About Low-Alcohol Rose Wine

About Low-Alcohol Rose Wine
Low alcohol wines are wines in which the alcohol has been greatly reduced, usually under the guise of being a healthier alternative to its full alcohol siblings. Wine, as we know, has many healthy attributes, the most widely known being those which help with heart health. Studies have proven that removal of the alcohol does not remove the helpful antioxidants. In combination with the emergence of the sobriety trend, low alcohol wines have been growing in acceptance and continue to increase in availability.

There are two processes that are the most common ways to remove alcohol from wine: reverse osmosis and vacuum distillation. Reverse osmosis is much more expensive and time consuming, but it tends to be the most popular procedure as it attempts to remove all of the individual elements that make wine desirable from the alcohol itself. The wine concentrate is removed and the alcohol/water compound is boiled at a low enough temperature to ensure the removal of the alcohol without the vaporization of the water. Once enough alcohol is removed from the water, the water is returned to the wine compound. Vacuum distillation, on the other hand, slowly boils the wine in whole in order to get the alcohol to evaporate.

The difference between the two processes is a difference in flavor and aromas. Wine loses its aroma in a vacuum distillation (as many aromas float into the air through the evaporation of the surface alcohol which is, of course, greatly reduced) and can lose many of its tannins during reverse osmosis (the separation of its parts destroys some of the texture). Out of the two, reverse osmosis retains the character most, however, there has yet to be a low-alcohol wine that completely retains the full profile of its original.

One other, more natural, way that low-alcohol wine is made is by picking grapes that have less sugar which can turn into alcohol during the fermentation process. Vintners pick grapes when they are slightly underripe, or remove the leaves to slow the vine's sugar making ability. These wines tend to keep the mouthfeel and texture, but the flavor profile is different than would come from fully ripe grapes. Also, these wines have a much higher ABV, though lower than their full alcohol counterpart (as low as 5.5%- reverse osmosis and vacuum distillation can remove alcohol almost completely, to .2%)

One can drink low alcohol rosé anytime they would try the real thing- as a nice evening relaxer, a great conversation among friends, an addition to a beautiful meat, fish or pasta dish (if the varietal is fuller bodied such as Syrah or Merlot), etc. However, one should expect that the wine may come across a bit less polished and much lighter in complexity. And, no matter what, it should always be chilled.

Top Picks for Low-Alcohol Rose Wine

Cupcake LightHearted 2021 Rosé California
83 points
A very tart cranberry raspberry experience.