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All the taste, half the wallop!
The trend towards low-alcohol wines had been gaining steam of late and is finally just reaching the shores (and vineyards) of the Okanagan. But thankfully our wineries aren’t going the Skinny Girl route—low alcohol, low sugar, zero interest for wine lovers—but are crafting serious wines…that just happen to pack a little less of a wallop in the booze (and sugar) department. Here are three worth seeking out.
I think this is the first Okanagan wine to explicitly list themselves as “Low Alcohol, Low Calories” on the label. And while serious wine nerds might scoff, they’re tapping into a major trend and more importantly they’re doing it by making proper, well-made wine. It features a crazy melange of grapes (Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir walk into a bar and…) that after fermentation goes through membrane technology with the goal of removing some of the alcohol without altering the nose and the palate. The result is a wine with a nice pink hue and suitably crisp pomegranate and cranberry notes. I wouldn’t have known it was low alcohol, which is the best praise for a wine like this.
Unlike the Poplar Grove, there’s no alcohol removal going on here, but the natural style of pétillant natural (Pet Nat, another big trend) naturally uses less sugar and reaches lower percentage of alcohol once the fermentation is complete. But even for Pet Nat this wine has low alcohol at 8.3%, and a wine that has a noticeable crunch to it with present acidity and citrus peel and pith notes at the forefront. It would work well with shellfish and could even cut through the richness of a soft cheese platter. Sperling is just such a great producer—this wine is also organic and vegan—and it shows in their entry into this category.
Okay, so this 8% offering from Kelowna’s The View was definitely on the leading edge of the low-alcohol trend when it was released almost a decade ago. It’s not perfect: the blend is a seriously kooky mix of Baco, Pinotage, Efrenfelser and Gewurztraminer, which means they appeared to have arrived at pink by blending red and white. My guess is it’s not very low in sugar, but it’s also not trying to be cellar worthy. It’s well-priced, comes in very convenient cans and would work well for a low-key day at the beach—sans the pounding headache.
So this light sparkler from Stag’s Hollow isn’t super-low alcohol—at 10.5% it’s just low alcohol—but I had to throw it in because it embodies all that can be great in this category. It has absolutely wonderful aromas of orange blossom and citrus but very little of the sweetness that the Muscat grape can sometime come with. And like the View, it comes in the uber-practical cans.
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