The other day, I was enjoying a glass of our Easy Tiger Sauvignon Blanc over lunch with my girlfriends in the spring sunshine when one of them looked more closely at the bottle.
“A low alcohol wine?!” she exclaimed – and poured herself another glass.
Since its introduction onto New Zealand’s wine scene in the 1980s, low alcohol wine has improved in leaps and bounds to reach its position today as a respected lifestyle choice, often inseparable in taste and quality from a regular wine.
In the past, low-alcohol wines were produced by removing alcohol from finished wine, a reverse osmosis process which compromised the taste and structure of the wine.
Wine drinkers appreciated the idea, but it never really took off. We drink wine to enjoy the whole experience of structure and flavour complexities, after all.
Today, here at Spy Valley we reduce the alcohol in our Easy Tiger Sauvignon Blanc naturally, using sustainable winemaking techniques, picking grapes earlier to reduce sugar levels and adapting fermentation times.
Reducing alcohol volumes is only the beginning in creating a memorable ‘lifestyle’ wine, however. Balance is critical, and alcohol can completely dominate the subtleties many wines offer. As Sauvignon Blanc is a lighter style of wine, it is a natural fit for the creation of a lower alcohol variety.
And what about the sugar content, does this change? Well not always. However our Easy Tiger Sauvignon Blanc does contains around 20-30% fewer calories than our standard Sauvignon depending on the vintage. And most low alcohol wines on the market have a much higher residual sugar than our Easy Tiger.
But this is not always the case with low alcohol wines. Sugar quantities vary substantially depending on the style of wine. Our 2017 Spy Valley Easy Tiger Sauvignon Blanc, at 9.5% alcohol, has five grams of residual sugar per litre. Compare this with the sweeter style of our Envoy Riesling, with 72 grams per litre. While the Envoy is also lower in alcohol, at 8.6%, this is simply a result of the style of wine, as some of the sugar hasn’t yet converted to alcohol.
Calories aside, whether you’re indulging in a frivolous long lunch, or wanting to retain a clear head during a lengthy social function, ordering that bottle of low alcohol wine is now a realistic, and responsible, choice.
Did you know - Lower alcohol wines …
- have been on the wine scene since the 1980s
- are now made naturally using the not-so-sweet Sauvignon Blanc grapes
- the Spy Valley Easy Tiger Sauvignon Blanc contains around 20-30% lower calories than other standard wines.