Types of Wine
There are many different kinds of wine, but we’ll focus on the six main types, i.e., red, white, rose, sparkling, dessert, and fortified wines. The following table shows their calorie, sugar, and carbohydrate content   .
Among different types, dry red, white, and rosé wines are the lowest-carb wines, but how come they have the lowest carb content?
Wines with the Lowest Carb Level
Dry wines (dry refers to the absence of sugar) have the lowest carbohydrate levels for the following reasons.
- Residual Sugar: The residual sugar in wine adds to the overall carb content. Wines with higher residual sugar levels have more carbohydrates. Dry wines undergo complete fermentation, so they have fewer residual sugars and lower carb content.
- Wine Production Techniques: Some winemaking techniques, such as malolactic fermentation or the addition of sweeteners, can increase the final carb content of the wine. But dry wines have no added sugars.
- Grape Varieties: Different grapes have different levels of natural sugars, affecting the carb content of the wine. For example, sweeter grapes lead to wines with higher carbohydrate levels. Dry wines are made from grapes with lower residual sugar, as the sugars are mainly fermented into alcohol during winemaking.
So, here are the ten best low-carb red and white wines.
5 Best Low-Carb Red Wines
These five red wines contain the lowest levels of carbohydrates.
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Shiraz/ Syrah
Before going into details of each one, let’s take a look at their nutrients in one serving (5 fl oz.) in the following table .
Gamay red wines have rich fruit flavors, low tannins and high acidity, with about 110 calories and 3 grams of net carbohydrates per serving (5 fl oz.). It is mainly made in Beaujolais, which is located south of the Burgundy region of France.
Since it has low tannins, Gamay wine is easier to drink than other red wine varieties. The process used to make Gamay in Beaujolais is called carbonic maceration.
In this method, whole grape clusters are fermented in a carbon dioxide-rich environment before crushing them to increase the fruity and floral characteristics of the wine.
Pinot Noir wines are known for their nuanced and complex flavor profile, with about 121 calories and 3.4 grams of net carbs per serving (5 fl oz.).
Pinot Noir is generally made in the Burgundy region of France. It can also have earthy floral and even spicy tastes, based on the winemaking method.
Pinot Noir is made using whole-cluster fermentation, where the grapes are not crushed before fermentation to maintain the grape's aromatic qualities. It also has a silky and smooth texture because of its low tannins.
Merlot wines are known for their softness, richness, versatility, moderate acidity, and tannins, with about 122 calories and 3.7 grams of net carbs per serving (5 fl oz.).
Merlot wines are mainly made in the Bordeaux region of France. Merlot is a soft wine and a good choice for those who prefer wines with a less astringent mouthfeel.
In addition to Bordeaux, Merlot wines are made in many other regions, including California, Washington State, Italy (Tuscany), Chile, and Australia.
With about 122 calories and 3.8 grams of net carbs per serving (5 fl oz.) Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular tannic wines with rich flavors and excellent aging potential.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines have deep colors and intense flavors with firm tannins, giving them structure and aging potential, which also makes them very astringent. But they taste softer as they age.
Cabernet Sauvignon is mainly produced in the Bordeaux region of France, but it is also made in other regions like Napa Valley and Sonoma County in California, Coonawarra and Margaret River in Australia, and Maipo Valley in Chile.
Shiraz (Syrah) wines have bold flavors, rich textures, and spicy and peppery characteristics, with about 122 calories and 3.8 grams of net carbs per serving (5 fl oz.).
Shiraz wines have firm tannins, giving them grippy or velvety texture and aging potential. Some winemakers produce Syrah using extended maceration and aging in oak barrels, while others may use more modern techniques to emphasize fruitiness.
5 Best Low-Carb White Wines
Here are the five best white wines with low levels of carbohydrates.
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
The following table shows the carbohydrate, sugar, and calorie content in these white wines .
Pinot Grigio is a mutation of the red grape Pinot Noir and is mainly produced in Italy. Pinot Grigio wines have a light, crisp, and dry profile, with about 122 calories and 3 grams of net carbs per serving (5 fl oz.).
This white wine has high acidity, which gives it refreshing qualities and makes it a good choice for warmer weather.
