Dr. Loosen Releases Alcohol-Free Riesling

Dr. Loosen's Alcohol-Free Riesling

© Photo provided

Dr. Loosen's Alcohol-Free Riesling

© Photo provided

Dr Loosen is a bastion of German Riesling culture and a stalwart of the Mosel style with an impeccable track record. So why of all people would this estate make a foray into alcohol-free wines?

The answer is more convincing than you may think, since Mosel Riesling holds two trump cards that few other wines do. It has moderate alcohol levels to begin with and sports killer acidity. The de-alcoholisation process thus does not have to remove as much alcohol as in other zero-alcohol wines and Riesling’s natural, lime-scented acidity balances what inevitably takes the place of alcohol in wine: sweetness.

Ernst Loosen who developed the alcohol-free Rieslings with his brother Thomas is disarmingly honest: “I must admit I did not get into the wine business to then turn around and take the alcohol out, but I have never been afraid of innovation or pushing the envelope,” he says. “If I get involved in something I want it to be authentic, and that is why we are just focusing on Riesling. I am extremely pleased with Dr. Lo, and I hope our efforts can increase awareness that this category also has some premium options.”

Yes, the cool-climate Mosel region is famed for moderate alcohol Rieslings with electric acidity that balances natural residual sweetness from incomplete fermentation. Seen from this vantage point, taking a step towards de-alcoholisation is not that big. Admittedly, both the still and the sparkling Riesling clock up 45g/l of residual sweetness but this is balanced by the grape’s natural acidity and gives the exuberant tropical fruit notes a boost.

While the unifying element of alcohol is missing from these wines, they do come with undeniable Riesling DNA – and are quite a step up from the usually cloying alcohol-free options. Loosen says the wines were developed “for consumers with discerning tastes.” They are sweet but also fresh and still taste like wine.

Loosen explains that the wines were harvested with crisp acidity, partially fermented in stainless steel tanks and later de-alcoholised by vacuum distillation. “This base wine underwent a state-of-the-art alcohol removal process,” Loosen says. The process used was vacuum distillation. It works because liquids kept in a vacuum have much lower boiling points than at normal atmospheric pressure. Alcohol can thus be removed by distillation at temperatures of just 35°C/95°F – a process that largely keeps the delicate aromas of wine intact.

READ THE TASTING NOTES:

2019 Dr. Lo Alcohol-Free Riesling

2019 Dr. Lo Alcohol-Free Sparkling Riesling

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