I like the taste of wine and the sensation the alcohol creates in the mouth, but I have no interest in the mental effects or the cancer risk. (I've never drunk enough at one time to become even so much as buzzed, so the "warm feeling" people describe is just academic for me.) My question is what non-alcoholic drinks, if any, come close to simulating wine as far as just the taste and the burn in the mouth? Is there anything better than sparkling juice?
There is a number of alcohol reduced wines in the market. I avoid saying "alcohol-free" because there is no "alcohol-free wine". Most still have less than 0.5 percent of alcohol.
First of all: The production of alcohol reduced wine starts in the same way as any other wine as well with fermentation and production of alcohol. But wine without alcohol will never have the same taste as normal wine.
As production will always start with wine containing alcohol, it must be reduced or eliminated afterwards. However the process of alcohol extraction has a significant influence to the taste.
Warm Distillation destroys a lot of taste components (flavours). So it is the worst method.
Cold distillation in change is considered to be the best method, because it uses vacuum and alcohol evaporates around 27°C (80 °F), while other flavours retain in the liquid.
Using a specific membrane is a process like reverse osmosis, separating here the alcohol.
Thin film evaporation is a warm technology which also eliminates flavours.
All processes have an influence to the taste, while cold distillation is considered to have the lowest impact to other components and flavours. Almost all producers intend to compensate these effects by adding flavours, but finally, as long as there are no other methods developed to create "alcohol-free wine" an alcohol reduced wine will never have the same taste.
Let us start by defining what non-alcoholic wine is.
What is non-alcoholic wine?
It's pretty much what it says on the can, (or the bottle in this case). It’s wine with the alcohol removed. However, some of the beverages can still contain some alcohol, because let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to extract every single bit. Under the law, in order to be called ‘non-alcoholic’, a beverage can contain up to half a per cent of alcohol by volume. It can be a bit confusing, so here’s a quick guide to non-alcoholic wines and their labels in the UK:
- Non-alcoholic: contains no alcohol at all (0.0%)
- Alcohol-free: contains 0.05% alcohol or less
- De-alcoholized: contains 0.5% alcohol or less
- Low-alcohol: contains more than 0.5% but no more than 1.2%
Here are some recommendations:
BEST MULLED WINE: