Low alcohol selections perfect for the summer heat!

Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten

2020 Riesling Kabinett 

Mosel, Germany

ABV: 8.5%

Brought to us by: Skurnik Wines | Prestige-Ledroit

Regular: $34.99 | TWS Sale: $27.99

Merkelbach Riesling is a time capsule. The brothers Alfred and Rolf have kept a heartfelt and caring tradition of winemaking at their estate in Urzig to the point where many remark how the estate looks virtually unchanged since they took over some 50 years ago. Quiet and bucolic, the feel of the estate comes through in the wine - these Rieslings are filled with a joyful airiness that is bright, clear, and resilient. Winemaking, especially on the steep slopes of Urzig, can be exhausting and consuming. That is why Merkelbach is a testament to the love of tradition and craft that a wine can express. Merkelbach's Rieslings can only be accurately described by movements: light footed, nimble, and animated with a subtle playfulness. It's almost shocking to look at the Kabinett and realize it is only 8.5% alcohol, as it's as balanced and nuanced as any 11-12% Riesling.

In 2020 the Merkelbach brothers had to step down from their winemaking roles due to age, and their family friends Selbach (of Selbach-Oster) stepped in. Johannes Selbach wants to preserve the brothers' legacy, and the 2020 vintage has been a testament to that. Although the brothers are absent in the fields, they still greet their customers with their wonderful hospitality.

-Andrew Thorp

La Petite Frog

2021 Blanc

Côtes de Thau, France

ABV: 12%

Brought to us by: Kysela Pere et Fils


La Petite Frog Cotes de Thau White has a pale-yellow color with lemon and lime citrus notes on the nose. The palate features more citrus accompanied by apple and pear flavors. There is an underlying mineral presence as well as a slight hint of seawater. The wine is a blend of 40% Terret, 40% Colombard, 15% Vermentino, 3% Sauvignon Blanc, and 2% Muscat from vines that average 10 years in age. This wine is excellent with most fish and shellfish dishes. It also pairs nicely with salads, quiches and Chicken dishes. Perhaps the biggest selling-point of this wine is its price- $24.99 for 3 liters...that comes out to $6.25 per 750ml or about $1.25 per glass!! La Petite Frog would be a perfect wine to take to the beach and at this price you might actually be able to afford enough gasoline to get there.

-Dan Zetlmeisl

G.D. Vajra

2021 Moscato d'Asti

Piedmont, Italy

ABV: 5.5%

Brought to us by: Vajra USA | Winebow

Regular: $22.99 | TWS Sale: $17.99

Spoiler alert: this wine is a sweet treat. If you, like me, wish to do as the grandmothers of Piedmont do and enjoy a glass of delicious fizzy wine in the middle of the afternoon – please read on.

G.D. Vajra is an independently owned estate and winery operated by the Vajra family: Aldo and Milena, and their children Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro. G.D. Vajra is known for purity and precision of winemaking, and a deep understanding of the land in which their vines grow. This is evident in all of their wines – from the fine Nebbiolo of Bricco delle Viole (hilltop of violets) in Barolo, all the way to this playful little Moscato d’Asti.

I say playful, yet production of their Moscato d’Asti is quite a delicate and deliberate endeavor. Picked at optimum ripeness, the Moscato bianco grapes (muscat) are hand harvested and the date varies based on vineyard site (grapes for the 2021 bottling were sourced from the high elevation old vines of the Riforno vineyard in Mango and Moncucco in Santo Stefano Belbo). Vajra plays it by ear, often leaving grapes on the vine for a few extra days while they turn the perfect golden hue and develop the compounds necessary for the aromas and textures to shine through in the finished wine. After harvest, grapes are destemmed and pressed quickly under cool conditions, and the must is fermented in stainless steel under controlled, low temperatures. During fermentation, as the yeast converts sugars to alcohol, carbon dioxide is released – the stable, low temperatures trap these gasses and give the wine its fluffy fizz – or “frizzante” style. When the desired alcohol level has been reached, the wine is chilled below the limits where yeast can survive, halting fermentation. The wine is then kept cool until bottling to ensure it keeps its gentle bubble, expressive characteristics, and sweetness – the Asti method is an exercise in careful chemistry with a touch of whimsy.

