Enjoy the flavors of wine, minus the alcohol, with these 3 bottles
Washington Post, USA - Credit, Dave McIntyre
The zero-alcohol drinks sector is booming, and wine is catching up. I’ve written before about Giesen 0%, a line of de-alcoholized wines from New Zealand’s Giesen winery that taste like the real thing. Another approach is “wine alternatives,” beverages meant to provide a similar gastronomic experience as wine but without alcohol. Wine alternatives, however, are not de-alcoholized, as they never had alcohol to begin with. Here are two wine alternatives and a bubbly with some serious champagne cred that demonstrate it is possible to drink well and celebrate without the buzz.
A note on availability: Giesen 0% wines are available through Whole Foods Market and other retail outlets, but many of the newer non-alc alternatives are produced in small numbers and are available primarily online. Boisson is a New York-based website specializing in zero-proof wines, beers, spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails. And since the beverages don’t contain alcohol, the regulatory morass for shipping wine doesn’t apply.
Le Petit Béret Virgin Rosé
Petit Béret is a line of zero-alcohol wines that are not de-alcoholized, but built from scratch, as it were. The ingredients listed on the label include grape seed infusion, grape juice and other natural flavors. This “Virgin Rosé” could stand in for a Provence rosé on a hot day. The line also includes a Prosecco-like blanc de blanc, a chardonnay and a pinot noir that are not only good but also affordable. An advantage for D.C.-area readers: With a local importer, there is retail distribution. Vegan. Halal. Alcohol by volume: Zero. Bottle weight: 630 grams (Average).
Distributed locally by Dechaunac Wine Imports.
Three Spirit Blurred Vines Sharp
Three Spirit is a British producer of non-alcoholic elixirs designed to provide the cocktail experience without the booze. Blurred Vines is their new line of wine alternatives, with two options. Sharp boasts of being “bright, crisp, rejuvenating,” while Spark offers “euphoric stimulation.” These are not wines that have been stripped of their alcohol, but rather concoctions of teas, adaptogens, herbs and fruits designed to be winelike in weight, texture and flavor. (Proxies is another brand that follows this approach, with some success.) I can’t tell you that Blurred Vines tastes like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon or any other wine you’re familiar with, only that it is delicious and a fine choice for festive occasions without alcohol. Certified B Corporation. ABV: Zero. BW: 740 grams (Sparkling).
French Bloom Le Rosé Organic French Bubbly
French Bloom is a line of zero-alcohol bubbly from France that began limited U.S. distribution late last year. Fashion model Constance Jablonski and Maggie Frerejean-Taittinger, director of the Michelin Guide, wanted the experience of champagne without the alcohol, so they enlisted Maggie’s husband, Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, chief executive of Champagne Frerejean Freres, and Carl Héline, a former head of Champagne Krug, to help develop French Bloom. Any time you can put Taittinger, Krug and Michelin in the same sentence, culinary magic should ensue. And this works: De-alcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir are supplemented with organic grape juice, spring water and lemon juice. There are no added sugars, sulfites or preservatives. The result tastes remarkably like champagne, with a softer fizz and without the alcohol bite. It’s the first wine I’ve seen labeled as “pregnant friendly,” and it is certified organic by Ecocert in the E.U., USDA Organic, Vegan, and Halal. French Bloom is currently available online and through limited distribution in New York and Los Angeles. ABV: Zero. BW: 860 grams (Sparkling).
Available online at French Bloom and Boisson.
Prices are approximate. For availability, check Wine.com, Wine-searcher.com and the websites and social media feeds of the wineries, importers or distributors. You can also ask your local retailer to order wines from the distributors listed.
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