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It’s traditional to go on a bit of a detox in January, after the excesses of Christmas and New Year. And if you’re a wine lover, that can mean giving up your favourite tipple for a month or so, which most people wouldn’t welcome with open arms.
So if you want to try to be a little healthier but still enjoy the odd glass of wine, Tom Cannavan has the ideal solution – wines that have had either all or some of their alcohol removed, or have been specially formulated to have a lower alcohol content.
These types of wines are really growing in popularity. If you check labels, you’ll see a larger number of bottles of wine with around 9 per cent alcohol, which is the legal minimum to allow the tipple to be called ‘wine’ in the EU. With the average wine having an alcohol content of around 13 per cent, these wines have a quarter to one third the alcohol content of conventional wines.
If you’d like to try one out, here are wine expert Tom’s top picks:
1. Torres, Natureo Free 2008, Spain, priced at £6.12-£6.29 from www.vintagemarque.com and www.sohowine.co.uk – ABV of 0.5 per cent (alcohol by volume)
This wine, from the Moscatel grape, is made normally then goes through special technology called 'rotating cone column', which separates the alcohol which is then removed from the wine.
If you’re watching your weight this wine is ideal too – the average glass contains around 90-100 calories, while this has only around 15-20!
The nose has excellent Muscat character with flowers, spices and an intense grapey, peachy ripeness, and on the palate it tastes rather more like grape juice than wine, but there is a fruitiness and bit of tang that would make it a good substitute for those looking to (more or less) avoid all alcohol. Alcohol content in this pick is 0.5 per cent.
With fruity flavours of peaches, grapes and flowers, this tasty tipple goes nicely with salads, white fish dishes and most seafood.
2. Castillo de Andaluz, Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Spain, priced at £4.99 from Oddbins – ABV of 11 per cent
This pick is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Airen, which is actually Spain's most planted white grape.
It has fresh scents of passionfruit with a peachy softness and a hint of grassy background. It’s bright and fresh on the palate with crunchy lime acidity and lots of fresh, vibrant fruit. Balanced and really quite long, this has lovely personality at a budget price.
This selection, which has 11% ABV (alcohol per volume), has a real citrus flavour to it and matches up well with dishes like asparagus risotto and goat's cheese salad.
3. Giardini, Merlot 2008, Italy, priced at £5.99 from Marks & Spencer – ABV of 9.5 per cent
This red has a light, slightly floral aroma with touches of cherries and plums which is pleasant and light. On the palate it is a light-bodied, but smooth textured wine. There is quite a bit of sweetness here that makes it easy to sip, with soft strawberry fruitiness and a lightweight touch of tannin. It isn’ta complex wine, but is quaffable.
With flavours of strawberries and plums, this wine matches up nicely with lamb served with rosemary and grilled tuna steaks.