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Review: 2020 Ariel Cabernet

Finding a good non-alcoholic wine isn't about replacing alcohol, its about discovering new options. This week, I hunted down the 2020 Ariel Cabernet from my local Total Wine & More. I'd read some great reviews about Ariel's NA wine lineup, and I was thrilled to open my first bottle.


Buttercup's First Sip:

There is a slight pencil-shaving smell, likely because of the barrel aging process, but I found this statement on the Ariel Vineyard website to be interesting, "Some of ARIEL’s varietal wines are are aged in small oak barrels". Does this mean they aren't all barrel aged? If so, the scent likely varies drastically from case to case.


Recommendations:

  1. Decant for 15-20 minutes. I noticed a big difference between the straight from the bottle pour versus one that had some time to breathe.

  2. If you want more of a typical Cabernet mouth feel (dryer) add bitters (note: bitters are not alcohol-free, but as I'm just recommending a few dashes, it contains an insignificant amount of alcohol and therefore remains non-alcoholic)

  3. Sample: 2.5 oz of Ariel Cabernet, not decanted

  4. One drop of Angostura Bitters: noticeable difference, can feel tannins (back of tongue, drier mouth feel)

  5. Sample: 6 oz of Ariel Cabernet, decanted

  6. Two drops of Angostura Bitters: better smell and mouth feel

My recommendation: Three hard splashes of Angostura Bitters to 6oz decanted Non-Alcoholic wine to balance Ariel Cabernet's scent and mouthfeel.


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