Lower alcohol wine is growing

The world wants lower alcohol wines and it wants the good stuff, says Dr John Forrest, who just arrived back in New Zealand this month after a global tour of Sweden, the United Kingdom, New York and Ontario, at which he opened his lower alcohol wines. Earlier this month he cruised into Regional to taste his lower alcohol wines with our team of wine experts, who were impressed by the balance of flavour, body and alcohol in these wines.

Note the word ‘lower’, as opposed to ‘low’, which can only refer technically to drinks that contain 1.15% ABV (alcohol by volume).

The Marlborough winemaker began making lower alcohol wines in 2006. His first one was the now famous Doctors’ Riesling. (The use of the apostrophe indicates more than one doctor since both John and his wife, Birgid Forrest, are doctors.)

The Doctors’ brand is now solely devoted to lower alcohol wine styles and he has added a lower alcohol Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Pinot Noir to the range.

“It’s a fine line making these styles of wine because it’s about keeping the sugar low enough and the acidity high enough, without compromising flavour,” said Dr John, on a flying visit to Wellington earlier this month.

We were impressed by the four wines in the Doctor’s range today, and with his philosophy behind the wines.

“You can play around with the leaf area on the vines and photosynthesis with white wine, but with Pinot Noir there’s a certain amount of sugar you need for colour and tannin development but that window is very narrow.”


Wine Wednesday this week…

I will open the current 2016 Doctors’ Riesling alongside the nine year old 2007 Forrest Estate Doctors’ Riesling, which was sent up specially for my regular weekly tasting at Regional Wines & Spirits every Wednesday.

Wine Wednesday runs from 4pm to 7pm every week in store… turn up at your leisure to taste these two refreshing whites, which show just how well Riesling can age, even when it is lower in alcohol and concentration than many other white wines. 

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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