Egg nog. Christmas cookies. Peppermint-stick ice cream. If you're like me, you indulged in everything you could get your well-manicured hands on this holiday season…and after 2020 who could really blame you? And while it’s fun to enjoy your favorite foods during this festive time of year, this decadent tradition unfortunately usually relegates January to a month of restraint and, let's face it,...self-imposed misery.
That sure doesn't sound like a Happy New Year, does it?
But what if you didn't have to forego that glass of vino every night? What if there was a handy Waistline-Friendly Wine Guide that featured delicious wines that didn't sabotage your New Year's-inspired weight loss plans?
Fellow winelovers, I'm happy to tell you these wines DO exist and, in moderation, you can still indulge your vinous cravings without consuming oodles of pesky calories. But since a glass of wine can range between 100-300 calories, how do you know which wines have the least amount of calories? Here are 3 tips to consider when making your selections:
Go for Low Alcohol: While that juicy glass of Australian Shiraz might hit your palate’s sweet spot, it probably clocks in at around 16% alcohol. And since alcohol has almost twice the calories as sugar (yes, you heard right!), you've got a double whammy in that glass just waiting to haunt your midsection through bathing suit season. For optimal results, pick wines that are 14% ABV or less which, by law, must be clearly listed on a wine's label.
Dry over Sweet: Say buh-bye to wines with high levels of residual sugar ("RS" in wine lingo), including Port, Sauternes and late-harvest wines. The low-calorie wines you want to choose right now are bone-dry, crisp and refreshing. In general, if a wine you're drinking tastes overly fruity or sweet (even a supposed "dry" wine like White Zinfandel), banish it from your fridge until you've reached your desired goal!
Cool Climate is Key: The wine regions of Europe (aka the Old World) have much cooler climates than the rest of the world (aka New World) and grapes grown in cooler climates don't achieve the lush ripeness that those grown in warmer climates do. And since it's grape sugars that are converted into alcohol by the yeast during fermentation, cooler climate grapes produce wines that are lower in alcohol and, therefore, calories. So if one of your New Year's Resolutions is to explore a different wine region, this is the perfect time to explore the delightful wines of countries such as France, Italy, Germany and/or Spain!
SPARKLING WINES: Whether its Champagne, Cava or Prosecco, sparkling wines range from approximately 100-125 calories per 5 ounce glass and should generally be your FIRST waistline-friendly choice. Since they are usually served in a flute, there's also less variation in the size of the pour which provides reliable consistency. Look for the terms "Brut,""Brut Nature" or "Brut Zero" on the label to ensure there isn't excessive sugar added. So if you have any sparklers left over from the holidays - lucky you!
WHITE WINES: These wines should be your second choice when selecting a waistline-friendly bottle. You want to opt for lighter-bodied, unoaked white wines which are crisp, refreshing and bone-dry since they generally contain about 115-145 calories per 5 ounce glass. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling and Albariño are great choices in this category, beware of big, full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay and Viognier which can contain higher alcohol and therefore, more calories.
RED WINES: If you're a bona fide red wine lover, no worries! While red wines generally contain the most calories due to riper fruit and higher alcohol levels, there are lighter versions to be found that contain around 130-170 calories per glass. Opt for wines made from the Pinot Noir, Barbera and Tempranillo grapes from cooler climate regions in France, Italy and Spain respectively. In order to keep calories at a minimum, steer clear of ripe, fuller-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec or Shiraz from warmer climates until you've reached your desired goals.
I recently had the opportunity to share some of my favorite Waistline-Friendly Wine recommendations with the fabulous John Favole of WPTV NewsChannel 5, our local NBC affiliate here in sunny South Florida. Please check out the video above for all the deets and I hope you enjoy our Waistline-Friendly Wine Guide and best of luck with your New Year's resolutions. If you've made any food and/or wine-related resolutions, I'd LOVE to hear about them. Please let me know in the Comments section below!