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'I tried the non-alcoholic wine hyped as one of Australia's best. Here's my honest thoughts.'

Giesen Wines
Thanks to our brand partner, Giesen Wines

There’s no denying it: now more than ever, wine drinkers have so much choice, and not only in flavour, but also in the percentage of alcohol in each bottle. 

And as someone who appreciates an alcohol-free bevvy, this is music to my ears. Why? Well, being busy and keeping up with my two babes means I like having an alternative option to your typical wine. 

I know I'm not the only one, though. 

People's sober curiosity has well and truly been piqued, and even if it's not something you've pondered yourself, I know I'm (probably) very correct in assuming that there are some occasions where you don't necessarily feel like alcohol, but still want that fancy feeling of having a glass of wine in hand.

But navigating this space can be a little... difficult, because let's be real, finding a quality alcohol-free wine that still tastes like actual wine is no easy accomplishment.

This is precisely where New Zealand's Giesen Group come in. Winners of the Best Winemaker at the 2022 Winepilot Zero Alcohol Wine Awards, Giesen are dedicated to making quality alcohol-free wine without skimping out on the quality we know (and love) them for.

So, when I found out they had won this flashy title for their no-alcohol wine range, I knew I had to give Giesen 0% a try. Also, as it's Dry July, I figured it was a sign from the universe to sip, slurp and soiree away!

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But never one to go into an investigation unaware, I decided to do my research first. What is Giesen 0% and what makes it so good?

Well, first off, Giesen pioneered the world’s first alcohol-removed New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Yep, the very first. It quickly became a crowd fave, so the range has grown to include a Merlot, Pinot Gris and a dry Rosé. And for all the Riesling lovers, do not despair, a drop is coming to Australia later this year after selling out in New Zealand. 

Having tried several alcohol-free and low-alcohol wines in the past, I was expecting Giesen 0% to have the same cheap, rushed-to-fill-a-market-gap taste, but just like most things, not all alcohol-removed wines are created equal.

Treating it with just as much importance and respect as all of their other wines, the range is actually made in the same way as the full alcohol varieties. They grow the most premium grapes for about a year in the vineyards in Marlborough, Waipara and Hawkes Bay, then they are picked and processed in their New Zealand winery. The alcohol is then gently removed at low temperatures through innovative spinning technology and sent off to the bottling site which is literally only 100m from the winery (talk about being bottled fresh!). So, any belief that non-alcoholic wine is ‘not really wine’ is a complete misconception where Giesen is concerned. 

Now you've gotten the 411, let me share my honest thoughts on the entire Giesen 0% range.

Image: Supplied. 

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Sauvignon Blanc

This is the first type of wine I tried as a young adult and I can't even tell you how many times I had to grin and bear it – some versions I tried were so harsh in my mouth and a real task to swallow.

But, thankfully, the quality of Giesen Wines was so apparent when I took my first sip. The flavours are very gentle and I could taste the tropical fruit flavours with hints of acidity from the fresh lime and lemon as well as notes of passionfruit.

This is a dry Sauvignon Blanc which I love as it is really crisp and refreshing, leaving a beautiful taste and feel in the mouth, especially as you take more sips. It comes with zero of the familiar aftertastes that I have experienced with other wines, which was a huge tick for me.

Rosé

Oooh my old friend, I've been waiting to re-introduce a new version of you into my life and I tell you what, your zero per cent self is welcome anytime! 

This Rosé is pale, and the smell is super subtle with the first taste hitting your palette smoothly with an ever-so-light sweetness.

It's incredibly fresh. The fruitiness of the strawberries, apple and white peach just linger in your mouth, delivering that perfectly dry and crisp mouthful. 

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I had a couple of glasses of the Rosé with lunch on Sunday (just a sandwich, nothing fancy), and sitting in the sun on my back patio was the wine equivalent of a summer’s afternoon, lazily sipping to the sounds of pool water lapping at the sides and Vance Joy playing in the background. It is a drop that I am so excited to take along to picnics with friends.

Pinot Gris

During my 20s, I enjoyed a good glass of Pinot Gris every now and then, so I was really looking forward to trying Giesen's. In the bottle, the wine has an almost rose gold appearance which, on aesthetics alone, gives it a really exquisite, premium appearance.

I am pleased to say the taste mirrors the way it looks – super soft and smooth, and ever so slightly sweeter than the Sauvignon Blanc.

The flavours of juicy stone fruit and lychee are nicely apparent with apple appearing in the aroma. You literally cannot sniff a glass of this and turn away, it’s really lovely.

I am definitely going to include this bottle in my repertoire moving forward. It's unapologetically delicate and fruity but in a light and palatable way. 

Merlot

I have a bit of a controversial opinion when it comes to red: on some occasions, I like it best when it's chilled. It may have something to do with our climate, but I've noticed that the flavours are enhanced when I drink it at a cooler temperature. 

I took my first sip hesitantly but to my surprise, I could actually taste the typical flavours of a New Zealand Merlot in my glass. I could literally feel the warmth in the flavours – summery, yet reminiscent of Christmas Eve all at the same time, a toasty flavour coming from the oak.

Featuring crushed blackberries and wild herbs, this merlot carries a slightly sweet yet earthy aroma, a combination that was a real treat for my senses. I feel like this would go down a treat with a nice bowl of pasta (cue the chef's kiss). 

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What's interesting about the entire Giesen 0% range, is that while it's different to its alcohol counterpart (because of, you know, the alcohol part), the flavour is ALL THERE. The aromas, the flavours, the hints of cranberry and crispness of lime, they're all so incredibly familiar and satisfying.

So, if you're looking for the perfect accompaniment for Dry July, this range is for you.

After tasting these four premium, alcohol-removed wines from the Giesen 0% range, I am really excited to try their other wines. Being made in the same way with the same amount of love, passion and care ensures that every drop will be an absolute pleasure.

Giesen's alcohol-free wine range, Giesen 0%, is hyped as Australia's best for a reason. Available now at your local bottle shop.

The resulting product is legally classified as alcohol free as it contains not more than 0.5% alcohol/volume – about the same levels that naturally occur in fruit juice.

Remember to always drink responsibly.

If you think you may be experiencing a problem with alcohol, you can access free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs by calling the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015 or check out DrinkWise for other support services and resources.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

Giesen Wines
NO ALCOHOL | 100% FLAVOUR – TRY GIESEN 0% WINES: The world’s first alcohol-removed New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, 0% alcohol and 100% flavour. With a Rosé, Merlot and Pinot Gris also available in this alcohol-removed popular Giesen range. Plus, for the health-conscious consumer there’s fewer calories than traditional wines. Giesen Group is taking the non-alcohol wine category seriously, investing over a million dollars in their own specialised spinning cone technology to further ensure the quality of their 0% wine range. The wine starts as a top New Zealand wine, with the alcohol then gently removed. 0% chance of missing out!