Understanding and choosing a delicious lower alcohol wine is something that is becoming more important for wine lovers as they decide to sip and eat lighter these days.
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Low Alcohol Wine
Riding on the wellness wave, lower alcohol wines are finally truly starting to be accepted and considered as a premium beverage amongst foodies and enthusiasts alike. New Zealand as a wine region in particular has been a leader in this space. The country developed a research program a few years ago, whose only goal was to produce premium lower alcohol wine, without sacrificing any of the great taste that people come to expect from New Zealand wines. The research has proved that certain grapes, in certain areas, harvested earlier than usual can produce premium quality wines to the consumer. These wines offer a very similar taste profile when compared with their classical versions but also offer 25% lower alcohol content. Winemakers have found the perfect way to create wines lighter in alcohol and calories without compromising anything on or in the wine growing or the winemaking process – What a revelation!
Over the past few years New Zealand’s Lighter wines movement has come to market in Canada and been extremely successful. People have really loved the fact that they could pick up a bottle of their favourite Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc or Stoneleigh Rosé and have their glass of wine offer them 25% less calories and 25% less alcohol without losing the premium taste that they crave from their favourite dry New Zealand wine. Now, that’s something we should all be excited about!
The emphasis on quality production is something of particular note. As many lower alcohol wines tend to not taste great or be premium in style at all. They may also have more residual sugar than desired for a wine lover who prefers dry wines. The research done in NZ not only suggests but also proves and ensures the wine drinker can still have a spectacular experience when they taste a lighter wine from New Zealand.
Grown in the stone-studded Rapaura soils of Marlborough New Zealand – a place where the sun touches the earth first, Stoneleigh wines are famous for their fresh, crisp style and vibrant flavours. For thousands of years, the Wairau River ran through what are now Stoneleigh’s vineyards, depositing stones of all sizes. Today, Stoneleigh’s vines are planted among these sunstones, as they capture heat throughout the day and release it onto the vines, helping develop rich, intense flavours in the grapes.
Certified sustainable and vegan certified Stoneleigh uses pea protein and bentonite clay to filter the wines giving the wines even more to be proud of. Unlike other low alcohol wines Stoneleigh Lighter is made using natural winemaking techniques, where grapes are harvested earlier in the season when the sugar levels are naturally low but their flavours are still fully developed. This low sugar level converts to low alcohol during the winemaking process
Looking for the perfect food and wine pairing with Stoneleigh Lighter Sauvignon Blanc? I’ve teamed up with vegan chef Matthew Ravenscroft. I figured what better way to share the story of food and wine than to bring together a recipe that ideally pairs wine and food together.
Intrigued? I sure hope so, this is a very exciting development in the world of wine! Stoneleigh, one of the most iconic brands from New Zealand, has released Stoneleigh Lighter, the same great taste of Stoneleigh only lighter in calories and alcohol. Their release of Stoneleigh Lighter (currently released across Canada) typically sells out in just a few weeks since its release (and it was released in May 2021). Loyal brand followers and newcomers to the category are currently looking for ways to live lighter with their wine choices and Stoneleigh Lighter helps to check all their boxes.
Stoneleigh Lighter Sauvignon Blanc is extremely hard to distinguish from it’s classic sister wine Stoneleigh Sauvignon in taste. In a round-table tasting experience that I hosted both of these wines were extremely well received by health professionals, and wine critics alike. Stoneleigh Lighter Sauvignon Blanc overflows with aromas of lush grapefruit and passionfruit that will swoon any wine lover and captures the senses just like many Sauvignon Blanc from NZ do. Stoneleigh Lighter Rosé is simply gorgeous in colour with notes of red berries and orchard fruit! The perfect wines for summer sipping with a quarter less alcohol and calories, making them the perfect pairing with summertime sipping.
Meet Vegan Chef
Meet vegan Chef – Matthew Ravenscroft. Earlier this season I was able to interview and co-host a virtual tasting alongside of him and his passion for vegan food really inspired me. This citrus and avocado salad is the perfect summertime “lighter pairing” with sunshine and social gatherings.
Matthew Ravenscroft believes in the power of vegetables. Cooking amongst some of Toronto’s best chefs, Matthew has developed a passion for plant-based cooking that celebrates the biodiversity and beauty of cooking vegetables. By showing what can be done by making plant-focused foods accessible, vibrant and bursting with flavour, Matthew hopes to make the future a little bit brighter by making it a little bit more green.
Citrus + Avocado Salad
with charred tomato vinaigrette, raw zucchini, peanuts, mint + chilies
1 blood orange
(*whatever delicious citrus you can get that is not a lemon or lime)
1 bunch of mint, rinsed
1 yellow zucchini
1/4C peanuts (or some sort of seed if you are allergic!), toasted
1 finger chili
2 cloves garlic
1/2C oil (preferably with a neutral flavour)
2 tsp. dijon
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4C vinegar (if you’re using balsamic or rice vinegar, you can add less)