If there’s one time of year when people indulge in alcohol more frequently it’s during the December holidays of Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Holiday cheer brings countless parties where drink glasses magically stay filled.
Many of our favorite big, bold cabernet sauvignons and oaky chardonnays can easily have 15 percent alcohol or higher. For an alternative, consider wines with lower alcohol, in the 11 percent to 13 percent range. One or 2 percent may not sound like much of a difference but on occasions when one or more glasses will be consumed it can be the difference between a fun evening and an overindulging flop.
To illustrate the point, in a February 2009 Forbes article lower alcohol wines were discussed with doctor and wine writer William “Rusty” Gaffney. He took a Breathalyzer test after drinking low- and high-alcohol wines. The 5-foot-9-inch, 178-pound Gaffney found that after “two glasses of 12 1/2 percent alcohol wine, on an empty stomach, his blood alcohol was .05 after an hour; after two glasses of a 15 percent wine, he was over the legal driving limit of .08 after an hour.”
There are many lower alcohol brands and varietals available that are appropriate for entertaining. Other ways to reduce alcohol consumption include making sure water and other nonalcoholic drinks are available, using smaller wine glasses and not topping off guests’ glasses throughout the party.
- 2009 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $16 retail)
- 2009 Broadbent Vinho Verde, Portugal (about $13 retail)
- 2009 Stella Rosa Rosso, Italy (about $13 retail)
- 2009 Stella Rosa Bianco, Italy (about $13 retail)
- 2008 Pascal Jolivet “Attitude” Sauvignon Blanc, France (about $24 retail)
- NV J Brut Sparkling Wine, California (about $35 retail)
- NV Roederer Sparkling Wine, California (about $35 retail)