Black bottles, plastic pouches and low alcohol at Tesco

Arniston Bay pouchThe German winemakers Black Tower are using this week’s ‘biggest-ever wine category review by a supermarket’ to launch their new red Dornfelder Pinot Noir. This light red wine will increase the Black Tower range from the current two whites (Rivaner and Pinot Grigio) and a rosé made from Portugieser and Dornfelder grapes. Among the other 369 new wines on Tesco’s shelves is a white wine from South Africa’s Arniston Baysold in a resealable 1.5-litre plastic pouch.

Looking like the innards from the more traditional 3-litre cardboard winebox, the Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay filled plastic pouch is being marketing as environmentally-friendly (when thrown away it uses 90% less landfill compared to a glass bottle equivalent) and is part of Tesco's push to reduce packaging by 25 per cent by 2010.

Tesco have also responded to research showing consumers want to buy wines with lower levels of alcohol by expanding their 10%-and-under alcohol range. New wines include the 9% alcohol-by-volume Van Loveren Light White from South Africa (£3.99), De Bortoli’s Cosa Dolce Syrah Dolcetto (£5.99) and the Plume range of lower strength white, rosé and red wines (£5.99) from France.

Plume winemakers have used technology to reduce their wines from the more normal 12% down to 9% alcohol-by-volume. ‘Reverse osmosis’ strips alcohol from the wine, but leaves aromas and flavours intact. Well that’s the theory. I’ve found technology-assisted lower alcohol wines tend to taste weedy and watery or very, very sweet. There is an easier and tastier way to consume less alcohol in one sitting – drink fewer glasses of wine.


Black Tower, German, Dornfelder Pinot Noir 2006. £4.49

As soon as you pull the plastic cork from the familiar square-shouldered black bottle, fruity aromas waft out and hit you in the nose. This light red wine smells and tastes of blackberries, blackcurrants and elderberries. But it's bit expensive for what it is – an okay wine.lower alcohol wine


De Bortoli Cosa Dolce, South Eastern Australia, Syrah Dolcetto 2006. £5.99

This 9.5% alcohol by volume wine is made by stopping the fermentation process early, before the yeasts have turned all the sugar to alcohol. This does leave behind unfermented sugar, as much as two teaspoons per bottle. You’ll find this cherry and raspberry tasting wine is too sweet to go with your main meal, so save it to accompany cakes and desserts.