Let’s be real: When it comes to wine (and you could say we know wine, as we have our own line of Cosmo wines now!), a higher alcohol content isn’t always better. In fact, I’d even argue that less is more in this case, especially if the aim is to enjoy the drink for its taste and maybe get a decent buzz out of it—without the unbearable hangover the next day. For this reason, I’m Team Low-Alcohol Wine, and I’m here to share with you the wonders of some of the best low-alcohol wines out there on the market—plus, some insights from a couple of wine experts, themselves.
But first, what makes a low-alcohol wine low-alcohol, you ask? Generally, it’s one with an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 13 percent or less. And according to Kelly Mitchell, wine expert and founder of Kelly Mitchell Wine and Kelly Selects, the sweet spot normally falls in the 10 to 12 percent range.
And is low-alcohol wine better for you? Well, enjoying a lower ABV can certainly help slow the rise of blood alcohol concentration, which is great for those who aren’t looking to get so tipsy super quickly. According to Cynthia Sass, RD, CSSD, a virtual performance nutrition coach, “That blunted effect could also result in staying more hydrated and having better appetite regulation.”
But don’t be fooled. This doesn’t necessarily mean that low-alcohol wine is better for you—it just means it contains less alcohol per serving. It does, however, mean you can enjoy more of your drink without the usual repercussions that come with consuming higher levels of alcohol. Speaking with Cosmo, Sass explained, “Sipping on two five-ounce glasses of wine that have the same alcohol content as one standard glass may help some people stay within the moderate drinking recommendations, which focus on alcohol content rather than the volume of wine.”
ABV aside, another perk for low-alcohol wine is that they make lovely food pairings. Mitchell explains, “They tend to be more delicate in flavor, not overpowering any dish. And the notes of the wine are easier to understand when the alcohol is mild and hopefully in balance with the other components of the wine.”
Next time you’re jonesing for a little vino, check out one of these low-alcohol wines from the list, below. In addition to some top picks, you’ll also find some helpful tidbits on wine pairings from Mitchell, the expert, herself.
This Moscato With 5.5% ABV
Moscato D’Asti Bricco Quaglia
Crisp apples, apricots, and peaches—that’s what this semi-sweet vintage from Piedmont Italy tastes like. And with an ABV of just 5.5 percent, this Moscato is one of the lowest alcoholic wines in the world.
This Light Reisling With 9.5% ABV
If fruity notes are your vibe, then look no further. This German variety, which is the lightest style of Riesling, “is like biting into a crisp green apple,” says Mitchell. And it only has a 9.5 percent ABV! Calling that a win-win.
This Sparkling Rosé With 11% ABV
Getariako Txakolina Sparkling Rosé
Commit this to memory: Rosé is not just for the summer. A fizzy glass of the pink stuff might just be what you need to warm up your winter night.
This White Wine With 12% ABV
Muscadet Les Parcelles
Light-bodied and dry, this French wine pairs well with oysters, according to Mitchell, and is an ideal apéritif. A sip before din-din could help stimulate the appetite, getting you ready to eat all of that yummy food. You’re welcome.
This Red With 10.5% ABV
This organic red wine is made with a variety of grapes (Regent, Dornfelder and Portugieser), resulting in a deep burgundy, full-bodied blend that is part spice, part citrus, and all the way amazing. Plus, it’s by a Black-owned business, and we do love supporting BIPOC brands.
This Italian Red With 4.5% ABV
Another pick from the Piedmont region, this red is made from a dark-skinned grape and offers a sweet and smooth medium-bodied wine. Make it your go-to when enjoying chocolate, as per Mitchell’s recommendation. Now you’re speaking my language.
This Sparkling White Wine with 11.55% ABV
Call this the love child of your favorite Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, this sparkling white is pure perfection.
This German Riesling With 8.5% ABV
Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spatlese 2014
This German white wine’s depth of flavor makes it well worth the price tag. Consider pouring a glass next time you’re noshing on salty cheeses, says Mitchell, as they will complement each other nicely.
This French Riesling With 9% ABV
Do you really need a reason to drink Riesling? I didn’t think so. Another great bottle to add to your collection, this French one works well with a dry spiced dish, says Mitchell.
This Austrian Wine With 11% ABV
Brundlmayer Gruner Veltliner
Made with the signature grape of Austria, this dry white wine is known for its fruity and crisp taste. Mitchell also recommends this as a great pairing partner for oysters, too.
This Canadian Riesling with 9% ABV
Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine
Making an icewine is no easy feat (you have to wait until the grapes freeze on the vine before picking), so you’ll have to shell out some serious cash with this sweet sip. The process, though, is worth it because this indigenous-owned wine yields layers of honey, baked apple, sweet citrus, and apricot. Yum!
This Italian White With 12% ABV
Massone Gavi Masera
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the Piermont region produces some high-quality sips. This one is an “easy, versatile white,” says Mitchell, meaning it basically pairs well with almost anything. Add to cart!
This Lambrusco with 11% ABV
Becco Rosso Lambrusco Grasparossa
This red Italian vintage, which offers a delicate dose of bubbles, is a nice partner to a plate of charcuterie, says Mitchell. Not to mention the picks from Grasparosa have specifically been noted for offering the most complex of any Lambrusco.
This non-alcoholic crystal elixir
Rock Grace Sparkling
Here’s a completely non-alcoholic option that still tastes like the real thing. Add to that, this “wine” is infused with crystal-energy by a crystal specialist, so you can enjoy good vibes all around.
This White Wine With 12.5% ABV
‘Phaunus’ Loureiro Vinho Verde
Made in a northern Portuguese town, this white wine is made with “a little skin contact” says Mitchell. For you wine novices, that means that the juice is fermented with grape skins. The result: a slightly darker hue.
This Spanish Sparkling Wine With 12.1% ABV
This sparkling wine is complex, yet approachable, and you’ll never tire of drinking of it. Mitchell especially likes it for brunch, but suggests you skip the juice and let it stand on its own. Plus, bubbles make everything better.
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