Carl Jung Rosé Wine

My Experience:

After a hiatus, I'm back! I've got 5 new posts to write soon, plus several more drinks I'm excited to share with everyone!

First up is the beginning of the Carl Jung series, first with their dealcoholized Rosé Wine. My wife got the following bottles for me, and I'll go through my experience with each one!


I popped off the screw top, and was immediately met with a scent that easily betrayed the fermentation process this drink had been through. It was just a touch fruity, in both scent and taste. On the nose I thought of boysenberries, but on the tongue I changed my mind to raspberries. With a touch of a tingle on the tongue, it was much like the first (Ariel) White Zinfandel we had.

This one threw me a bit of a loop, though. The fermentation taste is strong, and it's only very slightly fruity. It's not sweet like a juice, but a touch sweet for a wine. It has a tang to it like a very ripe citrus fruit, a bit a of bitter finish, and is Medium bodied. Over all, quite mild. The pork we ate with it was a little sweet of a pairing with it, though it contrasted nicely with the not-very-sweet-for-a-strawberry strawberry. It was good with the olives, and sage infused cheese, and it was also great after a short bite of lemon, so I'd try pairing it with acidic, tangy dishes like lemon chicken, though it could contrast really well with a creamy dish also.

My wife says the color is a rosy mauve. It's not super clear, but definitely leans towards transparent. I can taste the tannins, very lightly. Short legs, and mild on the acid front.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, though I think I prefer Ariel's White Zinfandel for a similar, but sweeter experience.

Did I Like it: Yes, but I didn't love it. I'm torn between a 6 and 7.

Would I Recommend it: Try something easier to find first, but if you've found a dealcoholized wine you like, give this a try.

Who Might Like it: If you are looking for something very subtle, this might be a good choice.

Draper Valley Vineyard Early Muscat

My Experience:

My wife got this (and a Gewerztraminer
) from Draper Valley Vineyards for fathers day. We are finally getting to them! We had it with minestrone.

It's a light golden color, not quite as translucent as some of the Chardonnay we've had. It has medium legs, not holding on long but fairly weighty. It has a tangy, floral scent that is very pleasing that reminded me of Citrus blossoms.

The taste is floral also, and from the scent I was expecting a strong, sour taste but it's milder, not weak, but still with a unique identifiable taste. I also didn't catch the citrus I was expecting, nor the acid. It is heavy bodied, bordering on thick, but
doesn't leave a strong syrupy residue in your mouth the way cheap white grape juice from concentrate does. It does have a very long finish, however.

I found it went well with the Minestrone, it was just strong enough to balance well with it. However, the long finish made me want another bite of Minestrone every time, which is why I'd say it's not a great pallet cleanser.

Works as a Wine Alternative: I think so.

Did I Like it: 8 out if 10

Would I Recommend it: Yes

Who Might Like it: I think this is a pretty straightforward entry into gourmet juices.

Chefs and Non-alcholic Pairings

I just found this great NYTimes article about how some high-end chefs are mixing it up by pairing beverages other than wine with their tasting menus.

Kristian Regále Sparkling Lingonberry

My Experience:

Same great carbonation as always from kristian regale. Red raspberry color, but almost with a touch of orange, and smells very different from any other juice I've had, must be the lingonberry, and I can get just a touch of the apple, a bit of a tart smell. A bit of a musky, dusty rose scent. It's a bit more strongly carbonated on the tongue, the fizz completely evaporates. Only a hit of the apple gets through the very powerful lingonberry. As typical, it's not as sweet as most juices, but also has a slightly bitter finish, and medium acidity. It had some noticeable dregs at the end.

As for paring I'd drink it with something that you'd normally have with a fruity drink, maybe mexican food like fajitas or burritos.

Works as a Wine Alternative: I think with the right paring, yeah.

Did I Like it: Not as much as Kristian Regále's Pomegranate offering, but it's still a unique drink worth trying. 6/10

Would I Recommend it: Yep!

Who Might Like it: In terms of acidity, its a lot like raspberry juice, though the taste itself is different.

