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05.31.2006

WBW22 Has Been Announced: Low Alchohol Reds

wbw_icon.jpgThe next incarnation of the popular virtual wine tasting event Wine Blogging Wednesday has been announced. Hosted by Tim over at Winecast.Net, WBW22 will feature red wines with less than 12.5% alcohol.

Alcohol levels in wine, especially red wine, is a hot topic (no pun intended) these days. There certainly have been several lively conversations on the subject here at Vinography.

The fact is, it will be tough for most of you who are interested in participating to actually find wines that qualify for this event. My suggestion, seek out red wines from the Loire, South Africa, and Northern Italy.

The event will be held on Wednesday, June 14th, so do your shopping in advance and then drink and blog away.

Comments (2)

Jack wrote:
05.31.06 at 7:44 PM

Um, it's actually 12.5% or less, not under 12.5%. And, still damn tough to find such easily. It's almost like looking for red wine where the grapes don't usually ripen completely each year. (Loire reds are such, 2003 excluded!)

Then again, older wines are more in this category, too. But what to do about those guys labeled 11-14%?!

Nathan R. Carlson wrote:
06.02.06 at 10:28 AM

Under TTB labelling regulations, table wines must carry an alcohol notation. The margin of allowable error is +/-1.5% for wines under 14% alcohol and +/- 1.0% for wines above 14% alcohol, as long as they do not cross the 14% divide.

What this means is that by looking at the label, you really cannot determine whether you are dealing with a low alcohol wine or not. Many import labels are printed as 12.5% as a way to maximize their validity (they can be slapped on wines with alcohol levels between 11 and 14%) Another option for wines in this range is to use the words "Table Wine" in lieu of alcohol level.

There is an enormous difference between a wine at 11% and one at 14%, (22% more alcohol in the 14% bottle!) and it has an enormous effect on the way the wine is percieved on the palate.

My feeling is that if a wine tastes balanced, is not overtly hot and alcoholic, go for it! If you need a lower alcohol beverage to slake your summertime thirst, have Campari & soda, or else do what I do; keep a full glass of water always at the ready, so you are not tempted to slake your thirst with the glass of wine at hand, often with drastic repercussions! (You'll also tend to eat more moderately if you drink a healthy amount of water with your meals.)

Happy summertime drinking!

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