Wine: What to drink when you’re not drinking
Many of us have occasions when we decide to cut down or take a break from alcohol. It can be for health reasons, having early deadlines to meet or that we are the designated driver. Much of our socialising is constructed around social drinking and while water and soft drinks are an alternative, some of us just like the taste of alcohol when out.
The practical definition of alcohol-free used by most countries is under 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The good news is how much easier it is to go alcohol-free, compared even with five years ago. The move to switching to alcohol-free or low in alcohol drinks for some of our choices is being firmly embraced and in fact, it is largely consumer driven. As a result, the quality and selection of options available now has made the choice easier and more appealing.
While alcohol free wines have been around for a while, the quality was not great. Removing alcohol while retaining flavour and texture is a challenge but new strategies for dealcoholizing wine allows the wine to keep more of its wine-like characteristics and help fill the textural hole where the alcohol was. The 'Eins Zwei Zero' alcohol free Riesling, Pinot Noir Rosé (both still and sparkling) and Cabernet Sauvignon from award-winning German winemaker Johannes Leitz, uses technology that allows the alcohol to be vacuum-distilled at low temperatures. It is one of the best ranges we have tasted, offering a new and exciting alternative for those occasions when you want to have an alcohol-free option but not compromise on taste and enjoyment.
Saving us from the anodyne offerings of yore, there are now also many really decent low and no alcohol beer alternatives available. This is thanks in no small part to our independent craft breweries coming up with some cracking beers that not only fit the alcohol-free bill but are great beers in their own right. A few favourites and indeed local ones at that, include Ireland’s first micro brewed alcohol free beer, Dungarvan Brewing Main Sail Pale Ale, Wicklow Wolf Low Alcohol Coffee Ale which comes in with an abv of just 1% and Metalman Brewing Super Session IPA Tiptango which offers a nice low abv alternative of 2.5%, perfect as a summer afternoon BBQ beer choice.
Cider is also a real alternative with Highbank Organic Orchards Driver Cider and Stonewell 0% Alcohol Cider make very popular choices. Using a process of reverse osmosis to remove the alcohol from a cider fermented in the usual way, these drinks provide really satisfying alternative to heavily sweetened soft drinks.
There is now a recognition and indeed and excitement from many in the drinks industry that there is an opportunity and a need for these products and for us as consumers, that can only be a good thing. Cheers!
Leitz, Eins-Zwei-Zero Riesling 0% ABV. 70cl: Crisply refreshing and fresh with notes of lime and citrus, hints of red apples on an underlying mineral foundation. The finish is dry and relatively long and manages to retain the varietal Riesling character. A great match for Asian food.
Dungarvan Main Sail 0.4% ABV. 500ml: Plenty of hops give a lively, refreshing citrus and herbal flavour to this light bodied pale ale.
Metalman Tiptango 2.5% ABV. 330ml: a new super session IPA, bursting with citrus and tropical flavours at a lovely light 2.5% ABV.
Highbank Orchard Drivers Cider 0% ABV. 330ml – €2.95: Organic, with no added sugar or sulphites. Gluten free.
Leitz Cabernet Sauvignon Alcohol Free Wine 750ml
The Leitz zero alcohol cabernet sauvignon offers hints of ripe cassis and berry flavours as well as dark cherry flavour and aromas of black cherries, blueberries and chocolate with soft tannins and a dry finish. Research has proven the antioxidant and cholesterol fighting effects of drinking red wine, and the Leitz cabernet sauvignon offers these with the added benefit of zero alcohol.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Riesling 750ml Alcohol Free
Leitz NV Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Riesling (non-alcoholic)
This is made like the still expression, but the CO2 in the sparkling version really balances the 45 grams/L residual and makes it appear drier than it it is. Because of that, it's even more wine-like: lemon, spice and everything nice! This alcohol-free bubbly is perfect for the holidays, or any day really.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling Alcohol Free 750ml
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Alcohol Free
Clean and fresh with notes of lime and citrus; surprisingly rhubarb and a little hint of red apples on an underlying mineral foundation. The finish is dry and relatively long.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Rosé Alcohol Free 750ml
All three different grape varieties are used to give the wine a nice complexity: Merlot, Portuguese and Pinot Noir.
The taste of the rose and raspberry is relatively prominent and makes the wine delightfully fresh - perfect for aperitif, welcome drink or for relaxatio
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Rosé 750ml Alcohol Free
Alcohol FREE Sparkling Rosé
Rose pink coloured with aromas of strawberry, watermelon and raspberries. Tastes crisp and fruity. Enjoy alcohol free!
Highbank Orchards Organic Drivers Cider Non-Alcoholic 330ml
Made from Organic Cider apples from Highbank farm, Drivers Cider is a refreshing non-alcoholic drink for the driver with no added sugar or chemicals.