Lately I have been thinking much about alcohol free products. Not so much by choice but due to the fact that I'm pregnant. And one very interesting thing has struck me... Alcoholic free beer is rather nice, alcohol free wine is not.
When de-alcoholized beer tastes very much like beer, but just a little less, de-alcoholized wine tastes like corido, sour wine or in the best of worlds (I guess) just sweet. Totally impossible to match with food! So when Andréas cooks those wonderful meals I'm left with water or beer as a choice.
Why is this, that wine and beer taste so different when the alcohol is removed? Well since I work with both wine and beer I have come to one conclusion.
The production is the key!
I don't know if you know, but to get rid of the alcohol you normally have to heat the product, since the alcohol boils and evaporate before the liquid does, around 78 degrees Celsius. So it is quite easy to get rid of alcohol that way. The problem is that boiled wine changes its taste, you know glüwine... and it starts to get that "cooked" taste. Wine does not through the entire natural production go through any "cooking fase", and this is the big difference with wine and beer, because beer does.
To get beer you have to cook the wort to get sugars to ferment, so beer is already "used to" being heated, and therefore it does not change its taste in the same way wine does. Of course it will taste less because alcohol is a flavor enhancer, but the basic tastes stays the same. This is the big difference! (I think...)
It is worth to mention that there is two other ways of getting rid of the alcohol, by vacuum distillation and by passing the liquid through a semi-parable membrane. But it is only the latter that does not need any heating at all, and this technique is very expensive and as I understand it rare.
Then we have the other problem with the alcohol being a flavor enhancer... Here the beer producers don't do much about it since they get a good product anyways, while many wine producers ad sugar. And voila! We get the sweet de-alcoholized wines which I seriously don't have much use of. Then I honestly prefer water.
Freixenet has come with two new alcohol free sparklings lately that has also reached us here in the north. Legro they are called, and they are ok. Not too sweet and rather refreshing. Not anything like "food cava", but definitely fun to drink instead of water every now and then. So if you are looking for alcohol free sparklings these are the best I have found so far.
But lets be honest. Wine is supposed to have alcohol in it, it is a natural byproduct of the fermentation...
The blanc is made from Muscat and the rosé muscat and grenach.