Jonathan Ray's guide to the best non-alcoholic wines - Spear's Magazine

Jonathan Ray’s guide to the best non-alcoholic wines

Jonathan Ray’s guide to the best non-alcoholic wines

For those who want a tipple without the ripple, there are more non-alcoholic wines than ever out there to try

I drink too much, you drink too much, we all drink too much. Come on, you know you do!

As a wine lover, it’s virtually impossible to stick to the UK government’s suggested limit of 14 units of alcohol per week, a 175ml glass of 12%vol wine being 2.1 units and a 250ml glass of same being three units. That’s barely a bottle and a half of wine a week, for heaven’s sake.

And when did you last see a wine that was just 12%vol? They’re nearly all 13.5-14%vol these days.

Oh, to live in Spain, where the recommended maximum is 36 units, or – even better – Fiji, where the limit is a much more achievable 52.

But as a friend pointed out, this is a suggested limit, not a target. Then again, he thought the UK’s 14 units was a daily recommendation rather than a weekly one.

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non-alcoholic wines
The UK government suggests limiting alcohol to 14 units per week. Image: Shutterstock

Despite the arbitrary medical advice, it’s clear that apart from old soaks like us, consumption of alcohol is falling.

Recent research by the Office for National Statistics revealed that drinking rates among young British adults have plunged to their lowest level in two decades, with more than a quarter of people aged 16-24 not drinking at all.

Whether this has been helped – or caused – by the prevalence of low or no-alcohol beers, spirits and wines is unclear. It’s that chicken and egg thing. There’s no doubt, though, that there’s a lot of them about.

To be honest, I’d rather simply have fizzy water or apple juice. But peer pressure is a terrible thing and I know I would drink far less alcohol if folk didn’t base their own enjoyment of an evening on how much I knocked back.

As a result, I’ve discovered that to get them off my case it pays to have something that looks like wine even if it doesn’t taste like it.

I always go on the wagon in January, just to prove to Mrs Ray that I can, and last year I managed to sit through an entire Burns Night clutching a bottle of Torres Natureo De-Alcoholised Muscat close to me. I waved away the proffered whisky and said I was going to stick to wine, thanks. It looked like proper wine and nobody present twigged that it was 0%vol. It’s actually really drinkable.

But not as drinkable as the bottle I enjoyed on 1 February…

Three of the best alcohol-free wines

Natureo non-alcoholic wineTorres Natureo De-Alcoholised Muscat

This is the first alcohol-free wine I ever encountered and still the best.

Made by the fabled Torres family in Spain from 100 per cent Muscat, it starts life as bona fi de vino and then, thanks to some whizz-bang technology, has the alcohol removed with little or no loss of flavour.

Full of that ‘grapey’ Muscat character, a lively acidity compensates for the lack of alcohol and it is, without doubt, extremely drinkable.

(£6; Sainsbury’s)

So Jennie Paris

so jennie non-alcoholic wineHaving worked for leading airlines and in event management in the Middle East, Jennie Kergoat-Ruelland spotted clients’ need for fancy, blingy, alcohol-free fizz and came up with this.

Produced from concentrated grape juice, it has no alcohol, sulphites, additives, preservatives or added sugar.

An engaging pale pink with a frothy mousse, it looks great and is clean, crisp and refreshing. It’s jolly pricey for what it is, but definitely does the job.

(£29.95; Tanners)

2021 Wild Idol Alcohol Free Sparkling White

Wild Idol White non-alcoholic wineAnother eye-wateringly pricey alternative to pukka vino.

I’m really not clear why it should be so expensive given that there’s no alcohol in it to be taxed.

It’s exactly the same price as Taittinger Brut NV, and I know which I’d prefer.

But it looks chic and is tasty in its way – refreshing, clean and lively – produced in Germany with water (mainly), Müller-Thurgau grape juice and wine vinegar.

(£34.99; Selfridges)

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