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WELL hello, 2019. Are you ready to face the hurdles, hassles and happiness of a New Year ahead? Yes? With a drink in hand? Let's go then.

To kick off this first drinkies missive of the year, here's some alcohol-free ideas for those of you following Dry January.

alcohol-free beer can be a tasteless wash-out, but I was fairly content with the citrus I'm told that Adnams "uses advanced production techniques" to keep the flavours of the pale ale, but without the alcohol. The nose is citrusy and savoury, with a bite on the palate. I'm not a beer connoisseur but I enjoyed with a sausage and mash supper.

There's some new no-alcohol fizz releases on the shelves to lift the January gloom.

Zero Point Zero White PS2.49, Aldi) is made with fermented grape juice blended with premium green tea to deliver notes of apple and pear. It has a sister, Zero Point Zero Rose (same price) which can help you dream of the pink fizz awaiting you in February.

The famous cava brand Freixenet has released two no-alcohol bottles of fizz perfectly poised to be ready for Dry January.

Freixenet 0% Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine is available in a white or a pink version in Tesco, but other retailers are soon to follow. Both are RRP PS5 for 75cl and the white is also available in 20cl for PS1.50.

One more zero sparkling wine, to lift your 2019 gloom, is from the Eisberg range. Eisberg Sparkling (RRP PS4 from Waitrose and Ocado) is also produced in pink and white versions. They're ok, though miss the alcohol (maybe that's just me). If you're watching the calories it's worth noting that the white has only 31 calories per 125ml glass.

This month the Co-op is selling Eisberg Non Alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc at PS3.50, and some sauvignon blanc characteristics such as gooseberry and tropical fruit flavours can still be found even though the alcohol is gone.

I've seen a trend recently for alcohol-free distilled spirits and I just don't get it. I'm always disappointed. Ceders Classic (RRP PS20, Sainsbury) is distilled with juniper, rose-geranium and coriander. It's a very worthy idea, and I poured, as suggested, with tonic and lemon. I was left with a "so-what" memory of botanicals, lacking depth on the palate. I'd sooner have a good dash of lime cordial, with its oomphs of citrus flavour, in a glass cheaper too).

Also in my glass . if alcohol is still in your life, then welcome to mine. Yali Wild Swan Merlot 2018 (PS5.50, down from PS7.50 at the Co-op, from January 2 until January 23) is named after a protected wetland - Yali - in central Chile, a home to wild swans.

The merlot is produced by Vina Ventisquero which champions wildlife. It's a moreish, easy-drinking merlot, with notes of plums, cherries and vanilla. There's a sister wine too, sauvignon blanc, same price at the Co-op.

| Jane is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her on social media and online as One Foot in the Grapes.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2019
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