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Lower Alcohol Wines

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Lower alcoholYour choice Wine is like food - sometimes you may feel like scoffing a hamburger, some days you fancy a healthy salad. That's the beauty of wine, there’s so much choice. If it's cold and wet then a spicy, warming, full-bodied Aussie Shiraz is perfect, but when you're after something fruity, light, and with fewer calories, then a lower alcohol wine is a good choice. Increasingly popular Lower alcohol wines are not new. Wine styles such as the Italian Moscato d'Asti (sweet, gently fizzy, and around 5.5%) and many German Rieslings have been made this way for years. Adnams has always championed responsible drinking, and lower alcohol wines are now increasingly sought-after as a healthier lifestyle option. Some of you may remember our ‘Too much of a good thing’ campaign, and we work closely with charitable organisations such as NORCAS. More recently, lower alcohol drinks have also been given a little extra boost politically. The UK Government has pledged to cut 1 billion units of alcohol from the market by 2015 and lower alcohol wines go some way to achieving that target. An active, healthy lifestyle is important to us all here at Adnams, which is one of the reasons we hold a 10K race every November in Southwold and sponsor some top-class sporting events such as the Tour of Britain. Doctors' Sauvignon BlancGetting hotter… Have you ever heard wine experts describe a wine as tasting 'hot'? That perceived heat is not temperature related, but is due to high alcohol levels. We have had a wet and cool summer so far in the UK, but recent vintages across the globe have seen percentage alcohol levels creeping ever higher. Some blame universal climate change, but it's more likely to be a combination of winemaking and viticultural changes. Vineyard management practices such as lowering yields, managing the number of shoots and leaves, irrigation practices and selective harvesting can all help produce ripe grapes loaded with sugar, and once the grapes are in the winery, new yeast strains can be deployed to efficiently convert grape sugars into alcohol. It's all about balance Most quality-conscious winemakers aim to produce a wine that is in balance - in other words, where no element (alcohol, sugar, acidity, tannins) in the wine is too obvious. Ideally, the wine should also express a sense of place and vintage - a bit like a good cheese! Winemakers look for 'phenolic' ripeness, not just sweetness, where the tannins, colour and flavour are properly developed. How do you make a lower alcohol wine? There are several ways to make a wine lower in alcohol. We don't buy de-alcoholised wines. The lower alcohol wines we have in our range have been made naturally. Doctors John and Brigid Forrest will not reveal exactly how they produce their stunning Doctors' Sauvignon Blanc (now sold out) and Riesling - if you ask them, they will give you a knowing grin and tell you that their techniques are 'top secret'. However, we can reveal that they have worked hard to identify early-ripening vineyard sites. They also strictly control their pruning regime and harvest dates to ensure the wines are made without excess residual sugar, but are balanced despite their lower than average alcohol levels. The Doctors' Orders Case £99Why not give them a try? Check out our range of lower alcohol drinks here. Press quotes Dr L Riesling "An ice-cold mouthful of not-dry riesling feels good in the same way it feels good to bite into a chilled chunk of melon, dripping with sweet juice. I say not-dry because the idea of sweetness seems to put people off, and this has 46.5g per litre of residual sugar. Think apple snow with mouth-tingling acidity that fences with the sweetness." Victoria Moore, The Daily Telegraph Weekend, Saturday 30th June 2012.


Sarah Groves