Pinot Grigio is often made by stainless steel fermentation and aging to maintain its fresh and crisp characteristics. Some producers allow brief skin contact during fermentation to produce a slightly deeper color and more texture.
Sauvignon Blanc wines have distinctive and intense aromas with about 119 calories and 3 grams of net carbs per serving (5 fl oz.).
Sauvignon Blanc has high acidity levels, making it a fresh option for warm weather. It is mainly produced in the Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France.
Sauvignon Blanc is usually fermented in stainless steel tanks to maintain fresh fruit flavors and acidity. Some winemakers age it in oak barrels to add complexity and texture to the final product.
Made mainly in the Burgundy region of France, Chardonnay can have diverse flavor profiles, which depend on climate, soil, and winemaking techniques. Each serving (5 fl oz.) of Chardonnay can contain about 123 calories and 3.2 grams of net carbohydrates.
Its initial flavors include green apple, pear, citrus, melon, and tropical fruit. But it can have butter, vanilla, and toasty notes in secondary and tertiary flavors, especially if it’s aged in oak barrels.
Cool-climate Chardonnays have a higher acidity, while those from warmer climates show a full-bodied profile.
Champagne is a sparkling white wine with about 116 calories and 4 grams of net carbs per 5 fl oz serving.
Champagne is mainly produced in the Champagne region in northeastern France, with special winemaking methods, including a primary fermentation and a secondary fermentation in the bottle, creating bubbles.
Its tasting notes include citrus, green apple, pear, brioche, toast, and mineral undertones.
Champagnes made from Chardonnay are more citrusy and floral, while those with Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier can display richer, red fruit characteristics.
Champagnes can range in sweetness from bone-dry to sweet. The bottle labels describe sweetness using terms like Brut Nature (very dry), Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry (slightly sweet), Sec (medium sweet), Demi-Sec (sweet), and Doux (very sweet).
Made from the Cararratto grapes in Sicily, Italy, Cararratto wines are famous for their freshness and acidity, with about 116 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving (5 fl oz.).
Its flavor profile has citrusy notes, including lemon and green apple, and even floral and herbal nuances. Cararratto is used to produce a range of white wines, including both varietal wines and blends.
So, you can drink any of these low-carb red and white wines, but it’s better to avoid the following wines.
Wines to Avoid
It’s generally safer to drink low-carb wines as you don’t want to gain extra pounds and deal with inflammation problems. So, it’s better to avoid
- Dessert wines, such as Moscato, Port, or sweet Rieslings
- Fortified wines like Sherry
- Wines with "late-harvest" on the label
- Wines with dolce, demi-sec, or semi-sec on the label (as they have more residual sugar.)
- Champagne Doux (It’s the sweetest version with over 50 grams of residual sugar per liter)
- Sangria (red or white)
- Wine coolers and frozen wine pops/ drinks
Also, if you’re on a low-carb diet, like Keto and Carnivore diet, and want to drink alcoholic beverages, you should go for the following options to minimize the side effects of alcohol, especially weight gain and inflammation.
What Is the Best Wine for the Keto and Carnivore Diets?
The best wines for the Keto and Carnivore diets are low-carb, low-calorie options, including
- Sauvignon Blanc,
- Pinot Noir,
- Dry Champagne,
- Cabernet Sauvignon,
- Chianti, and
Learn More: Can You Drink Alcohol on the Carnivore Diet? The Best and Worst Options
Tips on Low-Carb Wine
- Drink in moderation, even low-carb wines.
- Drink plenty of water as alcoholic drinks are dehydrating.
- Check the calorie content of the low-carb wine because low-carb doesn’t mean low-calorie.
- Look for dry wines.
- When buying, always check the nutritional facts of the wine to ensure it doesn’t have high levels of calories and carbohydrates.
- Champagne and sparking wines labeled Brut, Extra Brut, Brut Nature, or Brut Zero contain the lowest carb content.
Low-carb wine options are healthier as they contain lower sugars and usually fewer calories. But it’s important to note that drinking alcohol can cause serious health issues, and you need to minimize your consumption, especially if you’re on a specific diet.