Wine Blog Wednesday #22
Light Alcohol Reds
Alcohol is up. Turely, Rolland, Parker and many other influence peddlers have without doubt left their mark, promulgating a super (over?) ripe style of wine. But don't shoot the messenger, rising alcohol levels are not their fault. When Tim at Winecast proposed the low alcohol reds theme, and setting the cut off at 12.5%, I was confident that I could rummage through my collection of organic Beaujolais and be faced with that beautiful dilemma of which one to choose.
Wrong. Metras, Thevenet, Foillard, Lapierre, names synonymous with the ‘vin nature’ organic movement in France all had abv levels ranging from 12.5% to 13.5%. Metras’ Fleurie 2002 had an alcohol level of 12%, coinciding with the one of the weakest years France has witnessed over the last decade. If any group of winemakers can be counted on to refute the ‘modern style’ it is these guys. However, as these winemakers strive for optimal ripeness, eschewing without any additives (even sulfur) or manipulations, the unprecedented higher than average summer temperatures that Europe has seen over the last 7 or 8 years has played an even bigger part in taking French wine towards high abv than a conscious decision to make a more ‘new world style.’ So what to drink below 12.5%
How about 5%?
Brigantino 2003, Casorzo Doc, Accornero ($23…ip)
Hailing from Piedmont, the Brigantino is made almost entirely from one of the innumerable Malvasia varieties scattered throughout Europe, Malvasia di Casorzo. Slightly frizzante, this is a very pretty wine that combines rose petals, wild strawberries with a hint of plum. It sweetness is balanced by a nice acidity and of course, the bubbles. While it drinks almost too easily as an aperitif, it is the perfect accompaniment for one of our favorite desserts, rhubarb and strawberry pudding.