Kristian Regále Sparkling Pear

My Experience:

This will be short one, as most of Kristian Regále stuff is (delightfully!) similar.

After finding a hidden cache of Kristian Regále we've been pounding through them, and I actually went back get another set!

My wife made "My Dream Greek Pasta" (which was quite yummy) when we decided to try this. The color is similar to a light apple juice or some of the more translucent Chardonnays we've tried, with small bubbles just slowly trickling up. I noted both pear and apple on the nose.

My first impression was positive. The pear taste is not as strong as the RW Knudsen's sparkling pear, and the carbonation is on par with the other Kristian Regále drinks I've tried, though it's a bit more mild than the Pomegranate, and much more mild than the Lingonberry. It's light bodied and the citrus acid gives it just a tiny acidic kick. Comparing only the taste, and not the carbonation, it's terribly dissimilar from Martinelli's.

The mild, yet pleasant taste makes this easy to pair with. It'd go with many, many different foods, though especially with cold, light foods, like salads, pitas and hummus, or cheeses.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes

Did I Like it: Yes, 7 out of 10. It will be a regular (or table drink) in our house now.

Would I Recommend it: Yes, same as all the Kristian Regále stuff.

Who Might Like it: If you like to try new Sodas, you'd like to try this. It's light and refreshing, it's not overwhelming, and it's easy to pair with, all of which makes it a great introduction to something beyond your typical lunch-time juice.

Lorina French Berry Soda

My Experience:

While on a family trip to Hawaii (I know, I'm very lucky. :) we went to the grocery store to buy food for the week. I ran across several things at the local Safeway that I didn't expect to find. One of them is this French Berry Soda.

The first thing I noticed was the bottle. It had the same type of as the Effervé, with a rubber stopper permanently latched onto the top, which you can use to reseal the bottle. Genius, I love it! I actually kept the bottle of the Effervé so I can use it again in the future!

This not-quite-pink not-really-red drink smells like other Strawberry sodas I've had. It's finely carbonated, and the first thing that hit my tongue besides the (mostly straw) berry-ness was lemon, which gave it a good touch of acidity. There is the very very faintest woodenness to the taste. It's a very light drink for a soda.

It cut through some sweet foods we had quite well. Pairs well with strong foods, or anyting you'd normally eat with any kind of berry, like salads for example. It is very sweet like a soda, but more nuanced than most. It's crisp, clean, and I can see myself sipping this to cool off. The carbonation, though fine and producing small bubbles, is still strong.

6.5 out of 10

Works as a Wine Alternative: I'd say it works as a culinary beverage, but it's not wine-like at all.

Did I Like it: Yes! Definitely another "Table Drink"

Would I Recommend it: Only as a fancy soda, but as such, yes.

Who Might Like it: Soda lovers unite!

Safeway Select Sparkling Apple Pomegranate

My Experience:

We were on a family vacation in Hawaii and stopped by Safeway to get some food for the week. I found this drink, along with a bottle of Lorina French Berry Soda to try.

This would be a direct competitor to Kristian Regále's Sparkling Pomegranate Apple beverage. Let's see how it fares.

It has a dark red, plum color, and not a very strong smell. It doesn't have the steadily streaming bubbles I'm used to from Kristian Regále, and it does have a bit of a head. A very fine carbonation, and is very drinkable on its own. I can't taste anything other than Pomegranate and Apple, though that's not a bad thing. It was a good pairing with your average pizza, (though it didn't pair well with the peanut Thai pizza we tried) and it has just a touch of acid from some citrus extract.

Works as a wine Alternative: This one is very approachable, and still very much a juice, though one I wouldn't mind having often in the house.

Did I like it: I thought it was good, though not spectacular. 6 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: In terms of trying to find wine alternatives, no I wouldn't really recommend this as a must try, but I like it enough to get more should I ever swing by Safeway again.

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Organic Apple

My Experience:

You know, whenever I see a set of something I'm interested in, I get excited. I love sets. So, every time I see R.W. Knudsen's sparkling juices I want to buy them all. This one changed that, at least a little...

