Lower alcohol wines can be delicious, cheap and they don't leave you with a headache the next day. They are usually fruity, light wines that are best drunk during summer. Low alcohol wines are also in tune with today's trend toward healthier lifestyles. They are excellent with low calorie, light cuisine, such as vegetables and salads.
Germany offer many quality low alcohol wines, as their climate allows them to keep the alcohol content below 13%. Some German varieties that are good grapes for low alcohol wines are; Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Beaujolias Gamay is also a quality low alcohol red wine.
Low alcohol wines are best consumed within a few years, when they are young and fresh. If the wines are left to age they will loose their fruity aromas and freshness. One exception though would be Rieslings from the Mosel. Even the lower alcohol versions still have quality after several years of aging. Many consumers today favour wines at 13% or below and technology appears to be accommodating for this change in consumer preference. The new technologies include using reverse osmosis or spinning cone technology to separate out the alcohol and adjust it to more desirable alcoholic levels.
In recent years, alcohol levels in wines have become higher as winemakers have been forced to work with riper grapes. With customer perception about levels of alcohol changing, wines are now being crafted in a lighter style using these new technologies. These adjusted wines must be well balanced, have complexity and have the characteristics of other premium wines, in order to keep up with customer demand and customer satisfaction.
Below are some areas where good quality low alcohol white and red wine is produced.
Beaujolais Villages, 12.5% - France
Pfalz Riesling, 10% - Germany