G.D. Vajra’s 2021 Moscato d’Asti pours a pale lemon color with flecks of green, showing aromas of green grapes, lime zest, elderflower, ripe apricot, dried mango, guava, honey, pineapple, poached pear, and crystalized ginger. On the palate, peaches and cream join in, and the frothy persistent bubble balances out the sweetness to keep the wine refreshing. A delicious low ABV wine not to be overthought nor undervalued, try it well chilled alongside burrata, fruit salad, or fried ricotta stuffed squash blossoms, most certainly share it with friends, and don’t stop yourself from giggling while you enjoy it.

-Lauren Loeffler

L'Ecu Orthogneiss

2018 Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine

Loire Valley, France

ABV: 12%

Brought to us by: Georgian Wine House

Regular: $24.99 | TWS Sale: $19.99

When caught in a mid-summer’s dead heat, a chilled low ABV is the way to go! One of my favorite appellations that fits this bill is the bright, briny, and curiously complex Muscadet of the Loire Valley. This appellation does not allow wine above 12.5% ABV, yet is known for rich texture not often seen in lower alcohol wines; this is due to extended aging on lees, especially in Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie.

My pick this go round is “Orthogneiss” from one of the more renowned producers in Muscadet, Domaine de l’Ecu. Domaine de l’Ecu is a natural winemaker that operates 25 biodynamic hectares (Demeter certified since 1988) in Muscadet Sevre et Maine, 3 of which produce “Orthogneiss”. The name “Orthogneiss” coincides with the type of rock that is found in the sub soil at the site in which the grapes for this wine are grown. On top of this orthogneiss lies a shallow sedimentary soil where 45-55 year old vines of Melon de Bourgogne grow on Southeast facing slopes. All grapes are hand harvested, undergo pneumatic press, and 100% natural yeast fermentation. The wine is then aged 18 months on the lees in underground vats then bottled without additional sulfites.

“Orthogneiss” has a subtle but complex nose with notes of lemon and grapefruit zest, golden apple, gravel, a breeze from a brackish body of water, as well as hints of biscuit and honeycomb. On the palate, salt and stone are accompanied by notes of citrus, apple, and ripe peach. Acidity is present but not overbearing salt and citrus linger on the palate. The most known pairing for Muscadet is oysters (for good reason) but will pair with most seafood dishes as well as any light summer fare. My ideal pairing is a chilled seafood tower, flip-flops, and linen pants. Cheers. 

-Matthew Supik

Weingut Beurer

2021 Rosé Trocken

Wurttemberg, Germany

ABV: 10.5%

Brought to us by: Vom Boden | Potomac Selections

Regular: $24.99 | TWS Sale: $19.99

The summer is the perfect time to dive into some low alcohol wines as you try to escape the sweltering heat. Jochen Beurer’s Rosé Trocken is a wine that exudes refreshing, juicy, crushable fun, while still being complex enough to sit down and unpack a glass (or, at 10.5% ABV, unpack the bottle).

Beurer is located in the Wurttemberg appellation, Germany’s 4th largest wine producing region. It is an area characterized by steep river valleys and, unlike much of the rest of the country, it is historically known for producing red wines. 71% of the grapes grown here are red; most notably Trollinger, Blaufrankisch, and Spatburgunder. Beurer’s focus is on Riesling from the region, but he makes a handful of red cuvees. He uses the “saignée method” of rosé winemaking, where he pulls off a part of juice from early in production of his red grapes Trollinger, Portugeiser, Zweigelt, and Spatburgunder. This juice has been on the skins for only a couple of days, but the extraction of flavor and complexity is more intense than a classic “direct press” rose. Saignée is the secret to unlock the electricity and intensity that sets Beurer apart.

This rosé is packed full of zingy, zesty life. The nose explodes out of the glass with fresh red cherries and cranberry juice combined with jalapeño and rosemary. A sip is greeted by the rich, mouth filling texture that gives way to flavors of more red fruit, lime zest, and a touch of chalky gravel. It finishes with a refreshing zip of acidity and an ever so slight touch of tannins. It’s one of the more unique wines in the store; with the depth of a Tavel rosé but the life of a Mosel Riesling. And the good news is, if you want more per bottle, we also carry it in a 1.5L magnum size!

-Jake Groenke

Domaine Pierre Richard 'Harmonie'

Cremant du Jura

Jura, France

ABV: 12%

Brought to us by: Plant Wines | International Cellars

Regular: $29.99 | TWS Sale: $23.99

This heat calls for a cold sparkling wine. Nobody makes better bubbles than France, and the most tasty and affordable French bubblies tend to be Cremants. Eight different regions throughout the country produce sparkling wines using the same method as Champagne, but reflecting their own native grapes and terroir. This Champagne method minus the name recognition results in a more reasonably priced sparkling.

