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SUNDAY BRUNCH | Liquid City

Vintage Juice

July 26, 1998|CHRIS RUBIN

When you order a pinot noir or a gewurztraminer from the wine list at Porter's in Brentwood, you probably expect wine in your glass. But if the bottle says "Navarro Vineyards," these could be unfermented grape juices made from those premium varietals.

Executive chef Jeff Perlman first tried the alcohol-free juices a couple of years ago at Boulevard in San Francisco and decided to add them to his wine list.

"I don't drink alcohol," says Perlman, who formerly cooked at Campanile and Granita, "but I feel left out if I'm not drinking and everyone else is. They're a nice alternative to wine, and they go well with everything."

The Navarro grape juices--$9 a bottle--pair well with the California-Franco cuisine at Porter's. Both juices are particularly good with desserts. They are sweeter than the wines with the same designation because their sugars were never converted to alcohol through fermentation. (Adding sparkling water can cut the sweetness for those who would prefer a drier drink.)

These juicesnonalcoholic products which are made as wines and then have the alcohol stripped out.

"We're very successful with them," says Navarro co-owner Deborah Cahn. The Anderson Valley (Mendocino) vineyard, which sells a wide range of varietal wines, began producing the nonfermented grape juice about 20 years ago. "We used to buy grape juices for our son, but decided to make our own since we had a lot of [grapes] around."

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The juices may be ordered from the vineyard at $6.50 a bottle by calling (800) 537-9463 or accessing the Web site at http//:www.navarrowine.com.

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