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Being pregnant and working in the wine industry can be challenging – standing tall and carrying boxes of wine is a bit harder than it used to be, and I’ve gotten some… interesting comments from clients. But the no-drink part? It’s honestly not a big deal, especially since the sophisticated, non-alcoholic beverage category has exploded in recent years. I have enjoyed trying new non-alcoholic wines and other fun drinks over the past few months.
My favorite find is the Eins Zwei Zero line from German producer Leitz. I’ve loved the high-quality rieslings from Germany’s Rheingau region for years, so when I saw the non-alcoholic wines popping up on my Instagram feed a few years ago, I was intrigued. And let me tell you – these are some of the best non-alcoholic wines I’ve ever tried. The best of the bunch is the sparkling rosé.
I loved drinking this pink sparkler before I was pregnant at baby showers or events where I wanted to bring a non-alcoholic drink, and I love it even more now.
But first, what is non-alcoholic wine?
True non-alcoholic wine (as opposed to unfermented grape juice or drinks that use it as a base) starts out as regular wine.
Reverse osmosis uses an advanced filter to extract the alcohol based on molecular size. These methods leave a trace (usually less than 0.5%) alcohol, so if you’re not comfortable with that, non-alcoholic wine may not be for you. In the US, anything with less than 0.5% ABV can be labeled non-alcoholic; the rules are slightly different in Europe, so if you are outside the US you may see different terms.
Alcohol plays a major role in the texture and mouthfeel of wine and other beverages. The higher the alcohol percentage of a wine, the fuller and richer it will feel in the mouth. Alcohol can also give a slight impression of sweetness, which can help balance the bitterness of tannins or higher acidity. So when you take alcohol out of wine, you throw it off balance, and it’s really hard to get that back. That’s why it’s so hard to make great non-alcoholic wines, and also why I’m so impressed with this particular bottle.
What’s so great about Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Rosé?
Many non-alcoholic wines I’ve tried taste rather sour, thin or tinny, but Leitz has managed to artfully fill the gap left by alcohol. By using high-quality pinot noir as the base wine for the rosé sparkler, it already starts with a lot of aroma and taste (pinot noir is a particularly aromatic red grape). Wines from this part of the world also tend to have high levels of acidity, which when balanced with these exotic aromas and flavours, such as white peach and Rainier cherry, create a wonderful tension and interest.
The texture of the bubbles is nice and fine too, just like you’d expect in a quality sparkling wine (unlike the bigger, nose-prickling bubbles in soda), and that luxurious, frothy texture really helps fill the gap left by alcohol . I’ve found that the non-alcoholic counterparts of sparkling wine and beer tend to be the most successful because of the textural element added by bubbles, but the Leitz sparklers are in a league of their own.
The other wines in this line are also delicious – lively, aromatic, crisp and refreshing. People always ask me what my favorite wine is, and usually my answer is “anything with bubbly,” so I’m glad I don’t have to give up my beloved bubbly while we wait to meet our new family member.
Do you have a favorite non-alcoholic wine? Tell us in the comments.