Valentine’s Day 2023 Gift Guide: The Best Zero-Proof Wines
The zero proof wine landscape is changing rapidly – new players and veterans alike have found new ways to create elegant beverages that are food friendly, dry and very enjoyable. Bubbles are still the most successful category, but wines are getting better and better. If you want to get really close to the full wine experience, look for non-alcoholic offerings – in general I find that they are more successful than those that try to recreate the flavors in other ways. Here are some of my top picks at the moment.
joyus: I have previously praised this producer’s sparkling wine, as well as their Cabernet Sauvignon. You can add the rosé to your list – both still and sparkling are delicious and perfect for toasting your Valentine’s Day. The still tart rosé is wonderful, smells of melon and stone fruit and is very dry, while the perlage is more like berries. Experts agree – Joyus was the first alcohol-free wine to win the “Best in Class” award at one of the largest and oldest wine competitions in the world. It feels like a treat at the end of a long day and only has about 30 calories per glass. ($27-$30 per bottle)
French Bloom French organic sparkling water: Developed by Maggie Frerejean-Taittinger and model Constance Jablonski, the French Bloom Blanc ($39) — a blend of organic French Chardonnay alcohol-free wine, organic grape juice, Gensac spring water, and natural flavors like lemon — is elegant and dry, with some beautiful floral and pear notes. Or go pink — the French Bloom Rosé ($44) adds dealcoholized organic Pinot Noir to the mix, bringing scents of violet and rose with luscious strawberries and raspberries.
sov: Husband and wife Julia Littauer, Certified Sommelier, and Alex Littauer, DipWSET, continue to innovate in the zero-proof field, identifying wines that retain their aromas after dealcoholization. They source grapes from the Clarksburg AVA in California, about 40 miles east of Napa, and offer two reserve wines by the bottle in addition to their canned collection: a pale, lemony Chenin Blanc ($34) that’s very enjoyable on its own, or especially good with a partner to oysters and a beautiful limited edition Reserve Red, made from a blend of 2015 Petit Syrah that has been oak aged and new Cabernet Sauvignon. Open these in front of a cozy fire or with a delicious steak and you won’t miss the schnapps.
Surely: This Napa brand also starts with real alcoholic wine made from grapes grown and harvested according to the brand, are some of the most respected names in viticulture in Napa Valley. Surely then employs a cutting-edge technology called Spinning Cone Column that uses physics and force to physically separate the alcohol from the wine without compromising flavor or quality. The range now includes non-alcoholic Cabernet Sauvignon, non-alcoholic rosé sparkling wine, non-alcoholic white sparkling wine and non-alcoholic rosé. I particularly like that many of their wines are available in single servings, so you can mix up a zero proof sbagliato for one.
Noughty: The Sparkling Chardonnay from this B Corp-certified producer Thomson & Scott is organic, vegan, halal and low in sugar – and it tastes really good too. It’s buttery, crunchy, and dry enough to pair with caviar and potato chips.
Studio Zero Sparkling Verdejo: This brand keeps hitting it out of the park, with single varietal offerings produced by award-winning winemakers and top dealcoholization experts in Europe. You can tell the making of these wines, like the beautiful new Sparkling Verdejo ($36), begins in the vineyard. The Verdejo grapes were harvested in the coolest part of the night, preserving the lovely citrus blossom nose and rich peach flavor. Like Studio Null’s other offerings, it was produced as a classic wine and then dealcoholized by vacuum distillation to preserve body, aroma and flavor. This would be nice with seafood or chicken. Or paired with some triple creme cheese. And the bottles are just as beautiful as the wines, with artwork by Joshua Owens, Sunrise Surf Club. Even those who are not “soberly curious” might ask for a glass.
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