Posts Tagged ‘Low’

Yesterday we revealed the world’s most fattening drinks, and today we look at the other end of the scale and reveal the world’s least calorific alcoholic drinks.

A low calorie message is now being seen as a further way to attract drinkers, beyond just cheap price and promotional offers.

Many winemakers, including E&J Gallo, McWilliams and Banrock Station have all recently released low calorie, low alcohol wines.

Banrock Station’s brand manager, Neil Morolia told db, “Say 5.5% abv to a consumer and most of them will not really understand. Say 60 calories per glass to them and all of a sudden you are talking their language.”

These drinks are in stark contrast to the world’s most fattening drinks, some of which carry more calories than a Big Mac, although they do have much less fat.

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Watch that waistline...

Watch that waistline…

 

You’re a pro at checking labels at the grocery store, but when you hit the liquor store for a bottle of wine, nutrition facts are nowhere to be found. Luckily, armed with some basic knowledge, you can easily figure out which wines are the best buys for your bikini body as well as your palette. We spoke with wine expert Madeline Puckette, cofounder of Wine Folly, who shared her best tips for finding great-tasting wines that won’t derail your diet.

1. Check the ABV. While there are no actual nutrition labels on bottles of wine, there is one indicator you can use to approximate calories: the Alcohol by Volume (ABV) percentage. ABVs can range from 9 percent for low-alcohol wines up to 17 percent for some dry wines. “Aim for an ABV that’s between 9 to 12 percent, which equals 110 to 140 calories per six-ounce pour,” Puckette says. The amount of alcohol in wine has more influence on calorie count than carbs, since alcohol has seven calories per gram, while carbs (i.e. sugars) have four. So a lower-alcohol wine has fewer calories than higher-alcohol wines, independent of the amount of sugar. (Check out Wine Folly’s helpful infographic, below.)

2. Buy European. “A smart tip to keep in mind is to look for European wines from regions like Italy, France, and Germany,” Puckette says. These countries tend to have stricter laws and regulations on alcohol content in wines than America, so European wines tend to be lower in alcohol and, hence, calories. “Also try to avoid wines grown in warmer regions like Chile or Australia, where higher sugar content in grapes converts to higher ABV in wines,” she adds.

3. Stick with white. In general, white wines tend to be lower in alcohol and calories than reds. “While light whites have around 140 calories or less per six-ounce glass, a light red has between 135 to 165 calories, while a higher-alcohol red like pinot noir or syrah can have up to 200 in a glass,” Puckette says. Light white varieties such as Riesling, pinot grigio, and vinho verde have fewer calories than whites with higher ABVs like moscato, Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and viognier.

 

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How natural do you want it?

How natural do you want it?

It nearly time again for what now appears to be an annual celebration of unsubstantiated and unsupported claims and assertions about wine. It’s time again to denigrate 99% of the worlds wine and winemakers.

Of course, I’m talking about the coming RAW WINE FAIR, a celebration of “natural” wine taking place in London on May 19 and 20. On the cusp of this important occasion, I think it appropriate to examine some of the claims that are being made about the wines being featured at RAW that have been made by the event’s founder, Isabelle Legeron, MW. Ms. Legeron was recently interviewed in the Londonist and she took that opportunity to make a variety of claims not just about “natural” wine, but all other wines not considered “natural”.

According to Ms. Legeron:
“Once grapes are harvested and taken to the cellar, natural wine growers try to intervene as little as possible. They see their role more as guardians — guiding a process that occurs naturally — rather than as trying to force the grapes or juice into particular moulds responding to market demands or trends”

I’m wondering, do only “natural” winemakers attempt as little intervention as possible? Or are there non “natural” winemakers that take this approach? Also, isn’t the process of “guiding” anything but “natural”? Isn’t it really a case of “manipulation”?