We frequently see amazing Cremants from Alsace, the Loire, and in the far south, Limoux, but it is much more uncommon to find a sparkling from the Jura. This once forgotten region in the foothills of the French Alps has steadily gained fame for obscure gastronomic wines such as Vin Jaune. Sadly, the area is still not known for its bubbles, despite a tradition of making sparkling that stretches back to the 1700s.

Lately, I have been drinking the Cremant du Jura Harmonie made by Vincent Richard. This wine is refreshing in a summery way, but it also has something of fall comfort about it. Both grilled and fresh crisp, yellow apples mingle with cream, yellow raisins, orange pith and faint toasted coconut. The palate is bright and minerally with some pineapple and a gentle savory note.

The Jura Harmonie is a blanc de blanc (100% Chardonnay) that will remind you how lovely this grape can be: subtle, satisfying, delicious, and affordable. A little glimpse of the French Alps to provide some relief from Maryland’s summer.

-Kasimir Bujak

Avinyó Petillant


Penedès, Spain

ABV: 10.5%

Brought to us by: De Maison Selections | Free Run Wine Merchants

Regular: $19.99 | TWS Sale: $15.99

It’s hard to beat the summer heat. Sometimes it’s better to keep things simple and go where the day takes you. So when the mid summer air becomes too thick to move through, take that as your call to sit down with something cold, crisp, and fresh. The Petillant Blanc from Avinyo is a truly delightful option for such a situation. As the weather has warmed these past few months, my picks have gotten lighter and flirtier, and this one doesn’t deviate. 


Petillant Blanc is a vi d’agulla, or a “prickly” wine from Catalonia, Spain. The light bubbles are retained from the wine making process and captured in the bottling, but the grapes contribute to the levity of the wine as well. The Esteve-Nadal family of Avinyo is located in Penedes and known for hand crafting cava. Macabeo and Xarel-lo are a couple of the grapes commonly used in making cava, so naturally a bit of those are used in the making of Petillant. The dominant grape, however, is Muscat which brings a playful attitude. The wine is aromatic with light flowers, white peach and citrus. The palate is crisp with notes of peach, lemon, grapefruit and minerality. The Petillant is also organically grown, vegan friendly, fermented with wild yeast, and is additionally available in easy to transport cans. I could hardly want for anything more to pair with a poolside lounge chair and friends for a blissful summer reprieve!

-Sheena Callage

Quinta da Raza Vinho Verde

2021 Rosé

Vinho Verde, Portugal

ABV: 11%

Brought to us by: Free Run Wine Merchants

Regular: $12.99 | TWS Sale: $9.99

Vinho Verde has evolved over time, but remains the reigning, defending champion of the wine world when it comes to fun, spritzy, low ABV bottles. Originally, Vinho Verde was harvested early and bottled so quickly that fermentation hadn’t quite completed. (this may be the origin of the name “green wine”…or that could be apocryphal and it’s actually because the vines are verdant and green. As with all things in wine, it all depends on whom you ask.) This rapid processing would cause the wine to have a small amount of trapped CO2, providing Vinho Verde its characteristic fizziness. Of course, these days the process is considerably less ad hoc and more streamlined - a still wine is produced and then injected with CO2, akin to how many modern beers are carbonated.

Vinho Verde is simple and easy. “But Andrew,” you query, “shouldn't wine be all about complexity?” To which I reply, “What?! I can’t hear you over how much fun I'm having splashing around in the pool with a plastic cup full of Raza! There should be more! Check the cooler.” Set and setting, my dears. Intentionally produced with care for uncomplicated enjoyment, a couple bottles of Raza and some flip flops could give you a whole new lease on life. A new Raza-n d’être, if you will...

Just one sip, and you’ll understand why Raza Vinho Verde rosé will be a smash hit at your next outdoor event; however, with a wine this juicy, crisp, and refreshing, you’ll be hard-pressed to stop at just one! Immensely fruity (cherry and ripe strawberry) and bold, yet balanced with zippy acidity and a pleasant prickle of effervescence. I’m not sure that a wine can be described as “jubilant”, but, if any can, it would be the Raza rosé. At a manageable 11% alcohol, you can have a few glasses by the pool or at the beach without wanting to collapse in the midday heat.

Pair with inflatable pool rafts and long weekends. 

-Andrew Sayers