Low calorie wines (a.k.a light wines or low alcohol wines) are a great option if you are watching your weight these holidays. Listed below are some examples of good, low alcohol wines in South Africa as well as some great tips on choosing wines with a lower calorie count.
Firstly, let’s address a question many of you are asking: What determines calories in a glass of wine?
Fleur Du Cap Natural Light White (R50) was the very first light wine I tasted and it has remained a firm favourite ever since, regardless of it being ‘light’. Made mostly from Chenin Blanc, it is a crisp light-bodied white. A fraction of Muscat is added to the wine, which adds complexity and exotic flavours. This wine is a must-try and definitely delivers on flavour.
Olive Brook Rosé and Natural Sweet White (R49,99) by SPAR and TOPS at SPAR are two seriously good sweet wines, and are surprisingly low in alcohol for the amount of flavour they pack. The Natural Sweet Rosé 2012 pleasantly surprised me, with a nose full of ripe red berry and candyfloss flavours I braced myself for a mouth full of sweetness. Instead, I found myself enjoying a balanced, juicy mouthful with a long finish that ends dry rather than sweet. Containing only 8% alcohol it is the perfect lower-calorie wine. It’s not by accident that it comes in a 1.5l bottle.
Robertson Winery’s Light range (from R36.50) consists of an Extra Light Sauvignon Blanc , a Light Chenin Blanc and a Light Pinotage Rosé.The Sauvignon Extra Light is 30% lighter in both alcohol and kilojoules than the regular Sauvignon Blanc by Robertson. The Chenin Blanc light has only 8.75% alcohol and has pleasant tropical fruit and floral notes. The semi-sweet Pinotage Rosé Light is especially made for the “sweet tooth” drinker. These wines may be light but they are still fruity and full of flavour.
Uitkyk’s Flat Roof Manor Sauvignon Blanc Light 2011 (R35) has an alcohol volume of just 9% and 32% fewer kilojoules than the regular Flat Roof Manor Sauvignon Blanc. It has lively fruity flavours and doesn’t compromise on flavour, as winemaker Estelle Lourens states “Light but by no means slight.”
Bonnievale’s Dusk to Dawn range doesn’t mean you can drink from one end of the day to the other, but the wines are lower in alcohol and easy drinking. Dusk is a lightly sparkling Rosé Perlé (alcohol 8.5%) and ideal for those who prefer a sweet wine. Dawn (alcohol 9.3%) is the white option which is drier and crisper. Both offer perfect drinking on a hot summer’s day with a few blocks of ice.
Four Cousins is still a popular wine amongst South Africans, produced by Van Loveren. You can enjoy their Light Range (from R28) of wines with less guilt, which are endorsed by Weigh-Less. The Extra Light White is a zesty light-styled dry white blend and the Light Rosé is a deliciously light and fruity semi-sweet wine. Both are unwooded and are perfect for poolside quaffing.
Namaqua is another light wine producer endorsed by Weigh-Less. The Extra Light Crisp Dry White wine is made from Colombar and also comes in a value-for-money 5 litre box (or 3 litre box), selling for just R74.95 – that’s around R11 per 750ml. The Extra Light Soft and Fruity Red wine comes in both a 3l and 5l box and delivers on its name as a soft and fruity red wine – I will definitely be making Sangria from this wine these holidays.
De Wet Cellar Pettilant Fronté & Pettilant Rosé (both just R24) gives you flavour in abundance, without the high alcohol and kilojoules. Both are slightly ‘fizzy’ as the name suggests. The Pettilant Fronté Muscat De Frontignan was one of the top bubbly’s in this years’ Best Value Wine Guide, scoring a value rating of 18/20. Ticking the boxes of both low calorie and best value, this are another must-try of the season.
Drostdy-Hof Extra Light Dry White (R21) is a white wine which claims to be “25% lower in kilojoules and 26% lighter in alcohol than the average white table wine”. It’s a soft and refreshing wine, reflecting fruity aromas and flavours typical of Chenin Blanc and ends in a crisp, clean finish – perfect for everyday drinking.It’s also available in a party size 1,5 litre magnum bottle, or the little 375ml bottle.
Possibly an unexpected addition to this list is the Laibach Natural Sweet Chenin Blanc (R55). Winemaker Francois van Zyl has created a 100 % Chenin Blanc natural sweet wine (only 8% alc) that had me weak at the knees. Only available from the cellar, it is worth the drive! At first a very shy nose with typical Chenin Blanc aromas, but on tasting there is an explosion of addictive fruit-forward flavours, with a surprisingly dry finish. This one really is perfect for the Christmas stockings, coming in a handy 375ml bottle.
If you’re on a no-alcohol policy but still want to be a part of the party then Ega is a great alternative to wine. It’s the brainchild of winemaker Erlank Erasmus, who wanted to create a drink rich in antioxidants to fight the free radicals responsible for premature ageing (ega is age in reverse). He did so by creating a blend of grapes, natural pomegranate and rooibos tea extracts. It should be served well chilled or over ice. Ega is certified halaal and sells at around R55.
While buying a “low calorie” wine may be an option sometimes, they aren’t always easy to find. When in doubt, follow these tips in choosing the right type of wine, to avoid taking in too many calories:
I love wine – simple as that! I must be one of the luckiest people on earth as my job (web editor of this website) allows me to submerge myself in the world of South African wine each and every day. I hope you enjoy discovering our country’s best wines and wineland experiences with me.