According to Ms. Legeron:
“I like wine that is alive and unmanipulated, characteristics that are surprisingly hard to come by in modern winemaking. I don’t like wines that are worked: heavily extracted, oaky, manipulated, squeaky clean and boring.”

Just how hard to come by are wines that are “alive”? What does “Alive” mean? Do only “natural” wines qualify as being “alive”? How many of the world’s wines, particularly those produced by the thousands of small artisan producers around the globe that do not claim their wines are “natural”, have you tasted in order to declare that finding wines with “alive” and “unmanipulated” characteristics are hard to find? Or are you really just making this up and offering an unsupported assertion?

According to Ms. Legeron:
“the vast majority of natural wine I come across is not only not faulty, but is deliciously complex and shows far more interesting taste profiles than conventional wine. To be frank, this isn’t really surprising either — if, as you would do in conventional winemaking, you kill off all your native bacteria and yeasts to then add lab-bred ones that have been developed to show specific aromas, you will necessarily have less complex aromatics than if nature — with its infinitesimal variations — is involved.“

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German beer consumption hit a 20 year low. But why?

German beer consumption hit a 20 year low. But why?

Following the news that beer consumption in the UK was down by 50 million pints in the first quarter of this year, comes the news that sales in Germany have slumped as well.

According to figures released by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, in March domestic sales of beer fell by 10.9% year-on-year; exports were also down, falling by 13.3% over the same period.

Over the first quarter of this year German beer sales dropped to 19.9 million hectolitres, the lowest amount for at least 20 years. Volume dropped 4.3% to the lowest level since 1993, when the data were adjusted to exclude alcohol-free beer.

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With around 20% of Americans on a diet, low-calorie wine brands are booming in the US, and particularly where celebrities are involved.
Kick-starting the trend was Skinnygirl, which, as previously reported by db, was a label created in 2009 initially for ready-made cocktails by chef, author and TV star Bethenny Frankel.

The brand now also includes a range of three wines, which were added to the line-up in March 2012 (following the sale of the label to Fortune Brands/Beam for US$8.1 million in March 2011).

More recently, in January this year, former Foster’s wine division Treasury Wine Estates launched The Skinny Vine in the US, backed up by Christine Avanti, a celebrity nutritionist and author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food (pictured, left).

According to the company, the new product has already sold 100,000 cases, half the quantity sold by Skinnygirl wines in its first year, although The Skinny Vine is cheaper, with an RRP of US$11 compared to Skinnygirl’s $15 per bottle.

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Alcohol to high in wines?

Alcohol to high in wines?

 

Alcohol levels in just about everything are rising, and a lot of people aren’t happy about it. Nonetheless, winemakers would really rather you not know that they’re doing something about it. Or, at least, one particular something about it: dealcoholization, or “dealcing.” While there are alcohol-free or very low alcohol wines on the market, what I’m talking about is bringing super-hot 14-17% alcohol wines down to the more comfortable 11-14% range.

 

Why alcohol levels are rising is no mystery. Winemakers are working with riper grapes to satisfy contemporary tastes for the big, the luscious, and the fruit-forward. Wine growing regions are warming up so that grapes have the time and sunlight to accumulate sugars like never before. Better yeasts are able to handle both more sugar and more alcohol without giving up, so winemakers don’t have to add water to ensure that high-sugar musts will ferment.

What to do about all this heat is a different matter. You might argue that we shouldn’t do anything about it at all; higher ABVs are a natural consequence of riper fruit, riper fruit is good, and so there we are. But plenty of other people, including a lot of consumers, aren’t happy about seeing numbers in the 14-16% range on their bottles, and a substantial industry has emerged in an effort to make those people happier.

