14 Low-Alcohol Wines to Sip This Not-So-Dry January
From reds to bubbles to piquettes, here are some great low-ABV wines to look for.
Let's face it: After the past year we've endured, many of us are letting our Dry January ambitions fly out the window. Who could blame us? We persisted, we survived, and we're continuing to fight on. While most of us remain stuck at home with nowhere to go, popping a bottle of wine at night provides one of life's most simple pleasures.
However, there's no need to entirely abandon your Dry January goals. Rather than go cold turkey for the next 30 days, we're swapping out our usual high-alcohol winter wines for lighter and brighter bottles. We've rounded up 14 of our favorite low-ABV wines to sip right now. Here's to a wine-filled 2021!
Les Capriades 'Pet Sec' Chenin Blanc NV 10.5%
This thirst-quenching pét-nat comes from one of the Loire Valley's most beloved and influential natural wine producers. Crafted entirely from Chenin Blanc, this flavorful fizz oozes with notes of green apple, tart citrus, and pear skin. Zesty acid and fine mousse lead to a tangy, mouthwatering finish. Sip before dinner with French-inspired apéro snacks.
Domaine Glinavos 'Paelokerisio' Semi-Sparkling 10.5%
This skin-contact, semi-sparkling wine from northern Greece pays homage to the traditional vinification styles of the Epirus region. Crafted from the local varieties of Debina and Bekari, this pleasantly sweet-yet-balanced wine shows flavors of baked apples, citrus peels, and sweet spice. Pair with spicy Indian dishes.
Vino Bianco Frizzante "330 s.l.m." Costadilà 11.5%
Skeptical about sparkles from Italy? This fizzy wine from Veneto promises to change your mind. Vinified entirely with Glera (otherwise known as the "Prosecco grape"), it jumps with yeasty flavors of yellow apples, lemon rind, and cream. Think of its flavor profile like Prosecco meets cider in the best possible way.
Wild Arc Farm Piquette 7%
Never heard of Piquette before? This could be the low-ABV drink of your dreams. Although not technically wine, this low-alcohol beverage is produced by adding water to grape pomace (a.k.a. the leftover skins, stems, seeds, and pulp from winemaking). Piquettes are known for their fruit-forwardness, easy-drinking nature, and of course, naturally low alcohol content.
Crafted in upstate New York, Wild Arc Farm now makes four different varietal Piquettes from Riesling, Traminette, Teroldego, and Cabernet Franc. Winemaker Todd Cavallo produces these juicy bottles by taking natively fermented pomace and soaking it with well water for 48 hours, then direct presses them back to tanks to finish fermenting and aging (approximately 15% of the actual wine is added back to bump up acid and ABV content). "Think of it like a natural wine cooler," their website says.
The Marigny Piquette 'Wine Like Beverage' 4.2%
Fully on the Piquette bandwagon? Then diving into the Marigny's expression is a no-brainer. Produced from water and Pinot Gris juice, this skin-contact piquette is loaded with flavors of watermelon, crushed raspberries, and red Jolly Ranchers. At just 4.2% ABV, we implore you to spring for that second pour.
Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina 10.5% ABV
Don't let the name scare you away; Spanish Txakolina (chalk-oh-lee-na) is one of the most refreshing and delicious whites on the market. Crafted from the local varieties of Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, this spritzy, thirst-quenching bottle bursts with flavors of lemon, saltwater, green apple, minerals, and sea spray. For an instant mental escape to the sunny Basque Country seaside, pour a glass of this.
Weiser-Künstler Riesling 11%
Leave those preconceived notions about Riesling at the door. This off-dry, fruit-driven bottle from Weiser-Künstler is one of our top picks for low-ABV sipping. Produced in the heart of Germany's Mosel Valley, this palate-coating wine is loaded with flavors of pear skin, canned peaches, wet slate, white flowers, and wet rocks. Pop with maple-glazed ham or spicy food.
Broc Cellars Valdiguié Nouveau 11.5%
Not sure about Nouveau wines? This bottle will change your mind. Simply put, Nouveau bottlings mean that the wine has been vinified and bottled during the same year in which the fruit was harvested, meaning that aging times are super short. This, in turn, leads to youthful, fruit-driven wines that beg to be enjoyed now (with a slight chill, of course). Broc Cellars' Valdiguié jumps with flavors of strawberry jam, ripe red fruits, cranberries, and minerals. Sip cold and pair with your next Netflix binge.
Niepoort Nat Cool Tinto 12%
Produced by Dirk Niepoort, one of Portugal's most legendary winemakers, this varietal Baga may just be the coolest wine on our list. Spicy, light-bodied notes of raspberry skin, strawberries, and cherry juice ooze from the wine's tangy palate. Best of all, this wine comes in liter bottles, meaning more bang for your low-ABV drinking buck.
Nathan K Pinot Noir 12%
This year, take your low-ABV Pinot sipping beyond Burgundy and look to other cool-climate regions, such as New York's Finger Lakes AVA. Nathan Kendall is one of the region's most respected winemakers, and his Pinot promises to have you thirsting for more. Light-bodied but definitely not lacking in complexity or flavor, the wine jumps with flavors of cherries, rose petals, potting soil, and sweet spice. Best enjoyed with a light chill.
Pinard et Fille 'Queer' 9.8%
Red wine from Canada? You bet. Clocking in at just under 10% ABV, this tangy blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir comes from an organically-farmed 2.2-hectare vineyard and is vinified entirely in steel to preserve freshness and acidity. Notes of rhubarb, sour cherries, white pepper, and earth lead to a harmonious, acid-driven finish. Sip chilled with charcuterie boards or bistro-inspired French meals at home.
Off-Dry / Sweet
Braida Brachetto d'Acqui 5.5%
High-quality sweet reds can be hard to find, but this gem from Braida, one of Piedmont's greatest estates, has us hooked. Produced from organically-farmed fruit, this medium-bodied wine shows flavors of candied red fruits, strawberry jam, honey, and rose petals. Barely present fizz and ample residual sugar lead to a lasting, satisfying finish.
Vietti 'Cascinetta' Moscato d'Asti 5.5%
This organic, cloud-like Moscato is crafted from organically-farmed fruit at the hands of one of Piedmont's most legendary producers. Notes of apricots, overripe pears, peach skin, honey, ginger, and tropical fruits promise to leave you wanting more—and at just 5.5% ABV, you'll certainly feel fine reaching for a second glass.
Domaine Renardat-Fache Bugey Cerdon NV 7.5%
We'll never turn down a glass of méthode ancestrale (pét-nat) sparkling, especially if it's from Bugey-Cerdon. Produced from the region's traditional blend of Poulsard and Gamay, this pleasantly sweet rosé oozes with flavors of wild strawberries, cherries, and sweet Alpine spice. Serve chilled with fruit tarts, berry parfaits, or sweet brunch favorites.