Alcohol Free. Full Flavour.

Alcohol Free Wines From Torres
Full Flavour Maintained

Torres Natureo Free, Muscat 2013 (Spain), 0.5% abv, €7.99 widely available

Was thinking of designated drivers over Christmas and the New Year when I took an interest in this alcohol free “beverage” from Torres. Having tasted it, I think it could also have a lot of appeal on warm summer days and, at any time, would be a good base for a kir.

Should be acceptable also to some of the parents driving the family around at Christmas from one set of in-laws to another, maybe with an aunt or an uncle to be visited as well. And for the rest of us, with quite a lot of wine available over the next two weeks, a glass or two of Natureo, strategically placed between glasses of its full alcohol cousins, could well cut down the risk of a hangover!

Colour here is a very clean pale yellow and it has promising fresh floral aromas. Fresh and lively too on the palate, hints of sweetness but a terrific balancing acidity makes for quite a pleasant drop.  Torres suggest using it as an aperitif and also with fish and seafood and rice dishes. Oh yes, don't forget the kir.

Torres also sell a red version, a Syrah. In both cases, the wine may be kept in the fridge for five days after opening.

Virtually all alcohol is removed with only a trace 0.5% ABV remaining, meaning that you would have to drink three full bottles in under an hour in order to reach the limit of one standard drink!

Furthermore, the alcohol is removed by using an innovative spinning cone technique, which ensures no chemicals are used and the full flavour and antioxidant properties are maintained.

Sutter Homes Fre is another wine like the Torres and it is America’s #1 alcohol-removed wine brand. Chardonnay, Merlot and White Zinfandel are the three varieties. German company Carl Jung developed their own vacuum technique in 1908! Nowadays, they make three such wines, including a sparkling wine which could also come in very handy for the Christmas and New Year celebrations! All three companies sell these wines in Ireland and you may read a summary (including stockists) here.

Meanwhile, in California….
According to the Drinks Business website, ConeTech’s alcohol removal technology sees a portion of wine go through a spinning cone which separates all the volatile aromas compounds from the liquid, before removing the alcohol from the remaining odourless liquid. And, believe it or not, one in four bottles of Californian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have been through the industrial alcohol removal process supplied by ConeTech in the past year. The purpose and result of this process is to reduce the alcohol content from high to normal levels, not to reduce it to close to zero. Check it out here.

But will it stop at that. Unlikely! The same technology currently being used to remove alcohol from wine could be employed to take out green flavours, or add in beneficial characters from grape pomace. Read more.