Wine for breakfast? Sounds too good to be true. However, in the world of wine, not all bottles are created equal—and not all bottles have to kill the rest of your day. Grape variety, region and a little old thing called terroir determine how a wine tastes, as well as how much alcohol it contains. When it comes to pre-happy hour drinking, sticking to lower-ABV bottles is probably the best option. Behold, four examples of low-alcohol wine to savor any time of day, from weekend brunch to morning meal.
Perhaps the most underrated wine in the universe, Lambrusco goes well with just about everything; we’re talking meal, situation, even time of day. This frothy, fruit-forward red has just the right amount of fizz, making the wine both refreshing and satisfying. Hailing from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, this easy-drinking table wine clocks in around 9 to 11 percent ABV. Want to drink like an Italian? Pour yourself a small glass at breakfast.
Over the last few years, pét-nats have garnered serious attention—and once you’ve tasted one, it’s not shocking to understand why. These fizzy bubbles are produced via the méthode ancestrale; rather than undergoing the insanely long process used to craft Champagne, these wines endure their secondary fermentation in the bottle, leaving some sediment, cloudiness and perhaps a dash of residual sugar as possible finds within. Alcohol remains low, fruit forwardness remains high and it's always a crowd-pleaser.
When produced varietally—that is, with no other grapes added into the mix—Albariño (known as Alvarinho in Portugal) oozes with tart, citrusy flavors, noted with minerality and salt. Popular regions for the grape include Spain’s northwestern Galicia province, as well as northern Portugal. In the latter, Alvarinho is used (along with a few other indigenous varieties) to produce Vinho Verde, a light, easy-drinking wine with refreshing effervescence; we recommend trying expressions from all of the above.
And for a wine to pair with all of your sweet breakfast favorites (think French toast, pastries, syrup-drenched pancakes), look no further than Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont’s signature sweet vino. Refreshing and light, with frothy bubbles and balanced acidity, it's almost too easy to drink. But at only 5.5 to 9 percent ABV on average, you won’t feel too bad going back for a second glass.
Can’t find any of the above but want an early-morning sip? Create a basic wine spritzer by grabbing the nearest bottle of red or white and serve in a three-to-one ratio with sparkling water. However, if that bottle happens to be Burgundy, Barolo or anything of equal prestige, it might be wise to hold out until dinner—and savor an extra-large glass on its own.
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