REVIEW: Eisberg Alcohol-Free Wines

Regular readers of this blog will know I am a wine lover through and through. I adore the stuff. I love to try new varietals, visit new wineries and talk about wine at every opportunity. I love the fact that with wine, as with so much, the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing. So it’s fair to say that I was intrigued but also a little apprehensive when Eisberg approached me to see if I would like to try one of their wines.

I couldn’t help but think it’s like a Katie Price biography. It looks like a book, it feels like a book. You could read it and you know somebody, somewhere is enjoying it, but what’s the point? Well, I have vowed to leave no path untrodden on my wine journey, so I could not make an exception in this case.

And let’s face it. Christmas has come and gone with all its festive cheer and socialising. For me, January has been the month of semi-hibernation, going out only when absolutely necessary and relishing nights in front of the fire enjoying a film with The Boy. And for me, all of these things often involve a cheeky glass of red. I cannot argue with taking some time off the booze and for this experiment I have already had a few days off, saving the wine until I really fancied a glass. The Boy has got a (boozy) beer on and so after dinner I cracked and poured myself a glass of Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon.

It has a great colour, deep and inviting, but of course no legs to speak of! I was happy to see on the bottle that it is only 26 calories per small glass – about 100 less, depending on strength, than a standard wine. That’s definitely better on the waistline and so tonight I am feeling virtuous as well as adventurous. Interestingly, scientific studies seem to suggest that red wine with the alcohol removed may have the same, or slightly better, heart health benefits than alcoholic wine. It will be interesting to see the conclusions of further testing in this regard.

The first thing that surprised me about the wine was the aroma. It is extremely light on the nose, without the evaporation of alcohol from the surface acting as a carrier for subtle smell notes. However, once I’d really got my nose in I found that it was fruity and almost sweet smelling. A hint of sour cherry mixed with strawberry – all out in the sun to release the sugary scents. As a big, full-bodied, tannin heavy wine fan, this was not to my taste, but certainly not unpleasant. Straight away you could tell that this was not just another grape juice, it was more complex than that.

In the mouth, again the Eisberg was light on body, but despite this surprisingly big on flavour. It had that mix of soft red fruit again – this time a hint of a juicy plum in there, but for me it was overwhelmingly the strawberry sweetness that came through most strongly. I detected ever such a slight tang of grape skins, but no real tannins to speak of. I suspect it would be much better to drink on a summer’s evening than wrapped up away from the minus degree grip of bleak midwinter.

It almost disappears on the palette as soon as you swallow, leaving just a hint of fruit flavour in the mouth, like the footsteps of a butterfly. No element of the experience is unpleasant, but it just isn’t quite wine.

I don’t think I drink wine to get the alcohol effect, but I do enjoy the complexity and interest that the vast swathes of different grapes, strengths and production methods bring. I feel that some of the enjoyment of this experience is lost with the Eisberg Alcohol Free wine. Does this taste like a regular Cabernet Sauvignon? A bit. Well, sort of. Is it pleasing to drink? Yes, it’s fine.

Would I choose to drink it again?

Well, actually I think I might. Having drunk a glass as I type this, I do not have an overwhelming urge to ransack the kitchen for a glass of rioja. I’m enjoying trying something new and I think, weirdly, it gets better as you drink it (and not because you’re getting too ratted to notice). I’m happily going to have another glass and be happy that I’ll have ingested less calories than a custard cream.

I can see that if you weren’t able to drink for medical reasons, were trying to cut alcohol calories out of your diet or were pregnant, Eisberg could definitely have a place in your life. It’s not as complex as regular wine, but it’s not a sickly sweet fruit juice either. It has flavour and enough interest that I think it is a genuine alternative if you have reason to take a break from the booze.

In my local supermarket, Eisberg is £3.49 a bottle, so it’s easier on the pocket than your standard plonk too. Probably worth a punt and I have no doubt that for some people this will revolutionise the way you drink wine. But just not me. If it ever looks like I’m becoming a Mummy Blogger who knows, maybe we’ll look at this one again.

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8 Responses

  1. Berenice McCall says:

    I thought the red was foul – very chemical tasting . No body at all and very thin
    The white sauvignon blanc tastes a bit sweet but is palatable , especially when chilled.

  2. Row says:

    Sounds like a possibility…

  3. I loved my wine for 30 years but became addicted. My family complained and I realized they were correct. From Jan.2020 I went alcohol free. After a month I decided to try several varieties of the non-alcoholic wines. I found my favourite. Eisberg Sauvignon Blanc. They also make Chardonnay, Rose, Merlot and White Sparkling. All are very good to me and normally £3-£4 per bottle from Waitrose, Tesco and even Amazon,

  4. Leonard Spellman says:

    An interesting read. One question. re Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine. Why is it, necessary to put the bottle in the fridge once opened ?

  5. Mike Wilson says:

    Cheating, I know, and probably an abomination to the Jancis Robinson contingent………. But I’ve found that adding the smallest splosh of something a bit more muscular to the virtuous brew gives it just enough oomph to pass muster on the olfactory organs.

    For me, three parts of Eisberg and one part of a decent Primitivo has enough body and nearly enough aroma, even though the result is only 3% alcohol. And if that little cocktail sounds barbaric, consider this. If you’re going to have a German wine made from a French grape, then adding a shot of Italian to the mongrel isn’t going to ruin something rare, precious and beautiful.. 🙂

    As self-isolation imposed itself upon us, I managed to pick up a couple of dozen Eisbergs from Amazon for barely two quid a bottle, because they were discontinuing them, And as the off-licence becomes steadily more off-limits, they’re going to keep me sane and mostly sober.

    Go on, try it. I dare you!

  6. David says:

    Hi Laura, A positive blog with reservations. MY first taste last week ended up in the sink!! I didn’t throw it away (just). Opening the computer this morning I was on the verge of complaining to the company about the dreadful taste. I have dared to have another taste. To my surprise—not bad at all!! It could have “aired” and the temperature warmer, but, on my desk right now——-I might even finish off the splash in my water glass.
    You have saved the reputation of Eisberg–for now.

    • Laura says:

      To be fair, all these years later (and currently pregnant) I don’t go back to it on anything like a regular basis. As you may see from my other posts, I’m much more of an alcohol free beer fan. But I stick by my original message – it’s OK 😂

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