Wine Clinic: Wine Vs Beer, etiquette and more

How many calories does a glass of wine have compared to beer? Which is more fattening?

Surprising thoubeer-winegh it may appear, my research reveals that standard beers actually have fewer calories than wine! The difference is beer is consumed in large, overflowing tankards while wine is sipped in half-filled glasses. According to the BBPA, a glass of beer with a typical 4.6% alcoholic volume has fewer calories not only than a similar measure of wine, but also milk or fruit juice! Spirits, meanwhile, contain more than six times the calories of beer.

The calories in a glass of wine come from its alcohol content. A 3.5 oz glass of wine has 80 calories and zero fat with only minimal amounts of protein, carbohydrate equivalents and minerals. It’s easy to forget that you can drink as many calories as you eat. In fact, some drinks can have as many calories as a meal! Given below is an approximate calorie counter for ready reference. Remember to check the serving size and to add the calories from any juice or soft drink that is combined with the liquor.

What is meant by ‘entry level wines’? If the aim is to introduce newcomers to the world of wine, by offering them cheap, and hence poor quality, wines, does it not defeat the very purpose?

 The term “entry level” does not mean poor quality wine. Neither is a lower priced wine necessarily poor quality. It means that this is a simple wine which has not undergone long ageing or been produced from a special selection of grapes. Wine novices are more likely to appreciate simple, fruity wines and then move up to more complex wines as their palate for wine develops.

Can I tell from the bottle if a wine is good?

Other than the standard wine bottle, the shape and colour of the bottle tells you something about the style of wine and where it’s from. For eg, champagne bottles are different in appearance as are many bottles for German wines. But, you can tell a lot from the condition of a bottle before opening it if you want to judge the quality of the wine. Check the bottle fill level and the cork. A low level is common in Italian wines, which is not a fault. However, it can also indicate that the wine has been subject to heat. The wine can expand and can leak through the cork, resulting in reduced bottle fill. Damaged corks are another indicator that all’s not well with the wine. Prolonged storage at low humidity can dry out the cork allowing air to seep in or make it crumble when you uncork the bottle.

In what order should wine be served?

As a general rule of thumb, serve white wine before red and lighter wines before heavier ones. To refine this further, open simpler wines before more complex or fine wines, and young before old. The general principle behind this is to prepare your palate for stronger, more complex flavours.