10 Keto Wines for When You’re Going Low-Carb
Hey, have you heard about the ketogenic diet? It’s the high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb eating plan that keeps bacon, cheese and dessert on the menu. Oh, and wine (in moderation, of course). Yep, it’s basically the diet of our dreams.
Wait, can I drink wine on keto?
Well, it depends. Many—but not all—wines are keto-friendly. It all comes down to how much residual sugar they contain. (After all, alcohol is made from sugar, and sugar is a carb.) Ideally, a keto wine will have zero residual sugar and less than 13.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
When it comes to finding a wine that fits within the keto diet, your safest bet is to err on the dry side. Wines with high residual sugar content will taste sweet, while dry wines (you know, the kind that make your mouth pucker) are relatively low-carb. But even wines marketed as dry can contain up to 30 grams per liter of residual sugar, so a true zero-sugar wine is hard to come by. And since the U.S. has no labeling requirements, it’s all about looking in the right place: Wines from France, Italy and Greece are usually drier, as is anything categorized as “bone dry.”
Here, 10 wines that are keto-diet approved.
Best Low-Carb White Wine Varieties
1. Sauvignon Blanc (2g net carbs)
Dry wines are the lowest in carbohydrates, and this refreshing white is one of the driest and crispest around (and with only approximately 2 grams of carbs per serving to boot). Classic sauv blancs will have notes of peach, pineapple and grass, which makes them ideal companions to delicate fish dishes and green veggies topped with fresh herbs.
Try it: 2020 Alma Libre Sauvignon Blanc
2. Champagne (2g net carbs)
Socializing and dieting don’t usually go together, but dry sparkling whites (like Champagne, Cava and prosecco) are exceptionally low-carb—just 2 grams per 5-ounce serving. Look for the words “Brut,” “Extra Brut” or “Brut Nature,” and you’ll be in the clear.
3. Pinot Grigio (3g net carbs)
This zesty white varietal has about 3 grams of carbs per five-ounce glass, and we love its bright acidity and flavors of lemon-lime, melon and wet stone. It pairs well with creamy sauces (which is totally allowed on the diet, by the way), seafood and a hot summer’s day.
Try it: 2019 Prismus Pinot Grigio
4. Dry Riesling (1g net carbs)
German Riesling has a reputation for being sweet, but most Riesling wines are actually quite dry. The key is to look for the word “Trocken” on the label, which will lead you to a crisp white with notes of lime, apricot and jasmine (and about 1 gram of carbs per serving). Another plus? This one is extremely food-friendly.
5. Chardonnay (2g net carbs)
While Chardonnay is less acidic and more creamy, it’s not technically a sweet wine. Serve it chilled with a salad, fish or cured meats to let the tasting notes of lemon, apple, butterscotch and honeysuckle really shine. As far as carb content, we’re talking approximately 2 grams per serving. (Just make sure it’s not a high-alcohol Chard.)
Try it: 2019 Pacificana Chardonnay
Best Low-Carb Red Wine Varieties
6. Merlot (2.5g net carbs)
Looking for something to pair with that grass-fed steak dinner? An elegant merlot with its notes of red fruit and medium body is an excellent choice…and has approximately 2.5 grams of carbs per serving. Impress dining companions by ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the wine’s soft-as-silk tannins (while inwardly feeling smug about sticking to your diet).
Try it: 2014 Quail Creek Merlot
7. Pinot Noir (2.3g net carbs)
Not sure whether to serve red or white? Try a pinot noir—its lightness will complement fish and salads, yet it’s complex enough to stand up to richer ingredients like mushrooms and duck. Tasting notes of berries, violet and cedar make this one a winner—for you and your diet (about 2.3 grams of carbs per serving).
8. Syrah (3.8g net carbs)
This wine’s red fruit notes of plum, fig and black cherry might taste slightly sweet, but don’t fret: It’s surprisingly low carb at just about 3.8 grams per serving. Since it has plenty of mineral notes to balance out the fruit, it pairs with everything from vegetables to grilled meats.
Try it: 2019 Wonderful Win Co. Syrah
9. Cabernet Sauvignon (2.6g net carbs)
Pair this full-bodied red with a burger (bunless, of course) or a cheese plate. It has tasting notes of allspice, bell pepper, black currant and dark cherry, plus lots of rich tannins that coat your tongue. Cab sauvs are on the dry side, clocking in at about 2.6 grams of carbs per serving.
10. Chianti (2.6g net carbs)
This Italian red is spicy and fruity, with notes of black cherry, strawberry and green pepper. It’s also a keto win at approximately 2.6 grams of carbs per serving. What to pair it with? We suggest a tomato-based pasta sauce (served on spaghetti squash, natch).
Try it: 2017 Felsina Chianti Classico
Wine Varieties to Avoid
Since alcohol equates to carbs, wines with a higher ABV will be naturally high in carbs. Look out for varieties such as zinfandel, grenache and Amarone, which all fall into the extra-boozy category.
Remember how we said European wines generally fall on the dry side? The opposite is true of American wines (think big California reds). While this isn’t always the case, it’s one way to weed out higher carb contents.
Other wines that won’t make the keto cut? Anything super sweet or in the dessert category. (That includes moscato, Asti Spumante, Port, Sauternes, sherry and the like.) These wines also have a high alcohol content (above 14 percent ABV) and often contain added sugar, so unfortunately, they’re not keto-approved. Stick to dry wines and you should be A-OK.
All nutrition information is approximated and provided by the USDA