Thursday, 1 October 2009

Lower Alcohol Wine - Just Add Water!

I read an interesting article on Sunday, by Victoria Moore, the Guardians wine critic, all to do with low alcohol wines. There have been many attempts to produce palatable, low alcohol wines over the years, as consumers demand has increased. The biggest launch this year probably being that of Plume, which use uses a process called reverse osmosis. This removes the alcohol, but with that, it also removes other aspects to the wine, such as flavour!

If you’re after a wine that is low in alcohol, go for one that has been produced to be this way, as opposed to one that has had the alcohol taken out. There are many wines like that about, as Victoria mentioned, Hunter Semillon from Australia is a good example coming in around the 10% mark. If that doesn’t float your boat, take a look at Brown Brothers, who produce several wines ranging between 5% and 9%. Whilst these are all from Australia, the new world, there are plenty of old world ones (European) out there too.

A trick you could try, according to Victoria, is to add water! Bizarre I know, but apparently, by diluting the wine you don’t lose any of the flavours or structure, you just reduce the alcohol content.

Whilst EU regulations don’t allow the addition of water to wine (who wants watered down wine in the pub!) There’s nothing to stop you doing it. Many people already do by asking for a spritzer!

Personally, I’m not sure about this. Unless you’re an expert, an even then you might not know, you have no real idea how much you have reduced the alcohol content. It must also diminish the intensity of the wine, and possibly spoil the enjoyment of it.

Will I give it a go? Possibly, but I certainly won’t be trying it with any of my quality wine.

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