Photo Credit: Marc Kirkpatrick 

These bottles of low alcohol Chardonnay and Malbec were sent to me as samples and I really enjoyed the Chardonnay as a chilled pre-dinner glass. It’s perfect for a warm Chicago night paired with an early summer pea salad and makes a good case for a low ABV option. Loca Wine is an organic, low calorie wine label from Domaine Bousquet in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina. ‘Loca’ translates to crazy in Spanish, evoking the term ‘crazy good’. The Virgin Vineyards site is 4,000 feet in altitude at the foot of the Andes mountains and its vines are planted at a high elevation which concentrates the grape’s flavors due to less clusters of fruit per vine. The area’s sandy loam topsoil and small pebbles allow the roots to drain and penetrate the earth and the Bousquet family is committed to farming organically.

The 2023 vintage of Loca Chardonnay is crisp, bright, and refreshing for a cold summer glass. The grape is harvested early to achieve low alcohol, which translates to less calories, and high acidity. This wine is bright and lighter-bodied than most Chardonnays with notes of lemon, peach, and pear.

Their 2023 Malbec is 79 calories per 5 ounce serving, compared to the average of 120 calories in a standard glass of red wine. The wine is dry but has fruity notes of black cherry and raspberry and the floral notes that are typical of a Mablec. This grape is also harvested early to create a wine that is expressive of its varietal typicity and to retain a bright acidity that balances the bold, earthy flavors of a Malbec. Because of this early harvest, the wine is also lighter in alcohol content at 9.5% compared to the average 13-14% alcohol of standard Malbec produced in Mendoza.