It has very little carbonation, as with most of R.W. Knudsen's stuff, and in the glass it looks exactly like normal apple juice. Smells like apple juice, though it's not a very strong scent. It tastes just a little tart, pretty much exactly like you'd expect if you took apple juice and carbonated it. Much much milder than Martinelli's Sparkling Cider.

Works as a wine Alternative: Not really.

Did I like it: It's ok. A 5 or 6 out of 10. It's just very plain jane, expected, and done.

Would I Recommend it: If you love apple juice or drink it semi-regularly, give this a shot to change it up a little.

Who Might Like it: Maybe anyone who likes apple juice...

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Strawberry

My Experience:

Strawberry! Who doesn't love strawberry drinks? Like strawberry lemonade. Or strawberry rhubarb lemonade? Or... R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Strawberry!

It's pretty transparent for a red juice, more a rouge color, and it has medium sized bubbles continuously moving to the top. The carbonation is relatively light. Smells of strawberries, and a hint of something else, maybe grape or apple. It's not that sweet, for a juice. It is not tart, like strawberry stuff often is. The taste definitely hints at the pineapple that is also in this, like in the cherry. It's mellow and easy going, and would probably drink well with lots of light or medium foods. My wife, who is also a strawberry lover in general, loves this. We had it with plain ol' spaghetti, which was a bit heavy for this drink, but otherwise an ok pairing. Canned spaghetti sauce tends to be very sweet, which helped this Strawberry drink because its sweetness didn't overwhelm some of the other flavors, like it might have, if we had this with something more savory like a roast or anything with gravy.

Works as a wine Alternative: Not really. You can drink it with anything, and it'd be ok, but I don't think it would pair particularly well, in terms of giving contrast or complementing a food, with anything.

Did I like it: I think it makes a wonderful cooler, I'd love to sip it with a straw out on the patio, but it doesn't really make for a great pairing with lots of foods. My wife disagrees. We will have to try it again soon for a second take. 7 out of 10.

Would I Recomend it: Not as an alternative, yes as a drink.

Who Might Like it: Juice lovers.

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Cherry

My Experience:

First off, its scent is very dark, very much like black (as opposed to normal) cherries. It's not as sparkling as Martinelli's (I'm learning that nothing is) and the carbonation was quite coarse. The acidity is higher than most sparkling juices I've tried, and the flavor is very strong. Of cherry, that is, though the plum juice that's also in the drink shows through a little. The acidity probably comes from the pineapple juice that's also in this blend. It's very sweet, though not as sweet as Martinelli's, similar to R.W.'s offering in pear but somewhat more tart, due to the cherries I'm assuming.

It's got a nip of sour in the finish. It could make a good every-day drink, (which I'm calling a Table Drink, as in a Table Wine.)

It reminds me a lot of the cherry kirsebærsauce sauce that goes with Ris a la mande.

This would be great for a cherry float with vanilla ice cream!

Works as a wine Alternative: Sure.

Did I like it: Yes, though nothing spectacular, 6 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: Just like the Kristian Regále stuff, I've enjoyed trying all of these and comparing them. (Though these haven't been as good as the Kristian Regále stuff.)

Who Might Like it: You know, with all of these sparkling juices it's pretty straight forward. I'd recommend them to anyone who likes the fruit they are based on, or thinks they could find a good pairing.

Kristian Regále Sparkling Apple Juice

My Experience:

Here is the next in a series of Kristian Regále, look to the sidebar on the right to find the others.

Almost clear, it just has the tiniest yellow tint to it, lots of tiny bubbles adhere to the sides of the glass, and there is no foam on top. Pretty strong carbonation. It's definitely got a green apple taste to it, and is ever so slightly bitter due to the carbonation. I think it's sweeter than the peach, but it has a tangy, sour taste also. It's good, a little more acidic than most juices, just like all the other Kirstian Regále's we've tried. We had it with tilapia & pesto. It's actually a lot like a Green Apple Jolly Rancher, but not as sweet.

Works as a wine Alternative: It paired very well with the food, which is always a good sign, and I think it pairs well with lots of lighter meals.

Did I like it: Yes, 7 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: Yes, and try it with a variety foods.

Who Might Like it: If you like sparkling ciders, this is a refreshing change.

Ikea & an Old Favorite

A while back we tried out something by Kristian Regále, Sparkling Pomegranate-Apple and I loved it. We actually found it at Walmart, and we recently went back to get more, but when we went down the juice aisle, there was a huge empty section where the Pomegranate had been, with only the plain ol' apple, as well as peach. While those were good, the Pomegranate had a particularly unique flavor. I hoped they were just out of stock, but now it's been a couple of months since I've seen it there. I gave up hope of finding a local source for the stuff.

Skip ahead a few weeks. We were buying one of our little ones a new mattress at Ikea, and after we checked out we found three huge stacks of bottles. Low and behold, they were all Kristian Regále! They had Pomegranate, Peach, Pear and, of course, Lingonberry. I bought one of each, expect new posts soon!

P.S. I think we'll be going back again soon, I'll make sure to snap a picture next time.

Kristian Regále Sparkling Peach Juice

My Experience:

It's very translucent, with just a light golden color. It smells like you'd expect a peach to smell, but the taste hints of a white grape juice, though it has no grape in it and tastes more peachy over time, especially as it warms up. It's tingly on the tongue, but doesn't foam up. It's slightly drier than your average juice, with a hint of bitterness, probably from the carbonation.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, a sweet one. I think it would work well with an alfredo, and it'd cut through the sauce. Pair it with things that are very light.

Did I Like it: Yes, though not as much as their offering in Pomegranate-Apple, a 6 out of 10. My wife doesn't like it so much.

Would I Recommend it: Yes, I've had a ton of fun trying out all the Kristian Regále stuff.

Who Might Like it: Most anyone who likes peaches?

[Update: I've tried this again since, and I think I appreciate it even more with the right pairing.]

Effervé Sparkling Pink Lemonade

My Experience:

For our anniversary we went to Fresh & Easy and picked up a random assortment of yummy looking foods and had a meal out in the backyard. As a gift my wife got me the rest of the R.W. Knudsen Sparkling Juices I hadn't tried yet (see side bar for the round-up) but we also found this Effervé Sparkling Pink Lemonade ("Pétillante Limonade Rose" or somethin'.) They also had a non-pink version, but we went with the pink version. (What's Pink Lemonade anyway? Is it made from pink lemons? No.)

The color is light pink, looks like a traditional pink lemonade but with no pulp. Lightly carbonated, it's best served a bit colder than we had it (we only had time for a quick chill). It's quite dry for a juice, just a little sweet, and just a little tangy, and is a touch more sour during the finish. It's alright as a palate cleanser but doesn't quite leave me with the clean feeling a good one does. It's very acidic. We had it with some very acidic lemon hummus salad dressing, and the dressing made the lemonade taste sweet, so I'm glad the lemonade wasn't sweeter or it would have been overwhelming with our salad.

Looking at the ingredients, there is technically no juice, just citric acid and other ingredients, though all natural.

It doesn't really taste like lemonade. There is a hint of bitterness, but just a tiny touch, possibly from whatever sparkling water they used. Smells more lemony than it tastes. My wife likes it a lot.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, in terms of being a culinary beverage.

Did I Like it: Yes! 8 out of 10!

Would I Recommend it: Yes, everyone knows what things to serve lemonade with, so pairing is easy, and it's not a huge departure from what you might expect, so it's very approachable.

Who Might Like it: Most anyone, even some people who don't like lemonade, as while it's more acidic, the sourness and sweetness are both less intense then a normal lemonade.

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Cranberry

My Experience:

A while back we had R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Organic Pear Juice, and loved it! So we decided to try the rest of their juices, with high hopes.

The photo makes it look darker than it is, and it has very few, very small bubbles. It's not as tart as I thought a cranberry drink would be, and it's less sweet than the pear drink. It's lighter than most cranberry drinks I've had also. I enjoy it, but think it needs a great pairing to shine. On the negative, it's almost watery, and just a bit sweet and bit tart, overall pretty mellow for a sparkling drink. I want to try it with something light but savory and/or beefy. It's not very fizzy and surprisingly flat, and I wish it were a bit more acidic.

The last glass of the bottle was completely full of big fat red specks. The sediment was a huge downer.

I liked the taste, but with the low carbonation and high sediment content, I'm wondering if I got a bad bottle, which is not a good thing to wonder about.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, though needs to be paired well.

Did I Like it: Yes, with some huge reservations, like the sediment. 4 out of 10, would have been a 6 without the sediment.

Would I Recommend it: Try a different flavor first, the pear is awesome.

Who Might Like it: It's not just for cranberry lovers, which is good in my mind.

Sparkling Water Round Up

After trying the Ariel Brut, I couldn't help but think "I wonder if I could simply use sparkling water to mimic this taste." So, I bought a bunch of sparkling waters to test the theory!

Big K Lemon Lime
Tastes like bitter sugarless 7-Up. Big bubbles, soda-like texture.

Perrier Lime
Much less fizzy, smaller bubbles, smoother to drink, not as harsh on the tongue, not as bitter and a little more lemony.

S. Pellegrino
Not as bitter as the first two. Much more watery, i.e. very lightly carbonated, and tiny tiny bubles. I prefer the taste and feel of this one.

The Perrier is ok on its own, but if you want to add sparkle to a drink, I'd grab the most strongly carbonated club soda you can find, because the other two are simply too weak to combine with something else and not simply water it down.

I thought the lime / lemon taste would be good with mexican food but it's not. Neither my wife nor I really like any of these.

When I tried the Ariel Brut, it had me wondering just how close it was to just a glass of sparkling water, and I can confidently say it's very, very different. These sparkling waters, flavored or not, are not substitutes for the complexities, taste, and craft of the Bruts.

Fre Brut

My Experience:

I recently tried Ariel Brut Cuvée (Italics makes any food or drink look better) and found a dealcoholized wine I actually liked! It got me wondering, however, if I wasn't just deluding myself. I couldn't help but feel like the same taste might be accomplished with some apple juice, grape juice, and nice sparkling water. So, thus came another great experiment. In addition to the two most common non-alcoholic Bruts I'm going to try a few sparkling waters to compare, and see if I really was duped by the bubbly Ariel or had reason to really like it. See my Sparkling Water Roundup.

I had anxiously waited to try out another brut cuvée (though Sutter Home doesn't call their Fre Brut a "cuvée") ever since the Ariel stunned me. I stopped by my regular source for Ariel and Fre, and also snagged some S. Pellegrino, Perrier Lime, and Big K Lemon Lime from Walmart and Fry's.

On the nose it reminded me of some of the chardonnays I'd had before, though the scent was much stronger and easier to catch, including when compared to Ariel Brut, and it had a light golden color compared to the Ariel's more clear coloring. The effervescence produced a steady stream of small bubbles.

Diving in, the first thing I noticed was the sweetness. I was expecting a very dry drink after Ariel's Brut, but this is almost as sweet as Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice. I'm surprised it's called a Brut, but apparently there is some leeway in the labeling system. It's also more flavorful than Ariel's Brut, and speaking of Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice, Fre Brut reminds me of it, though more complex and, as noted, not quite as sweet, with that grapey, fermented taste peaking through. The carbonation gives it a strong, somewhat hot bite on the tongue.

It's a little drier than most juices, is crisp and cut through the mexican food we had well, though I'm not sure it was the best pairing. Drinking this on its own was better than drinking the Ariel Brut alone, and with food Fre's Brut was complementary, whereas Ariel's Brut was contrasting, which I preferred. I would call Fre's more approachable. It was extremely light on tannins, sweet, slightly acidic and of a medium weight.

Works as a Wine Alternative: Yes, and a very good one for someone who might be new to all this.

