If you’ve managed to get this far into 2015 without touching a drop of alcohol, then well done. Not long to go now, my Dry January heroes. Soon you can have a February glass of something.
For those of you with a detox backbone, here’s a trio of wines, which aren’t wines any more. Let me explain.
The Torres Natureo range – white red and rosé – all started life as a wine. They were produced from muscat grapes (white) syrah (red) and a blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon (rosé).
They are made traditionally then de-alcoholised using a canny extraction system which, I’m told, “keeps all the grape’s aromas, antioxidants, vitamins and mineral salts, leaving only the barest trace of alcohol (0.5 per cent) and 25-35 calories in a glass”.
Torres Natureo White (RRP £5, ASDA, Waitrose, Ocado, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Noble Green, Vintagemarque.com) It is a pale yellow, with bright aromas of grapes, lemons and crisp green apples. When you taste, it squeaks a sweet-cheek lively slice of apples and limes which really starts your tastebuds watering. It’s a palate cleanser that’s for sure, but for some it might just be too sweet.
Torres Natureo Red (RRP £5.99, Waitrose, Hoults, Noble Green, Vintagemarque.com) smells of redcurrants squished and squashed on top of a vanilla cheesecake. It was a deep red fruit juice, such as a blend of pomegranate and cranberry; a liquidised fruit pastille. I really missed a backdrop of alcohol in this red; but with it, well it wouldn’t be Natureo would it.
Torres Natureo Rosé (RRP £5.99, Waitrose, The drinkshop.com, Last Drop Wines, Vintagemarque.com) which is a light mauve. Red berries and blackcurrants hover on the edge of the glass. If you like your rosé sweet you will probably like this. I thought it was thin and lacking in substance.
In other news, I have a new fridge gadget, which delivers ice at the click of a button. I clicked and crackled some ice into each of the Natureo styles.
The white was very refreshing; the red should make a nice base for a non-alcoholic icy fruit mocktail. The rosé remained unassuming.
Also in my glass…
It’s Australia Day on January 26 and our Aussie cousins will be enjoying the sunshine, lighting up the barbie and no doubt opening a good hearty Australian shiraz to mark the occasion.
So if you can’t beat them …. Wirra Wirra Catapult 2012 (RRP £14.50, M&S, Oddbins) is a deep red, sturdy and forthright, a no-messing Aussie shiraz.
There’s plums on the nose, chocolate, chopped wood and a savoury whisper. It flits in the mouth from bursting red berries to spice and herbs. There’s a feather touch of floral viognier, as the winemakers have followed a wine-making style from the northern Rhone by adding a tiny percentage of the grape to the fermentation process.
Also from Wirra Wirra, an unoaked chardonnay. If you cast aside Aussie chardonnay because you think it is all over-oaked, then Scrubby Rise Unoaked Chardonnay (RRP £9.99 Tesco) should surprise. It is clean and bright, crisp and lemony, with undercurrents of peach and nectarine.
Then, finally, a frizzly sweet delight. Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Moscato 2013 is £7.99 from Ocado and I just love the name. Mrs Wigley was a pussy cat which made herself perfectly at home in the Wirra Wirra vineyards in McLaren Vale.
This is a take-it-easy January 4.5% abv and has wisps of roses, dried strawberry and flowers with a gentle melon and sherbert spritz. Close your eyes and wish away the winter.
Published in the saturday extra magazine January 24, 2015