Wine that tastes great and is also good for you
An intrepid polymath speaks to CATHERINE KLADAKIS about the process he has developed to create wines with a low GI rating, which are acclaimed for their taste on the palate and bouquet by international wine experts.
Dr Bruce Kambouris is a Chinese Medicine practitioner, a qualified chemical engineer and has a PHD in Medical Sciences but that was not enough.
After scoring a job as the chief chemist at Australian Vintage, Dr Kambouris took his research a step further to develop a waist friendly range of wines.
Currently available in a Chardonnay, Rose, and Shiraz, the Nine Below wines are low GI (Glycemic Index), and contain 30 per cent less calories and alcohol.
Not only is it better for you, says Dr Kambouris, but the flavour of this wine is similar to that of a full bodied alcohol wine.
So what is his secret to avoiding the watery taste usually associated with low alcohol wines?
“Nine Below is made by a new process that is now patented,” he says.
“Firstly we pick a full bodied wine, then remove the alcohol from it completely. Instead of diluting the wine with water, we add the de-alcoholised wine back to the original wine, which reduces the alcohol content from 14 per cent down to below nine per cent. The wine is then sweetened to taste using a partly fermented grape juice, which ensures that all the nice aromas that would usually be scrubbed out of wine through carbon dioxide actually remain.”
Another advantage of the arrested fermentation is that the grape juice contains predominantly fructose (this is natural fructose, unlike processed fructose i.e. corn syrup, which has been linked to diabetes and obesity) which elicits a low blood insulin response.
So how does low GI benefit your health?
Low GI foods are broken down slower by the body and so release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream than high GI foods.
The University of Sydney suggests that this helps to keep energy levels balanced, thereby helping you to feel full for longer between meals and assisting weight loss efforts.
“The medical philosophy in the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes is to consume a diet of foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI) in order to get low insulin responses in the blood,” adds Dr Kambouris.
Sydney University trials have proved Nine Below’s compatibility with a low insulin response, which is good news for those with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or those wanting to watch their weight.
However there is no compromise in taste. The wine still tastes like a good wine should.
In fact leading UK wine Critic, Jancis Robinson of the Financial Times recommended Nine Below’s Chardonnay.
A full bodied semi-sweet white with a palate of tropical fruit, melon, lemon and spicy oak, Nine Below’s Chardonnay is a fine match for a Christmas seafood fare.
Dr Kambouris’ favourite is the Rose, which with its bright pink and purple hues, and light raspberry and tropical fruit juice taste, is a suitable accompaniment to a light summer meal.
“For us Greeks, I’d recommend the Rose, but if you are eating meats such as yiro and lamb on the spit, the Nine Below Shiraz will go nicely.”
So where to next for Dr Kambouris? Australian Vintages has launched Nine Below in Europe, Canada, and Asia and, is planning to launch the range in the US next year.
“I am also launching some new products in the near future that are absolutely dynamite,” he says. For now you can check out his current range at www.ninebelow.com.au .
Nine Below is priced at $13.99 and is available at Coles Liquorland and 1st Choice Liquor Superstores.
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