Did I Like it: Yes, my wife and I both enjoyed it (she did not like the Ariel at all) so we'll be picking this up again in the future. 7/10

Would I Recommend it: Yes, it's very approachable.

Who Might Like it: Some people might prefer something less "juicy" than this.

[update] I put a topper on the bottle (pictured) and put it in the fridge (as directed on the bottle after opening...) It didn't taste as sweet, and I've thought of two reasons why that could be. 1.) it's less carbonated, sometimes this can make things seem less sweet, and/or 2.) I didn't drink it right after trying several bitter sparkling waters. More of the grape taste comes through.

Ariel Chardonnay (2008)

My Experience:

You can smell the fermentation when compared to juices, with pear being the main scent I noticed. It's extremely similar to the Fre Chardonnay, but slightly stronger, and a touch more acidic. It's still pretty bland, though not as watery as the Fre. The fermented, sour tang this has overrides any other taste that might come through. I'm ok with it when drinking it with food, but just barely ok.

I preferred the chardonnay juice to either of the de-alcholized chardonnays. I'd love to ask a chardonnay fan what they think of this.

I think we're just not chardonnay people. Even the Draper Valley Vineyard Chardonnay was our least favorite of the juices. It's just bland, and slightly off. My wife says it tastes like rancid grape juice. I told her that's basically what it is, but that didn't change her opinion. :)

We tried it with Artichoke & Tomato Chicken (great chicken, not great pairing, though I thought it would be), Orange Cheesecake (which made it taste like water), and a hotdog (actually the best pairing I had, but still just ok.)

Works as a Wine Alternative: It's definitely got a bit of winey taste to it, but I can't come up with anything I'd want to eat this with.

Did I Like it: No. (3/10)

Would I Recommend it: Probably not. Try Draper Valley Vineyards Chardonnay varietal grape juice instead.

Who Might Like it: Chardonnay fans? You tell me.

Ariel Brut Cuvée

My Experience:

Champagne. In short, Champagne is a sparkling white wine (chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier), but the term Champagne is only to be used from wines coming from the Champagne region in France. So other wines that are made in the same method are often marketed by descriptors like Brut, or Cuvée. Brut is referring to how dry, or unsweet, the wine is, as explained here. Cuvée means that it is made from a mix of vintages, rather than single year. Cuvée is relatively common for Champagne, but particularly good vintage are sometimes separated and made into a vintage Champagne, or millesimé.

Smells a lot like other still Chardonnays I've had, it's cold though so it's hard to pick up the scent. Very fizzy, very dry, somewhat bitter, the liquid flutters away quickly due to being well carbonated. It has small sparkling bubbles that rise in a gentle steady stream. This brut is carbonated using the Charmat method.

It's not fruity at all, and has more acid than previous Chardonnays I've tried. The taste or flavor itself is mild, and it isn't complex, it's rather one-note. It finishes a touch more sweetly, but just a touch.

I usually like sweet foods, so it's surprising that I like this so much, I think it pairs well with sweeter foods because of the contrast it provides. Cammy Blackstone, the host of Munchcast has a different opinion about pairing wines with sweet/junkfood, though one of her guests agrees with me on Episode 64 "Junk Food and Wine Pairings"

While I like this, I'd love to try a Sec or Demi-Sec instead of a Brut, and compare.

On it's own it's probably not something I'd drink often, but with the food (we had 4 cheese lasagna macaroni that night) it was fantastic.

My wife says the water tastes sweet compared to the Brut. She gave up on it quickly, and doesn't like its bitterness at all. Not surprising from a juice lover.

I only have one problem. The taste kinda reminds of that one time I tried some plain club soda when I was a kid. I hope all the effort put into this Brut makes it significantly better than plain 'ol sparkling water or tonic water. Look for a club soda / tonic water / Fre Brut comparison in the future.

We later made a Mimosa with this and it was fantastic! My wife actually drank it. I'd buy again just for that. I've always liked 7up and orange juice, but I prefer this. I'm also interested in mixing this with a very sweet drink like Martinelli's.

