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On Wine


Lower alcohol wines can still be tasty

By Catherine Rabb
Catherine Rabb
Catherine Rabb is co-owner of Fenwick's and an associate instructor at Johnson & Wales University.

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  • Sip of the Week

    Seven Daughters Moscato, 2012, Italy

    Widely Available, under $10.

    Crisp, fruity and sweet, Moscato drinkers, and sweeter style wine lovers will enjoy this bottle. With an alcohol content of only 7 percent, it might just be the way to kick off the New Year. CATHERINE RABB

The new year is all about fresh starts and clean slates. Most of us will resolve to lose a little weight, work out more, and make healthier choices. For the wine lover who is determined to make a few changes in 2014, but still wants the enjoyment of a glass of wine, a few simple strategies may help.

Be aware of the portion size. A standard size wine bottle holds roughly 25 ounces, or five 5-ounce glasses. The problem is that wine glasses in general are bigger and prettier than ever, and a 5-ounce pour can look positively paltry in most. It’s really easy to over pour, and to over drink, if you are counting glasses, not ounces.

Consider a lower alcohol wine. Many wines have an alcohol content between 12 and 15 percent alcohol by volume. There are a number of wines, though, with naturally lower alcohol. The Muscat/Moscato and Riesling grapes can make beautiful wines with alcohol levels below 10 percent.

New vineyard techniques and winery technology are used to make palatable, lower alcohol wines. The Skinnygirl line has been quite successful, and Barefoot’s Refresh selections are widely available. As alcohol is high in calories, you might save a couple with a lower alcohol wine. Or maybe just feel more virtuous the next day.

There’s nothing wrong with a spritzer. The spritzer is so retro that it’s become cool again. It’s still surprises me, but spritzers are quite the rage among the younger-than-30 crowd who wants a celebratory glass of something at dinner with friends, but still want to make a 6 a.m. yoga class and look good doing it. Mix a crisp, light wine with a bit of seltzer or soda water, and serve over ice. You feel like you are indulging, but really aren’t. Those cool kids may be on to something,

Or go for the drink-less but drink-better strategy. Just one small glass of a REALLY nice wine. The kind that makes you slow down, savor every sip, and not feel like you are deprived, even when you are working hard to keep the resolutions you make today.

Catherine Rabb is co-owner of Fenwick’s and a Senior Instructor at Johnson & Wales University where she teaches about beverages;
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