatologists Gregory V. Jones, who is also CEO of Abacela Winery in Oregon, USA, the 70% of alcohol increase in the wines is due to climate change.
However, consumer preferences are changing for a preference for reds with a high alcohol percentage, and critics also prefer high-alcohol full-bodied reds that are bold and big. Therefore, winemakers are not taking any specific actions towards producing lower-content alcohol.
Last summer of 2022, Europe had experienced extreme heat waves. As we mentioned, higher temperatures have an impact on the sugar content of the grapes and thus on the final drink.
For example, Bordeaux has experienced like the rest of Europe very high temperatures in the summer of 2022. Therefore, the new vintages of Bordeaux and Grand crus wines will have a higher alcohol content.
One of the regions in Spain that produce low-alcohol wines is Ribeira Sacra, located in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. They plant the Mencia grape variety.
Given that many wine lovers prefer low-alcohol content wines or cut alcohol consumption at all, there are also wineries that have developed the technique of alcohol-removed wine.
Our top 5 low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines
Viña de Neira Tinto 2020: Red wine from Galicia with 13% ABV made in Spain in accordance with D.O. Ribeira Sacra standards. It is delicate, and well-structured.
Alternativa 0.0 Rosso Superiore: Alcohol-free 0.0% red produced by the Princess winery in Italy, in the Trento Region. It is great to pair with red meat.
Julienas 2020: Great red wine produced in France, from the A.O.C Beaujolais. It is made 100% of Gamay grapes.
The taste is very full and fresh, with mint notes. It has a nice, tannic finish. We recommend pairing it with red meat, white meat, game meat and cheese.
Elivo Zero-Zero Deluxe Red 2020: Alcohol-free wine made with grapes of the Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon .
On the nose, it has a sweet, fruity aroma with hints of cabernet. In the mouth, it is unctuous and sweet, with slightly pronounced tannins and a characteristic acidity that makes it light and pleasant. We recommend pairing it with appetizers, meat and cheese.
Le Petit Beret Organic Non-Alcoholic Wine: Non-alcoholic organic red made of grape juice, from L’Occitanie, France. It is made of pinot noir. On the nose, it presents aromas of red fruits, cherries and sweet spices. We recommend pairing this wine with appetizers or poultry.
These low-alcohol wines are made to drink while they are fresh. They are also great to pair with fresh food.
We hope that we helped you find red wines with low alcoholic content and nonalcoholic great red wines.
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See you next time, wine lovers,
Victoria Estrada, head sommelier of Dis&Dis