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 while that is part of the enjoyment after all, this decadent tradition unfortunately usually relegates January to a month of restraint and, let’s face it,…self-imposed misery.
That sure doesn’t exactly sound like a Happy New Year, does it?
But what if you didn’t have to forego a glass of vino every night? What if there were waistline-friendly wines out there 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 ones have the least amount of calories? Here are 3 tips to think of when making your selections:
1.) Go for low alcohol: While that juicy glass of Australian Shiraz might hit your palatal sweet spot, it probably clocks in at around 16% alcohol. 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 this Summer. For optimal results, pick wines that are 14% ABV or less which, by law, must be clearly listed on the wine’s label.
2.) Opt for dry over sweet: Say buh-bye to wines with high levels of residual sugar (“RS” in wine lingo) left in the finished wine, including Port, Sauternes and late-harvest wines. The low-calorie wines you want to choose 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!
3.) Seek out Cool Climate wines: Since the sugars in grapes feeds yeast during fermentation to produce alcohol, wines made from super ripe grapes will therefore be higher in alcohol and thus, higher in calories. Generally speaking, the wine regions of Europe (aka the Old World) have much cooler climates than the rest of the world (aka New World) and, as a result, their wines are deliciously earthy and lower in alcohol. So if one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to explore different wine regions, this is the perfect time to do it!
Your Waistline-friendly Wines Guide
Sparkling Wines: Whether Champagne, Cava or Prosecco these wines range from 100-125 calories per 5 ounce glass and should be your FIRST choice since they only clock in at about 12.5% ABV and contain the least amount of calories. Look for the terms “Brut,” “Brut Nature” or “Brut Zero” on the label to ensure there isn’t excessive sugar added. 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 and lighter versions generally contain about 115-145 calories per 5 ounce glass. Ideally, the wine should taste crisp, refreshing and bone-dry to ensure minimal calories so opt for wines such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling or Albariño which are generally made in this style. Beware of big, full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay and Viognier which call all contain higher alcohol and sugars 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 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 riper, fuller-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec or Shiraz from warmer climates until you’ve reached your desired goals.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with the fabulous John Favole of WPTV Channel 5, the NBC affiliate here in sunny South Florida, about these wonderful waistline-friendly wines so for some specific recommendations, please have a look:
I hope you enjoy our advice on waistline-friendly wines 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!