Fre White Zinfandel

Fre-White-ZinfandelMani 4_5

Fre White Zinfandel

White Zinfandel / Fre NA / <0.5%

Our alcohol-removed White Zinfandel is reminiscent of sun-drenched summer day. Fragrant strawberry and cranberry aromas lead to refreshing flavors of ripe berries, followed by a pleasant, lingering finish. Best served well-chilled, our White Zinfandel makes a delightful aperitif or picnic pour.

Pink. It is often the forgotten color when it comes to enjoying wine. Some people think red is the only way to go. Others, who typically have more of a sweet tooth, stick to the whites. There is even a chunk of the wine-drinking population who lives by the motto, “white when the sun is up, red when it’s down.” But the pinks. Rose and White Zinfandel. There are some more pretentious individuals who look at them as fodder suitable only for sorority girls. And there are some who don’t even think about them at all. But they absolutely have their place. And I am an equal opportunity drinker.

When it comes to dealcoholized wine, something like White Zinfandel might even be the perfect route to take. They’re already intended to be sweet. They’re great to sip on over the course of a warm day. They seem like they shouldn’t be terribly hard to mimic in an NA version. For these reasons, I think it was wise of Fre to release a dealcoholized White Zinfandel.

Fre is a winery based out of St. Helena, California, just north of Napa, that is entirely dedicated to creating dealcoholized wine. They have an impressive array of varietals, ranging from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon. And smack dab in the middle of that spectrum lies their White Zinfandel. Wine with the alcohol removed can be extremely hit or miss, so I am excited to try my first of what Fre has to offer and share what I find with this Fre White Zinfandel review.

Is Fre White Zinfandel Good?

I’m impressed with the design of the bottle’s label, simple but elegant font residing over the top of a floral pattern that matches color with the wine itself. Fre is replete with mottos framing their wine as something beneficial for your life. Things like “The sophisticated alternative” and “True happiness lies in the freedom to be yourself” adorn the label. There are some tasting notes on the back, but I try to avoid diving too deeply into those until I try the wine for myself and see what I detect.

The color of the wine is a beautifully crisp pink reminiscent of any traditional White Zin. This is unsurprising, as a dealcoholized wine is simply a normally fermented wine that has the alcohol removed from it after the fact. The trick is in seeing if that removal of alcohol negatively affects the flavor as it takes some other ingredients with it. Time to crack the bottle and find out.

Upon first whiff, there is a noticeable difference from other dealcoholized wines that I’ve sampled. It smells like wine. The bouquet that a wine puts forward sets the tone for the entire tasting experience. This one gives off a rather sweet aroma, but it isn’t particularly sugary. Rather it is composed of various berry scents, with strawberry coming through the strongest to me. I can also detect hints of cranberry and possibly raspberry.

Perhaps the best attribute on the nose however is what it doesn’t smell like, grape juice. Dealcoholized wines, especially the sweeter varieties, can easily lose their character with the alcohol and end up both smelling and sometimes tasting like basic grape juice. This one clearly has some things going for it, but only through tasting will we actually be able to answer the question, “Is Fre White Zinfandel good?”

Fre White Zinfandel Review

There aren’t many surprises to this White Zin upon tasting. The flavor follows the nose quite strictly. Strong strawberry vibes that are sweet but not overpoweringly so. The other various berry flavors continue to underlie the strawberry, but they are there.

Digging deeper, I even discovered some faint hints of citrus, something resembling melon. There are also little dash of grassiness that appear here and there but tend not to stand out much.

As oftens seems to be the case, mouthfeel is where the dealcoholized characteristics are most noticeable but not terribly so here. It’s a shade more watery than I would prefer but not enough to be a turn off. I can’t stand a wine that is too laced with sweetness, so I’m glad that doesn’t come across as the cool liquid melts over the tongue. Absolutely nobody would find a hint of dryness in there, but it falls comfortably in the middle of the scale, which is satisfying.

I found that the berry flavors tend to linger on the tongue for a good while. This is a personal preference thing, but with something like a chilled White Zin I tend to like that finish to be more crisp. But the flavors are largely pleasant, so having them hang around is by no means bothersome.

While the flavor profile is not overly complex, it is enough to help you forget that you are drinking a dealcoholized version. Overall, this was a worthwhile tasting experience, but what does that mean when it comes ot a Fre White Zinfandel rating?

Fre White Zinfandel Rating

I will be the first to admit that my standard for dealcoholized wine is quite low. I’m not sure the industry has quite perfected the process yet, even when compared to something like non-alcoholic beer. You can find plenty of options that aren’t offensive to the senses, but many times they lose a lot of what makes them wine and end up resembling something like juice. I was very pleased to find that isn’t the case here.

While White Zinfandel isn’t near the top of the list of my favorite varietals, these types of bright, crisp, summer-drinking wines absolutely have their place, and they seem like a natural option for wineries to dealcoholize. Fre has done an admirable job here. The wine is far from perfect. The flavors could definitely be more full, and I would prefer a more crisp finish, but when compared to other offerings of this kind, I have to give this wine its due. So I will conclude this Fre White Zinfandel review by awarding it 4 out of 5 stars. I believe it will be perfectly satisfying for anyone seeking out a healthier alternative but still doesn’t quite compare to traditional wine.


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