Almost Zero Radiant Red


Almost Zero Radiant Red

Merlot / Almost Zero NA / 0.33%

This is an exciting style of wine that caters to the very specific need to have a non-alcoholic drink that still has a distinctive wine character. This is a fruit-forward red with notes of ripe mulberry prominent on the palate.

Just as it is with non-alcoholic beer, the increasing number of options when it comes to dealcoholized wine is not limited strictly to the United States. People in other countries are just as, if not more, dedicated to living healthier lifestyles. So it is no surprise that one winemaker that is establishing themselves in the field of boozeless wine is Van Loveren, a company with a rich history based out of the Robertson Valley in South Africa. You may not even realize that the line of Almost Zero dealcoholized wines is, in fact, under the Van Loveren umbrella.

To this point, this branch of their brand is made up of five offerings, including two sparkling wines, which actually carry a slightly different label of Absolute Zero. I find it a bit odd to name something Almost Zero when, technically speaking, it has earned the classification of dealcoholized by coming in below 0.5 percent abv. The name may make some people breeze right past it, but I suppose it is factually correct. Nevertheless, I decided to pick up a couple of their options from the local liquor store in hopes that maybe South Africa has found a better way to maintain a strong flavor profile in dealcoholized wine. Since red wine is my personal preference, I have decided to start on that side of the spectrum with this Almost Zero Radiant Red review.

Almost Zero Radiant Red Review

Perhaps I am being too harsh about the company’s naming conventions, but I am also not a huge fan of “Radiant Red.” To me, it reeks a bit of the cheap fruity wines that permeate the U.S. market and don’t provide much aside from sugary flavor. I will do my best not to penalize this wine for something as simple as the name, but that along with the faux fancy label make me worry just a tiny bit about how this tasting experience will go.

The back of the bottle contains some marketing material and a few tasting notes, but most remarkably to me, it informs us that South African servings sizes are nearly half of the bottle. The 114 calories per serving took me aback for a second until I realized their 12-ounce serving size is more than twice that of what we use here in the United States. With that in mind, the calorie content is actually quite low. Another note – their website lets me know that this wine is made from Merlot grapes, something I would rather just be listed explicitly on the label.

Poured into a glass, the body of this wine isn’t the deepest of reds, but it sits at a nice rose color with some active bubbles around the edges. It is mostly opaque with some faint hints of purple when in the right light. On the nose, I get something of a vinegar base dabbled with nice berry notes. They are tough to suss out precisely as nothing about the aroma is terribly strong, but I believe I sense some raspberry and maybe even a little blueberry.

We are moving in the direction of this being another dull dealcoholized red wine, but I really hope things turn around upon tasting. I will have to commence in order to get an answer to the question, “Is Almost Zero Radiant Red good?”

Is Almost Zero Radiant Red Good?

Things have not turned around. Were I to be completing a blind taste test, I am almost sure that I would be able to pick this one out as containing no alcohol. It doesn’t necessarily taste bad, it just doesn’t give me much at all. On the bright side, this one doesn’t simply taste like Welch’s grape juice. It has a little bit of unique character to it, I am just left wanting so much more.

I may need to brush up on my berry expertise, because that is definitely the dominant flavor, (if I can call it that) but like on the nose, I can’t quite pinpoint what variety of berry sticks out. I think the closest that I can get is raspberry with some red cherry sprinkled in for good measure. There is perhaps a twinge of plum on the back end as well but not much else.

I tend to gravitate more towards reds that are on the dry end of the spectrum, but this one strangely is hard to place anywhere along the line. There is absolutely no dry quality to it, but it also does not come through as sweet at all. The berry flavors give it a teensy bit of sweetness, but ultimately the texture kind of just sits in the mouth and ends up going down like water. The drinkability factor is quite high, but my tongue never feels fully engaged with the liquid.

This does result in a finish that is rather clean, if not exactly the most crisp. My palette is wiped anew immediately upon swallowing, but since the next sip delivers more of the same, my taste buds are in a constant state of wanting. The body is so light that this could go on for hours.

What does all of this means for my final Almost Zero Radiant Red rating? Finish reading this review below to find out.

Almost Zero Radiant Red Rating

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand and think that I am calling this wine offensive by any means. It tastes just fine if all that you are looking for is something red in a glass that won’t inspire any questions from your drinking partners. And the big bonus that this red has going for it is it doesn’t have that grape juice quality that I have found in plenty of dealcoholized wines. But ultimately I would love to take on a few more calories if it mean that I would get a more complex flavor profile.

It kind of makes you wonder why bother drinking something like this at all, if it is going to deliver so little in terms of taste. There is still a lot of room to grow for most in this industry. And that grading curve is the only reason I am ending this Almost Zero Radiant Red review by giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It tastes fine enough but not like wine.


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