Wine column: Start off the new year with low-calorie wine options

January signals the shift from holiday indulging back to moderation and focusing on leading a healthier lifestyle. Drinking responsibly is always important, and here’s a tip — drinking less… but better. Here’s the skinny on wine calories.

Wines using ‘skinny’ on the label suggest there is some unique quality (think aspartame) that will offer fewer calories than others. These ‘skinny’ wines boast 100 calories per five-ounce glass along with phrases such as ‘healthy living’ without any references to where or how these grapes were grown. OK, enough ranting. The product in question is very successful and the brainchild of one of the Real Housewives.

Calories are not about the colour of the wine — white, pink or red — but simply just the alcohol and residual sugar (RS) levels. (Remember, sugar is the sweet sensation felt at the tip of the tongue and not the ripe-fruit flavours.)

The North American consumer’s quest for wines with higher alcohol and sugar levels over the past few decades are shifting to less manipulated, more balanced and fresh wines. Over-ripened grapes and added sugar will increase the alcohol levels up to 15 and even 16 per cent alcohol by volume (abv) and these bruisers can have 160 to 175 calories in a single five-ounce pour.

One of my favourite vignerons, Eric Texier, told the story of his growers’ (a couple well into their 90s) theory that each increase in alcohol results in double the effects felt by the consumer. So, you would feel twice the effects from a 10 per cent alcohol wine compared to one at 11 per cent, and so on.

Grapes grown in cooler regions with naturally low sugar levels — and therefore lower alcohol levels — include Gruner Veltliner, Riesling, Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, Gavi, and wines from Vinho Verde.

If you’re searching shelves for a bubbly, seeing Brut Nature or Zero on the label indicates that the wine will be bone-dry without any added sugars.

For the red wine lovers, look for Pinot Noir, Gamay and other wines from cool climate regions such as Bordeaux, Austria and Bardolino. (Pip has a fabulous one on by the glass right now.)

Here are my top recommendations for well-made, low-calorie wines that are at or below 13 per cent abv — calories estimated on five-ounce glass pours.

Juanita wine column on wine calories in Edmonton, January 8, 2019. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

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Source:: Edmonton Journal – Lifestyle


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