I love wine. In particular I really enjoy wine with my food – probably something that stems back to a childhood of summers spent with a French family. And, I try my best to keep within the government guidelines for drinking. But, I’m trying to loose weight and to stay healthy!
Eisberg wine is something that, at least in the summer, I’ve kept in the house as a good way to enjoy wine without the health risks. I particularly like the reisling, well chilled…and I’m very happy making a spritzer with the Chardonnay and pretending that it’s the real thing. No, it doesn’t taste quite the same, but it is pretty close. However, in winter and when I am eating red meats, I’d rather drink red wines. So, when I was offered a bottle of Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon to test I was more than happy to have a go. Not only does it contain a negligible amount of alcohol (0.05%) but it is also only around 35 calories a glass, about a third of a regular glass of red!
Now, in an effort to provide a realistic comparison I looked around in my local supermarkets for alcohol free and low alcohol wines. I have, in the past, really quite enjoyed Arniston Bay Lighthouse. It’s still 11%, but that’s at least 2% lower than any other red I have (the New World reds are often 14-14.5%). But that’s about the best I’ve managed. And, I’ve never seen it on the shelves in the supermarket, so I’ve only ordered it when I have been shopping online. I’ve also had a low alcohol blossom hill rose (7%) which was, for me, pretty well indistinguishable from the real thing. But, there’s nothing in the shops at the moment
I found a bottle of Ariel Merlot in a local wine merchant. Another alcohol free wine, although one that is about twice the price of Eisberg. So, I decided to test the two side by side.
The truth is probably in the drinking. Most of the Eisberg has gone, while there’s still ¾ of the bottle of Ariel left. Neither were really quite there in terms of taste…the Eisberg had a bit of a mustiness, which although not unpleasant was almost like a substitute for ‘real wine nose’. The ariel just tasted slightly of petrol to me. Not nice. I chilled it and it is marginally better that way, but not something I’d spend £7 a bottle on again.
In summary, I’d buy the Eisberg if I was really trying to cut out alcohol for a month or so. But, the whites and rose are really much closer to ‘the real thing’ so, for me at least a better option is to stick to those. I don’t recommend the Ariel at all. And I really wish that there was more availability in the supermarket of low and zero alcohol wines, because there are times when they work very well and have health benefits which outweigh the lack of alcohol. At the time of writing my local waitrose, in Fulham, has NO low alcohol/zero alcohol wines in stock, nor does the Co-Op and the independent wine merchant had just one.
So, if you want to buy, your best option is probably to use an online retailer like www.slurp.co.uk