In the spirit of trying out alternatives to that nightly glass of wine, I went in search of dealcoholised or non alcoholic wines at my local Fred Meyer. There were two that I had heard of and researched online - Fre and Ariel.
Both stated on the label that they were under 0.5% alcohol, which was encouraging, and I couldn't wait to get home to open them up and be dazzled. I tried the Fre wine first, since it was cheaper (about $6) and I knew less about it than Ariel.
Here's the description of Fre 2012 Red Blend on their website:
"Fre Red Blend offers a deep ruby color and ripe, black cherry scented aromas. Smooth and rich, it offers plenty of bright, grape, and cherry fruit with an intriguing smoky flavor. Fre Red Blend ends with a long, fruity, lingering finish. This alcohol removed wine is delightful on its own or paired with salmon, turkey, chicken and ham dishes, as well as pasta, pizza, and grilled meats."
Color wise they were spot on, but unfortunately that's where the similarities ended. There was no long lingering finish, just a rather awkward bitter aftertaste, and the first mouthful was insipid, although there was a hint of cherry. I cut my losses and went on to the bottle of Ariel, which was 50% more expensive at $9. My hopes were high.
Sadly those hopes were dashed when I poured my first (and last) glass of Ariel. It was surprisingly similar to the Fre Red Blend, not pleasant to drink, watery, pruney, some cherry and a bitter finish.
Ariel's website describes this Cabernet Sauvignon wine as:
"Offering aromas of black currants, cherry, blueberries and chocolate, with soft tannins and a dry finish."
But it didn't cut it for me. Turns out that alcohol in the wine is kind of an essential ingredient to making a wine that you would want to drink. I'm sorry Fre and Ariel - I really wanted to like you, but you were just not anywhere close to being a good alternative. I'll stick to coconut water on my wine nights off.