Less is More

Here in France, drinking French red white or rosé wine, we notice the alcohol content is much less than the wines we drink in California.

In the past few years, American wines have increased the alcohol content to sometimes astonishing levels.  I had heard, years ago, when the alcohol was reaching 15% and 16% that it was in an effort to get to the younger generation who were turning to wine and wanted a “buzz” from what they drank.  The kick you get from drinking whiskey, gin or vodka.

Wine in France is a drink to compliment and be complimented with a meal. The wines in general are 12.5% - the perfect amount of alcohol to pair with food.  High alcohol content overrides the subtle flavors of foods.

Another advantage of the low alcohol is that you can drink more, drinking more not to get a “buzz” but to savor the wine and food throughout the entire course of the meal.

There is another advantage to drinking French wine in France – the price. We go to Gerard, a wine merchant in a tiny shop 2 blocks from our apartment.


Every wine he has suggested has been terrific. A couple of nights ago  we opened a 1999 Johanna, de Vieux Chateau Champs de Mars, Cotes de Castillon. The appellation is relatively new (1989) on the right bank of the Dordogne, in the Bordeaux region. The price was 10 Euros or $13.36.

win-bottle.jpg      The wine was 12.5% and perfect with the lamb chops picked up at the butcher at the street market one block from our apartment on Ledru-Rollin.


Exquisite chops, spinach creamed with crème fraiche, a grain mixture of quinoa and groats, and roasted tomatoes paired perfectly with the restrained bordeaux. Unfortunately we ate it all before we thought about a photo. C’est la vie.


One Response to “Less is More”

  1. I bore everybody at every dinner party or restaurant by seizing the wine bottle and looking at its alcohol count, and then arguing passionately at its content - always over 14 percent. I only buy wines of 13 or under (not always easy here in the U.S. to find.) A recent article in the NYTimes last week said it was going up to 16 for some Cotes du Rhone. Aa-a-a-a-rgh!
    Keep drinking.

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