I like normal wine produced in the age-old way with a typical taste for the region on the label. When I pick up a glass of Rioja I expect it to taste like Rioja, similarly when drinking a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I look forward to that familiar zesty tang. Recently in Saturday Kitchen presenter Helen McGinn poured a bottle of rosé wine called Belle & Co which contained no alcohol. She mentioned pointedly that the wine got its striking pink colour from organic carrots. Belle & Co sparkling rosé is produced by a German company, under the auspices of North South Wines. It originates from grape juice so officially it can be called wine. If their de-alcoholization process while working to lower %abv strips out part of the colour, which then has to be replaced before sale, what other organic compounds does it remove? What products of fermentation are missing apart from alcohol! To my way of thinking alcohol provides a role in the overall structure of wine. It alters the solubility of more complex compounds of fermentation, builds structure and aids digestion. Removing alcohol changes the physicochemical properties of the wine and thus changes the structure. Has any producer made an alcohol-free wine that matches the quality of real wine? I would be interested to know.
Clear Wine Co. Founder, shares his latest wine-based musings and expertise to get your taste buds tingling.