A 250ml glass of wine can contain as many calories as an ice cream and a pint of beer has as many as a big slice of pepperoni pizza! Calories are documented everywhere, except on bottles of alcohol.
Sparkling wines are often safer bets for those watching their waistlines. Brut Champagne, the most popular style in the UK, contains up to 12 grams of sugar per litre and around 100 calories. Whereas around 80 calories can be found in a 125ml glass of prosecco.
Last year the launches of Gancia Legerro and ‘Skinny Prosecco’ made headlines, both of which contain around half the sugar of standard prosecco. Gancia Leggero contains around 65 calories (the same as 6 original Pringles) and 0.6g of sugar per glass. It does mean that you’re not saving many calories, but surely dropping the sugar is worth it?
Most adults consume too much of what is known as "free sugars", these are those that are added to foods by the manufacturer opposed to natural sugars present in fruit. Free sugars include those added to sparkling wines. Excessive sugar consumption can contribute to the intake of too many calories and thus weight gain, nevermind the effects on our gnashers.
The overall difference in calories for drinking a couple glasses of prosecco on a night out against drinking a skinny variant would only be around 30 calories, the equivalent of a cucumber, so these are small gains to make. But the idea of low-calorie sparklers has certainly captured the imagination of the public.
Unsurprisingly these skinny variants are drier. Drier styles have become increasingly popular, which has is in part been attributed to consumer knowledge of their lower calorie count. There is increasing demand for these styles regardless of how the numbers stack up and there is an increasingly sophisticated range on offer to venues.
It isn’t easy to get these wines right, winemakers add sugar to sparklers to suit our consumer palate demands and balance the overall flavour. Removing the option of adding sugar (or at least a large amount of it) puts all the emphasis on the vineyard and when the grapes are harvested.
One of the best examples of getting a low sugar sparkler right is Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Ultra Brut. Launched in 1981, only the ripest grapes are used to make this unique wine that has no sugar added prior to release. As a result, the balance of sugar and acidity must be perfect at the time of harvest.
For cava lovers, Villa Conchi produces an Extra Brut which was named in the Wines from Spain Awards 2015 top 100 wines. Extra Brut wines must contain no more than 6g per litre, equating to 0.75g of sugar per glass. It’s made from a blend of Xarel.lo, Macabeo, Parellada and Chardonnay grapes to produce a pale yellow cava with fresh fruit and floral notes, backed by a smooth finish.
Back in Champagne, you’ll find a number of these Extra Brut wines, my favourite is Alexandre Bonnet Noir Extra Brut. The dosage is only 3g per litre which is less than you’ll find in ‘skinny’ prosecco. It’s made from a superior selection of Pinot Noir grapes grown in the best plots in the Val-Ronceux, Frebourg and La Picardie vineyards. Our wine buyers describe this Champagne as ‘Elegant, fresh and generous’.
So, is it worth stocking a skinny sparkler? Absolutely! Consumers want to have the option of a lower calorie sparkling wine and while prosecco is grabbing the headlines, it’s actually an opportunity for you to increase Champagne sales. Stocking a product such as Gancia Legerro or Parini Slim Prosecco is a fantastic everyday option for this health-conscious market with Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Ultra Brut or Alexandre Bonnet Noir Extra Brut offered as a lower sugar up-sell.
As we’ve mentioned previously on this blog, stocking different styles of Champagne will pay dividends. Stocking different styles allows you to meet the needs of all your customers. With consumers happy to spend more on more premium products, pursuing a less of better philosophy, why not give them the opportunity to do so?
Our full wine range can be found by clicking here. Get in touch with your account manager about how we can help develop your range or click here to arrange a meeting with one of our team. Don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your wine range is a success, from free menu design and print services to staff training.