Works as a wine Alternative: Absolutely.

Did I like it: I liked it a lot, and my wife hated it absolutely. 7 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: Yes. You have to find out if you like this or not. It's very different from any juice you've tried

Who Might Like it: If you like it dry, this is it.

Draper Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

My Experience:

The last of our Draper Valley Vineyard "sample pack", the this is the first time I've had anything related to venerable Cabernet Sauvignon grape, so needless to say I was... expectant may be the best word.

I swirled it and gave it a sniff, and it turns out the scent is much stronger and easier to pick up than say, the relatively drab Chardonnay. I picked out Raspberry or blackberry, and of course grape. Even while drinking it these scents came through strong.

It seems the sweetness is fairly consistent between all of the Draper Valley Vineyard stuff, So this is also sweet like a juice, but seems sweeter than the rest. It is less grapey and more fruity than the Pinot Noir, with a hint ot strawberry, or maybe raspberry, and is smoother and less acidic than the Pinot, as well as having a bit lighter mouthfeel than the Pinot. It seems none of Draper Valley Vineyard's stuff has legs, but this did have a long fruity aftertaste, with a touch of a tingle to it.

It ended up too sweet for the spanish chorizo & dried tomato pizza we had, as it's strong flavor overwhelmed the bready crust. It would have been better with a bigger food, like steak or burgers. The sweetness might have also paired better with some of the spicy chineese food we had recently. I then cut it with some water, maybe 20 water 80 juice, which helped tone it down for the mild pizza we had.

I think all these juices need to be served slightly colder than their respective wines.
I also chilled some of these, and it nuked the taste, but left the sweetness and aftertaste. As usual, no hint of tannins.

We later did a taste test with all four of the Draper Valley Vineyard drinks we go, one cup straight, another cut with 1 part water 3 parts juice.

Cut with water it's more bitter (as was the Pinot Noir from Draper Valley Vineyards) and perhaps a touch more savory than sweet (but just a minor change.) Made me think of raspberry, pomegranate, and maybe grapefruit. Without food, I preferred the uncut drink.

Works as a wine Alternative: Yes, minus the sweetness.

Did I like it: Yes, but not so much as the Pinot or Riesling. 7 out of 10.

Would I Recomend it: I love trying out these varietal grapes, and I think it could even be fun for wine drinkers as it's interesting to taste the unadulterated grape. So yes.

Who Might Like it: Still a juice, but a premium, fun, interesting one. Very fruity, complex for a juice, give it a try if that sounds good to you.

Draper Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir

My Experience:

This is number 3 of the Draper Valley Vineyards 4 pack we got, just one more to go!

This vibrant red has a clear and punchy color, and now shares the top pedestal of juices with Draper Valley Vineyard's other great varietal, their Riesling. My wife and I adore this one.

Smells like some of the non-alcoholic wines I've tried, fruity, a lot like the zinfandel's I've tried. My wife says it smells like when her mother makes fresh grape juice.

This is more acidic than their chardonnay, and has a lighter mouthfeel. Just enough acidity to help cut through the food we had. It was a perfect pairing to cut through the slightly salty but delicious pork. A weakly chalky after taste, that finishes quickly, this would be the juice's low point.
A touch of plum, or maybe cherry, and a slight hint of pear. Whereas the rest of the varietal grape juices I've tried have had no tannin taste to it, this perhaps had the very slightest hint of it.

We later did a taste test with all four of the Draper Valley Vineyard drinks we go, one cup straight, another cut with 1 part water 3 parts juice.

It seems the flavor is darker, and slightly more bitter when cut with water, and of course less sweet. Without any food I like it straight, but depending on the meal it might be better watered down just a touch. Uncut, compared to the Cabernet, it made me think of figs.

Works as a wine Alternative: This juice is more layered and complex than normal grape juices, and not as sweet as many. Yes, it works.

Did I like it: My favorite red so far. 9 out of 10.

Would I Recomend it: Yes. Getting the Draper Valley Vineyard 4 pack (they now offer a 6 pack) is the best thing I've done for trying new drinks.

