Summer is almost upon us. Warmer days are getting nicer, sun is shining and we all want to drink lighter wines, probably slightly chilled and fresh.
This May issue is about lower alcohol wines, alcohol-free days and also reviews three wines: 2 organic wines (one from Waitrose) and third young and fresh wine from Lidl.
Let’s start with lighter wines.
The best option for your health is to choose lower alcohol wines and incorporate alcohol free days.
Lower alcohol wine
Nature can give us wines as low as 8% or 9% abv. If we want even lower there are several methods involved – namely reverse osmosis and vacuum distillation.
Reverse osmosis unfortunately is quite harsh for wine’s delicate aromas and flavours and filters quite a lot of them out even before the alcohol is being removed.
Vacuum distillation evaporates the wine using a vacuum chamber. Unfortunately, with the evaporation goes most of the aromas. Consequently it is not surprising that leading producers don’t use it.
You can opt for a relatively lower alcohol wines from Germany and the UK – namely whites with 9.5% to 12% abv. Have a look at the label, compare different wines based on the alcohol % abv and make an informed decision.
Inspiration for your alcohol-free days
I was nursing a thought that meat-free diet is indeed vegetarian, but a concept of alcohol-free does not mean ‘sober’ simply because we drink for pleasure, to experience various sensations of aromas and flavours, definitely not to get drunk. A glass of wine also relaxes well.
Drinking water and taking good care about ourselves is important, so you need to find your own inspiration and incorporate these wine-free days. Another option even if you are not vegetarian you can choose to be for a day and prepare a quick but super delicious salad!
Wine tasting this month: wines to buy or avoid
If lower alcohol wines are not for you we have been tasting some nice examples of French and US wines that are very juicy, balanced but rather strong.
Bonterra Organic Merlot 2013, Mendocino, California, USA
It appears to be clear with deep ruby colour and noticeable legs.The wine has a set of very rich and intense primary aromas of ripe plums, vibrant dark fruit (damson and blackberries) and has a pronounced herbal bouquet of thyme and rosemary. Some minor notes of redcurrants are there too. You can also feel that they have used malolactic fermentation in the winemaking process – the wine is very soft and round with some minor yoghurt notes. Oak is noticeable too with its expressive vanilla and cloves.
The wine is also developing nicely in the bottle, so you can taste some wild mushrooms, gamey character and earthiness. Finish is long and very pleasant. You can find it at Waitrose for around £12.
27/35 organic rating
One more organic tasting sample was from Spain. We had a bottle of Brovalero 2009 Syrah from a central area of La Mancha.
This wine is really rich and exciting with the full body and generous black fruit. You can taste cloves and rosemary, slight hints of thyme and blackberry leaf as an addition to its fruitiness. That is what I would call an exciting wine.
28/35 organic rating
On a more budget side, we have made a trip to the local Lidl an also opted for a bottle of a young Syrah. We did not expect a powerhouse from a young bottle from 2015, but let’s see if the flavours are up to scratch with the fruitiness.
Lidl Syrah 2015 from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
The wine has a nose of black and red fruit and loads of pepper – definitely not bad for a start. Its palate is way too thin and acidic. I understand it is a very young wine, but it is stripping it off the rich fruit and even that pepperiness. The wine is juicy, but definitely not exciting with anything interesting in terms of flavours or aromas. It is simply disappointing.
One can say that is Lidl, so the wines could be either a big hit or more of a miss, but we did have a better example of what you can buy in Lidl – check out our one of the most popular review – Italian Barolo in Lidl, it is still there so hurry up!
Where to buy wine in the UK
Finally, as we have covered Waitrose and Lidle in our review, we want to make sure you have downloaded our robust guide in pdf format ‘Where to buy wine in the UK’. You can download this pdf file and open on your smartphone, tablet or computer and benefit from our comparison of wine retailers, wines clubs and more.
Where to buy wine in the UK