Review: NV Giesen 0% Dealcoholized New Zealand Riesling

Review: NV Giesen 0% Dealcoholized New Zealand Riesling

Hailing from New Zealand, Giesen 0% is a recently released line of no-/low-alcoholic wines launched in 2020 by the eponymous vineyard that has been producing notable wines in the Marlborough region for decades (a few of which we covered in our profile of New Zealand wines in 2018). The 0% line actually starts with their conventionally produced wine, which is then “de-alcoholized” through spinning cone technology.

The origins of the Giesen winery itself goes back to the 1980s and its founding by three brothers (Theo, Alex and Marcel) who had traveled from Germany looking for adventure. They didn’t anticipate taking root in New Zealand, but quickly (and literally) planted themselves on farmland in the Marlborough region and started producing wines to fill what they saw as a dearth of options of quality wines. Their first vintage was Riesling, which was the first plantings the oldest sibling Theo Giesen had experience tending to in their own backyard as a teenager back in Germany, and the winery now offers a full line of reds, whites, and roses made under the oversight of their Chief Winemaker Duncan Shouler (originally from England).

The original 0% line was apparently inspired in 2020 by corporate wellness challenges that led the Giesen brothers to pursue creating premium non-alcoholic wines that could retain as much of the character of wine as possible in a no/low-alcohol version.

The super-abbreviated overview of their process involves distillation using low temperature vacuum steaming and spinning of the base wine blend to collect both the aroma and the alcohol, which are then added back in various degrees to the final blend (along with a small amount of grape juice) depending on the varietal.

So let’s give the Riesling a whirl.

The nose is playfully fragrant with crisp green apple and lemon rind, with an intriguing undertone of a yeasty and generously buttered rolls. So far so good. The palate reinforces the apple notes with dominant sweet-tart characteristics of filtered, just-pressed granny smith apple cider, with a hint of ripe ruby red grapefruit every now and again. In fact, other than a light touch of white grape skin, my initial impression was an overwhelming recall of first bites into a juicy green apple. (As a side note, I checked the producer’s own tasting notes after my initial tasting and the description leans heavily on citrus – lime and mandarin – which arguably coincides with the tart-sweet interplay I noticed. After reading the producer’s tasting notes, I now cannot “un-taste” the smorgasbord of citrus.)

Imbibed straight as a still wine, it’s a suitably refreshing beverage when served very chilled. What is conspicuously absent is some sort of brightness or kick from classic Riesling herbal elements, which would temper the fruity notes to more evoke the full, alcohol-laden version of the grape. For kicks I threw in a dash of seltzer, a slice of fresh ginger, and some lime, which resulted in a rather lovely and satisfying bitter-forward wine spritzer.

All in all, I’d recommend the sober-curious pick up a bottle.

0.5% abv.

B+ / $16 / 

NV Giesen 0% Dealcoholized Riesling




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