Dinner without wine is like food without salt, unthinkable. I am not, however, totally unaware of my blood pressure and liver, which is why I am such a fan of the non-alcohol wine trend. Indeed, the alcohol-free drinks category is currently the fastest growing beverage sector in South Africa.
We have millennials to thank for this – them and the generation following them, whatever they’re called. It’s not just SA, studies show an increasing rejection of alcoholic drinks amongst these youngsters worldwide. There’s nothing like millions of people shunning your product to galvanize you into exploring new avenues! Much as I love wine-wine, I am utterly delighted with this development and alcohol-free wines now regularly make an appearance at my weekday dinner table.
The folks at Robertson Winery have a bit of a rep for being pioneering, innovative and forward thinking. So they were early adopters of this trend with the release of white and pink non-alcoholic sparkling wines back in 2012, both sweet. There’s nothing wrong with sweet sparkling wines, it’s just that I’ve been scarred. Years of too many appalling weddings in too many depressing school halls serving too much overly sweet, room-temperature sparklers will do that to you. It’s like Robertson heard me, because they’ve just come to the party with the release of a non-alcoholic white sparkling wine that’s dry. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Now if you know anything about the Robertson area, you’ll know it has lime-rich soils capable of producing wines of elegance and finesse. Science is not my thing, so let’s skip that part and just say that very clever people removed the alcohol from this wine in such a way that the fruity aromas and vibrant flavours have been preserved.
It’s delightfully dry with a vivacious sparkle. Gorgeous notes of pear and mandarin come to the fore, accompanied by hints of orange blossom and honeysuckle. You could try to spot this, or you could just kick back by the pool; on the beach; under a tree with a book and enjoy it for what it is – a brilliant indulgence that offers all the joy of a normal sparkler without any of the guilt or repercussions. Serve it icy cold to maximise its flavours and preserve its bubbles. Where can you find it? Countrywide, selling at the R50-R55 price point, so crack a bottle or two.
Robertson’s non-alcoholic dry bubbles. The perfect poolside companion. And no, sadly this is NOT an image of me. They asked of course, but I declined…