Reducing alcohol isn’t just about pleasing customers who want lower-alcohol wines, though that’s part of it. It’s also about taxes. Both in the United States and the EU, wines with more than 14% alcohol reported on the bottle (labels only have to be accurate by plus or minus 0.5%) accrue higher taxes than wines under that limit. For mega-wineries with lakes of wine to process, “dealcing” to slide below that threshold can save money. And then there’s the “balance” argument; some winemakers feel as though their wine tastes better with super-ripe flavors but less alcohol than that ripeness usually produces. The EU allows winemakers to reduce the alcohol content of their wines by up to two (ABV) percentage points either via the reverse osmosis or spinning cone approach. American winemakers are free to reduce as they please.
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Natural wine has much to learn...

Natural wine has much to learn from…

 

I can’t look a chicken in the eye anymore unless I ask it first if it’s free range. My family eats organic, right down to the kale. Yes, the natural food movement has changed the way we eat. We consider where our food came from, who grew or produced it, and how far it traveled to get to our plate.

Certainly — to throw some reality-check deionized spring water on the previous paragraph – the vast majority of American eaters are slugging down sugary drinks and sucking down deep-fried McSomething every day, but what was once the fringe domain of a few tofu freaks is now mainstream. You can buy stock in Whole Foods, which took in nearly $12 billion last year, and you can buy organic at Walmart and Costco.

Authors like Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman champion intelligent eating that will help us all live longer. I wonder, though, when those guys sit down to a meal with wine, do they drink organic? I’d like to think so. Laura Klein, publisher of Organic Authority, told me that people who eat organically would also be likely to drink organic, natural or sustainably-produced wine.

“It is a natural extension of their lifestyle,” she wrote me in an email. “Grapes can be one of the most heavily sprayed crops with pesticides, and those who want to limit their exposure to pesticides will probably want to choose wine made with grapes that are grown organically the way mother nature intended: without the use of chemical pesticides that damage the soil, environment and health of the workers that pick those grapes. In fact growers who use pesticides have to pay higher health insurance rates for their workers because of exposure.”

Although you can get organic wines in Whole Foods and Trader Joes, how can you find out more about them, and who are the champions for drinking the good (organic) stuff?
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Wine from Rioja.

Wine from Rioja.

 

Rioja is becoming “increasingly polarised” in terms of quality, according to one of the top winemakers in the region.

“Some producers are destroying the image of Rioja by putting Gran Reservas on the market for £8 a bottle, which is stupid,” Jesús Madrazo, chief winemaker for Contino, told the drinks business during a visit to London this week.

“The region is becoming increasingly divided between those at the bottom end producing volume wines, and those who are really serious about quality and terroir,” he added.

Madrazo believes the future for the region lies in the new generation of terroir-focused winemakers coming up through the ranks.
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Rather down, than up during 2012!

Champagne shipments will fall by around 3% in 2012 back to the level of 2005 and 2006.

A poor November saw sales down year on year by between 6% and 7%, and overall sales during the year are expected to be between 312m and 314m bottles, 3% down.

When 42m bottles were sold in December 2012 it was the lowest figure for that month since 2004, said Michel Letter, managing director of Pernod Ricard-owned GH Mumm and Perrier-Jouët. ‘If we do the same this December, that will make 312m bottles for the whole year.’

With ‘a lot of promotion on the French market recently’ where prices in hypermarkets have regularly dropped below €10 a bottle, Letter expects that level at least to be reached.

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Sulfur dioxide is used to stop wine oxidizing and spoiling, but it can cause health problems for some people. A three-year, $5-million EU-funded project has now discovered a potential replacement for SO2.

European researchers are close to finding an effective alternative to adding sulfur dioxide to red wine and other foodstuffs, which could make future holiday seasons happier and healthier for millions.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2), often labeled as E220, is used as a preservative for certain dried fruits and in winemaking as an antimicrobial and antioxidant. Most people can tolerate a small amount of SO2 in their food and wine, but for others it can cause allergic reactions or have other side effects such as headaches.

The European Union-funded so2say project believes it may now have identified a combination of two extracts that can be used instead. Both of them occur naturally in wine and could reduce the presence of SO2 by more than 95 percent, say researchers.

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