Who Might Like it: It is not dry like a wine, but other than that it seems to share several charataristics of a wine.

Draper Valley Vineyard Riesling

My Experience:

Our second varietal grape juice from Draper Valley Vineyards, their Riesling, was a huge surprise. I'd never had a Riesling of any kind before, and did not know what to expect, but after a downright drab Free Chardonnay and very mild Chardonnay from Draper Valley Vineyards, I certainly wasn't ready for what this White had to offer.

On the nose it smelt like many other white grape juices, but was a bit more earthy in addition to clean fruity scent.

We chilled it a bit more than those other two whites, which might have brought out the sweetness a bit, but the strength of this delightful drink came out in a big way. A fruity white grape juice, of course, but strongly accented with Citrus tastes, specifically Lime, it is quite tangy. This is probably the best wine alternative I've had so far due it's higher acidity, it cuts through food, though it is too sweet to cleanse the palette very well. It is very strong for a white grape juice, which is usually smooth and full, whereas this was sharp and clear.

We are planning on buying more of this soon, and will be trying it with several foods. The first things that come to mind as good pairs are Herb-y Chicken, any Fish you'd serve with lime or lemon, anything Vinegary, like Pickles, maybe bitter green salads, but definitely things with vinaigrettes.

I think this would be great to use when cooking, maybe with chicken or shrimp.

We later did a taste test with all four of the Draper Valley Vineyard drinks we go, one cup straight, another cut with 1 part water 3 parts juice.

I preferred the strength and acid of the Riesling without the water, and it became dull with the water.

Works as a wine Alternative: Yes, though sweeter than wine, I feel it still fills most of the roles of wine in a food pairing, this is a definite contender.

Did I like it: Both my wife and I loved it. 9 out of 10

Would I Recomend it: Yes, this is one I think everyone can try.

Who Might Like it: Those who like citrus drinks or white grape juice.

Draper Valley Vineyard Chardonnay

My Experience:

My wife got me a 4 pack of varietal juices from Draper Valley Vineyards for christmas. I was so excited! We quickly decided what nights to try them in the coming weeks, and for a few of them even planned meals around them. For the Chardonnay, we unfortunately didn't planned a meal around it, which perhaps lead to a less than great experience with it.

It has a weak scent, of apple cider and dried autumn leaves. It's a great white grape juice - very dry for a juice (still very sweet compared to a wine.) Fre Chardonnay tastes like this but watered down 1 to 1. Full bodied, heavy mouth feel. The taste is very mild, and it's very very low on acid. Fruity, tastes of apple. We had it with Panda Express - bad pairing! My wife says it could be a good dessert drink with cherry cobbler and ice cream, we'll have to try it. It's fairly complex for a single ingredient juice, which means it's just barely more than a one note drink.

We haven't given up on Chardonnay, however, we still have the "Award Winning"™ Ariel Chardonnay to try!

Works as a wine Alternative: If it's paired well, I think it could be. It's so very low on acid that it doesn't cut at all, but it's the driest of the juices we've tried so far.

We later did a taste test with all four of the Draper Valley Vineyard drinks we go, one cup straight, another cut with 1 part water 3 parts juice.

The chardonnay, without any food, I liked better cut with water, the apple/grape flavor comes through more with less sweetness. There is a thickness to the uncut Chardonnay, and the water thins it a touch.

Did I like it: Yes, with reservations. I'm starting to think my wife and I are just not Chardonnay people. It deserves a proper pairing, and with the weighty, intense food we usually lean towards it does not pair well. 5 out of 10.

Would I Recomend it: We got a Draper Valley Vineyards 4 pack, they currently have a deal on a 6 pack, one of each of their juices. This is a great way to experiment and learn more about the most popular types of grapes out there. It was a very educational experience, and we found some juices we definitely return to. Recommended!

Who Might Like it: If you're ditching alcohol and want chardonnay, it's worth a shot. It does taste like chardonnay, but very sweet.

(Compare to Sutter Home's Fre Chardonnay)