WINE O’CLOCK: I get no kick out of you
Beers without alcohol used to run the gamut from A (for awful) to B (for bland) but some very good products are now being brewed that look and taste like the real thing.
Wicklow Wolf Moonlight and Dungarvan Main Sail are two no-alcohol craft beers I recently tried and enjoyed.
I have yet to hit upon a really good no-alcohol wine. To be honest, I haven’t tried very hard. However, in the line of duty, I have sipped a few and for those of you aiming for a dry January I would recommend
Torres Natureo Dealcoholised White
I find no-alcohol whites and rosés work much better than the reds which often turn out to be unpleasantly sweet and sticky. This one is made from Muscat grapes. It lacks the bite you might expect but is a pleasant, gentle wine, that will make a good aperitif or an accompaniment to fish or white meats. (Around €7.50 from O’Briens, La Touche of Greystones and Worldwide Wines, Waterford).
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Rosé.
Made in Germany from Pinto Noir grapes. Crisp and, for a rosé, quite dry. If I hadn’t seen the bottle I would not have guessed this was a no-alcohol wine. (Around €12 from independent traders).
In general, cutting down on the alcohol content will not save you much money. But Lidl have been selling non-alcoholic Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay at €2.99 a bottle. They won’t win any wine awards, but at that price, who could complain?
With all these wines the alcohol has been removed, usually by a filtering technique.
Low alcohol (not no alcohol) wines are made by the traditional method but with fermentation stopped at an early stage. This cuts the alcohol but increases the sugar content and produces wines that I usually find too sweet.
If drink-driving is your concern, check the label before you buy a low-alcohol wine. Some aren’t particularly low at all.