All About Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine
In the world of wine, bubbles are synonymous with celebration, and that's true whether you're toasting a landmark birthday or the fact that you made it through a rough week at work. And though you may love to open a bottle of Champagne, prosecco, Lambrusco, Franciacorta, or cava—after all, each effervescent potion is perfect as an aperitif or an accompaniment to an elegant dinner—alcohol is not suitable for every occasion. That's where non-alcoholic sparkling wines come into play. While their name may sound like an oxymoron, they're absolutely worth getting to know. In fact, non-alcoholic sparkling wines are a guaranteed way to bring the party.
Festive Bubbly, Without Repercussions
Pregnant women and committed abstainers may be the natural audience, but they're not the only people who may enjoy a glass of non-alcoholic bubbly. Who else seeks out sparklers minus the alcohol? "Anyone who might want to have less of a commitment to recovery the next day," says Gabriella Mlynarczyk, beverage consultant and author of Clean + Dirty Drinking: 100+ Recipes for Making Delicious Elixirs, With or Without Booze ($18.49, amazon com). The cocktail expert says that these days she tends to drink on special occasions or on weekends. And when she doesn't imbibe spirits, there are plenty of alternatives."Non-alcoholic cocktails and beverages allow you to partake in the celebration," she says. Sans alcohol's lingering effects.
For some drinkers, session beers and low-ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktails packing less of a boozy punch are better options than hard-hitting drinks, but for others, zero alcohol is a clear choice. The movement towards wellness may be one driver. Or perhaps a growing awareness about clean living. Whatever the reason, the trend isn’t just a passing fancy. "I see non-alcoholic options, in general, booming," says Mlynarczyk.
From Cava to Champagne
And winemakers are heeding the call with plenty of sparkling options, produced using traditional winemaking methods, then de-alcoholized. Like Élivo Zero Zero Deluxe Non-Alcoholic Sparkling White Wine, resembling Champagne, made with chardonnay grapes ($24.99, amazon.com); Lussory Organic Sparkling Non-Alcoholic Wine, a pale, elegant cava brut made from airen grapes ($21, winesformothers.com); and Señorio de la Tautila Espumoso Rosado Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé Wine, a refreshing rosé made from tempranillo grapes ($17, beclink.com)—all produced in Spain.
Flavorwise, many non-alcoholic wines are on the dry side and toasty, without the yeasty notes of fermentation, Mlynarczyk says, though one of her favorites, Pierre Chavin Perle Rosé Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine ($18, beclink.com), a chardonnay grape blend produced in France with the extract of natural roses, has some lovely floral notes. Its white counterpart—Pierre Chavin Perle Blanc Non-Alcoholic Sparkling White Wine ($18, beclink.com)—is refreshing and balanced. She's also partial to Proteau's sparkling red called Rivington Spritz ($19.50, drinkproteau.com) a botanical beverage made with hibiscus and chamomile flowers, Chinese rhubarb, gentian, strawberries, a hint of artisanal vinegar—and no added sugar. "It's similar in flavor profile to a Lambrusco which I love," Mlynarczyk says.
Suitable for Every Occasion
No-surprise, these quaffs are perfect for any cocktail hour, dinner, or special occasions. (Take a hike, club soda.) "They're great alone as an aperitif, but I think most winemakers that are producing these non-alcoholic versions have food pairings in mind when they are blending."
And there are other refreshing, zero-alcohol beverages on the market, including TÖST ($36.99 for a pack of three bottles, amazon.com) a dry, naturally sweetened, fizzy beverage with the complexity of alcoholic drinks. Made from organic blue agave, white tea, white cranberry concentrate, ginger extract, and quinine, it can be sipped on its own or mixed into cocktails.
One other thing to bear in mind with many of these alcohol-free sparklers: The bubbles don't hold as long as their boozy fermented counterparts. By design, explains Mlynarczyk, they have less "pop." The solution, however, is at hand. "I recommend crushing a bottle rather than trying to recap it for the next day," she says.