Sutter Home's Fre White Zinfandel

Well, this is it! My first dealcholized wine!

My Experience:

I was in Sprouts looking around with my wife. She knew I'd been on this wine alternative stint for a while, reading everything I could find online about the subject. It was much easier for us to look at the pomegranate, cherry, and black currant juces. I wandered through the wine section, confused and wondering how in the world I would find any dealcoholized wine in what looked like a sea of identical bottles to me. There is a part of our brains that activates when we see faces, helping tell apart very similar details. This part of the brain changes in people who study cars, and activates when they see a car, helping them tell the difference between a '71 and '72. I wonder if that part of the brain will someday help me as I wander through this sea of seemingly identical bottles.

I was hoping to avoid this, but I was determined to leave with something besides apple juice in hand. So I asked the most awkward question. "Do you have any non-alcoholic wine?" "You mean Fre?" he said. Well, I just figured out which one-and-only brand they carry. I picked the White Zinfandel quickly. I'd read it's a good starter wine, not too dry (some might call dry the opposite of sweet).

We got home and I threw a frozen Bertolli's (roasted chicken) in a skillet and got out some stemware that had only until then seen water and Welch's.

I poured some in, gave it a swirl and a sniff. Wow! Cherries, apples, flowers! So fruity, it took me by surprise.

I knew to expect something much less sweet than I was used to, but I was not prepared for the bubbly tingle I felt on the fist sip. I almost spit it out! The bubbly sensation reminded me of some kimchee I'd once had! That makes it sound much worse than it was, I was just surprised. I thought only sparkling, bubbly wines like champagne were carbonated. This wasn't bubbly like soda, it just had a touch of unexpected sparkle.

So, I braced myself, took another sip, and was ready for the tingles this time. Having already had a taste, it didn't have as strong of a bite, but still had one. It slightly smoothed out as I sipped slowly, but it was a little tart. As I ate and drank, the acid helped cut through the food and cleanse the palate. I wish I could say how dry it was compared to other wine alternatives, but it was drier than anything I've had before.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Sure? I'm including this section more for the things like varietal juices and such. I think dealcoholized wines are a given.

Did I Like it: Well, my opinion might change, but with the right food pairing I think it worked. I stopped up the bottle and stored it in the fridge. The next day I pulled it out before dinner with enough time for it to warm up, but not to room temperature. I liked it better chilled somewhat, as the tart bite was a bit less, and the acid was a bit more forgiving. Lesson of the day: serve your drinks at the right temperature! Read my next review for some more thoughts. Lets give it a 6.

Would I Recommend it: It's my first try! Read my next review.
[EDIT] after having tried a lot more stuff, I would recommend giving this one a try. Though I liked the Ariel White Zinfandel better, this has a lot to offer and might appeal more to those used to normal wine.

Who Might Like it: It is not sweet, compared to juices. Get that out of your mind, and pair with a light meal like chicken or pasta with a white sauce, and it might work for you. It's tart so that might put some off.

Hey, this is getting exciting!

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