As the end of Dry January is coming up, I am often left thinking that making better choices in the beverages we enjoy should be a consistent habit.
Non-Alc, low-alc, low-sugar, and light-strength drinks are available year-round, so for this year, if you are with me, let’s get into some new choices for ourselves with some new sips to enjoy. So we can cheer to go light, pour ourselves a glass of zero proof or even sip on a beverage full of flavour but also low in sugar.
Full Flavour, Low Sugar
Looking at low-alcohol options is not all that’s on the menu for those looking to make better choices. Going for lower sugar choices in wine is also an option. Under 5g/L, you are drinking a dry wine. However, low sugar means getting as close to zero as possible. And there is a lot out there that fits the bill without ever sacrificing flavour.
The Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay is a classic wine that always delivers and is a low-sugar option. The 2022 vintage has just been released to celebrate the 30th vintage of the Mer Soleil Winery, and the Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay tells this winery’s story through every sip. Coming from the sun-soaked coastal vineyards in Monterey, with most grapes growing alongside hundreds of lemon trees in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The winemaker likes to think that the lemon tree pollen lends the distinctive lemon meringue aromas for which this wine is known. It also clocks in at just under 2g/L of sugar, but you would never know it.
Wilda is making spirits that are not only low in sugar but also low in alcohol and better for people and the planet. The Wilda Bee Friendly Natural Spritzer in Cherry flavour is bright and refreshing with a touch of cherry flavour mixed with complex undertoned fermented honey and soft spice notes. And while the flavour will keep you sipping where you serve Wilda Cherry over ice or have it solo, the story behind the brand keeps people coming back for more. For Wilda, crafting intentional drinks that are inclusive of our planet is the goal.
ONES is all about inclusivity. The Canadian wine brand, started in BC by friends turned business partners Chris and Tyles, focuses on making great alcoholic wines with no additional sugars. The ONES has a great lineup and has recently started serving their sparkling wines in cans, too. The ONES Red Sparkling is filled with blackberry and pomegranate notes, with a flavourful finish and light structure on the palate. Non-alc options often have more sugar than expected, but ONES are dry, delicious, and perfect for having a solo or mixed-up in a spritz-style cocktail.
Pouring A Glass Of Zero Proof
Zero proof, AKA non-alcoholic beverages, have become a blooming category over the last ten years. When it comes to understanding non-alc wines, beers and spirits, it is all about finding balance in the drink. Often, these products are not about imitation; they bring a sense of flavour and place to the glass that has reminiscent qualities. Within this category, you can find drinks with 0.5%ABV and under to none; the best non-alc options are on the market for all of us to sip and enjoy right now.
The Libra Non-Alcoholic Pale Ale is an excellent choice on multiple fronts. With a delicious and satisfying taste that is malty, citrus-filled, and with a touch of tropical hopped aromas, this pale ale also sits at 30 calories per serving. On top of all of that, this is a product that gives back with 1% of profits donated to ArtHaus. From PEI in Canada, this Libra is about creating great beverages; the proof is in every sip. Plus, you can always dive into the many more non-alc beers on offer at Libra.
Fully non-alc, and the Feragaia Alcohol-Free Spirit is an original through and through. In a newly designed and larger bottle at 700mL, Feragaia brings to life the moment you step off the path. Combining 14 different land and sea botanicals and hand-crafted in Scotland, Feragaia is filled with notes of wildflowers, citrus, black current left, chamomile, pink peppercorn, and herbal touches. Its depth and complexity mark it the perfect non-alc spirit for cocktails that need a good backbone, for example, a non-alc take on an Old Fashioned.
Touted as the newest answer to non-lac Prosecco Rosé is the Nozeco De-Alcoholized Rosé. Coming from the Bordeaux region of France, this non-alc bubbly is filled with intense aromas of redberry fruits, strawberries and raspberries. Followed by a lively but expansive palate with some persistent bubbles and a touch of luxury. Its balance and charm make the Nozeco Rosé shine, making it a great wine to serve with many options.
Coming from one of Chile’s most recognized wine brands, the Tarapacá De-Alcoholized Sauvignon Blanc is a mindful de-alcoholized Sauvignon Blanc that delivers in the glass. This is a non-alcoholic wine with a sense of place captured within every sip. Expressing the nature of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, the Tarapacá De-Alcoholized Sauvignon Blanc is filled with citrus fruit, pineapple and peach aromas. This wine is fresh and flavourful on the palate, with a good balance of acidity and sweetness. This is the better-for-you wine sommeliers dream of.
That’s right, the makers of The Good Bubbly and The Good Rosé are at it again. Saintly has released a new wine in their catalogue, the Saintly Heavensent Sparkling Non-Alcoholic Rosé. 0.0%ABV This fully non-alc production showcased aroma notes of raspberry, strawberry, and watermelon, with a touch of red flowers and just a pinch of peach and tropical lychee fruits. Followed on the palate by fine bubbles and a bright and balanced finish, this wine is an ideal party opener; it is the choice for all those aperitif moments.
Cheers To Going Light
Going light can mean a lot. Light can mean something different for each category, from beer and cider to whiskey and other full-strength spirits. A light wine is below 9% ABV (alcohol by volume). While there are a lot of wines out there that do fit this criteria, the brands pushing to create bespoke productions with lower levels of alcohol are what the light category of wine is all about.
At 7%ABV, the Sidney Pinot Grigio is firmly within the light range for wine. Part of a lineup that includes Cabernet Sauvignon and a Rosé to match Sidney is a premium brand all about moderation from Canada. The Sidney Pinot Grigio is bright and lively, with notes of white peach, nectarine, grapefruit, and bold Meyer lemon. Finish with a soft spritz and a significantly lifted palate; this wine is a refreshing take on what light wine can be.