Wine and Dine with Some Good Clean Fun
A Wine For Your Next Asian Takeout: 2018 Luminara Alcohol-Removed Chardonnay
-Some Good Clean Fun
The Luminara brand has been much lauded in online conversations and product reviews, so the news their non alcoholic Chardonnay has finally landed in Canada through Better Rhodes Canada was exciting.
Luminara alcohol-removed wine is made in the Napa Valley appellation, with 100% of its grapes grown in the region. The provenance of non alcoholic wine is an important fact, as prior to the surge in popularity and innovation of non alcoholic wine, most products lacked geographical claims or even varietal information. As the industry becomes more sophisticated, terroir and vintage are things consumers should be looking for in premium non alcoholic wine.
This Chardonnay is from the 2018 vintage, which was an unparalleled growing season in Napa. Cooler spring weather, consistently warm weather throughout the summer with very few spikes of extreme heat and a very late harvest helped contribute to a yield of grapes with complex flavours and aromas.
As non alcoholic wine gets better and better, winemakers are perfecting the experience for non drinkers and it really starts with opening the bottle. The aroma of the 2018 Luminara Chardonnay will definitely bring back memories. The nose is almost identical to a full-bodied alcoholic Chardonnay. You’ll find notes of buttery stone fruit with just a tiny hint of oak which is heavenly for former Chardonnay lovers.
Luminara uses spinning cone technology to remove the alcohol from fully fermented wine, an innovation also used by award-winning nonalcoholic wines from Australia. The care and perfection that went into this product is evident on the palette, as you’ll find absolutely no chemical aftertaste.
The perfect 2018 vintage shines through in this very ripe white. There are strong notes of pineapple, tropical fruit and a hint of oak which is common for some Napa vintages. There is a bit of a conflict on the palette, as the tropical fruit is slightly overblown and buries the complexity of the other flavours. As with most non alcoholic white wines, there is very little length on the palette, but it’s still an enjoyable and juicy wine.
This wine will pair best with salty and spicy Asian foods. The pineapple notes will be a perfect accompaniment to dishes like peanut satays, Szechuan noodles or Kung Pow chicken. Keep the wine chilled in an ice bucket while dining, to ensure the wine doesn’t become too flabby while you’re enjoying your meal!
The 2018 Luminara Alcohol-Removed Chardonnay is available through Better Rhodes Canada for $25.99. They are currently offering free shipping on orders over $100 to Ontario and Quebec, so stock up on a few bottles of this wine for the summer!
Wander + Found Non Alcoholic Cuvee Blanc: A Joy To Drink
-Some Good Clean Fun
It’s a common quest for women who are rethinking drinking: finding a good non alcoholic white wine that can replace their usual Pinot or Chardonnay. Over the past few months, we’ve reviewed the growing selection of non alcoholic white wines available in Canada and we’ve liked (if not loved) almost all of them. We have another top favorite to add to the list and that is the new Wander + Found Cuvee Blanc.
Many will associate the word cuvee with sparkling wine, and particularly a higher quality ‘first-pressed’ style of sparkling. The actual definition of cuvee has multiple meanings and can apply to both still and sparkling. Outside of sparkling wine, cuvee is simply a particular blend of wine with more than one grape variety. In fact, Merriam-Webster defines it as ‘bulk wine’ blended to ensure uniformity.
The Wander + Found Cuvee Blanc is a blend of still wine that is exclusive to Better Rhodes. The wine is made at the Leitz winery in the Rheingau region in Germany as a Blanc de Blanc style white. Unfortunately there is no varietal information on the label of the Canadian version, so it is an educated guess that it’s a blend of primarily Chardonnay, with other dry German aromatics like Silvaner or Riesling.
This non alcoholic wine gets top marks for everything from its label to the nose to the palette. There was nothing about this wine we didn’t like and it is a joy to drink.
On the nose, you’ll find fresh notes of lemon and young grapes - it smells like a premium wine should smell.
The palate is a perfect balance of fresh green apples with a slight hint of citrus and nice minerality which is very welcome in a non alcoholic wine. Notes of gooseberry give it a wonderful zesty zing on your palate. There is an exciting amount of length at the end, which is also a welcome surprise.
Where some non alcoholic whites feel slightly too heavy or too light, the Wander + Found Cuvee Blanc is perfect, with a delightful mouthfeel - almost like a young cremant without the bubbles. You could even say this wine is structured, beyond the usual non alcoholic whites.
The big question…is it sweet or dry? It’s both, in a perfect German-wine way. It has a sweet/dry complexity reminiscent of a great quality Riesling. If you’re looking for a non alcoholic white wine in Canada that’s ‘dry’ then this is going to be the one for you.
It’s available through Better Rhodes Canada for $22.99. They are offering free shipping on orders over $100 to Ontario and Quebec, so we recommend stocking up on several bottles of this beauty before they are gone!
Noughty Rouge: A Non Alcoholic Red Wine That Tops Our Best List
-Some Good Clean Fun
Noughty non alcoholic sparkling wines burst onto the scene in 2020 and have been on bestseller lists ever since. Founder Amanda Thomson and team have brought the brands Sparkling Chardonnay and Sparkling Rose to airlines, hotels and special events around the globe and have received accolades everywhere one of their corks are popped.
With the release of their Noughty Rouge, they’ve made a foray into non alcoholic still wine, and according to Amanda Thomson it’s been many years in the making.
“Quote from Amanda,” said Thomson, who founded Thomson & Scott several years ago before the non alcoholic market had started its explosive growth.
It was worth the wait, as the New York Times wine critic Florence Fabricant recently suggested this wine was “a non alcoholic red wine worth bringing to the party”, and the internet has been abuzz ever since.
Luckily for Canadians, Better Rhodes non alcoholic marketplace has been able to quickly import Noughty Rouge into Canada for us to imbibe on too - a small miracle considering the global supply chain issues.
This beautiful bottle of non alcoholic red wine is 100% Syrah grapes, developed in South Africa where the hot and dry climate grows some of the world’s tastiest Syrah grapes. They boast plenty of fruit forward notes with a ‘voluptuous’ full body (according to Vivino.com) and a healthy amount of tannins.
Note: Fabricant, from the New York Times, suggested chiling Noughty Rouge slightly before drinking so our first tasting was at room temperature followed by a second an hour later after it had chilled.
The nose on Noughty is completely bodacious for a non alcoholic wine, when it’s at room temperature. It’s got a big, juicy aroma and smells identical to a South African Syrah with some soft spicy notes and fresh grapes. It’s sure to bring back some wine glass memories.
The hard work and expertise that went into making this non alcoholic wine is evident on the palette. The dealcoholization process often removes much of the flavours, tannins and complexity in a full-bodied when, so when these things exist in balance it’s something to celebrate.
The expression of Syrah shows through in the gentle notes of leather and raisin mixed with perfectly ripe berries. Not over ripe and not too young, but a perfectly ripe fruit.
When it comes to structure, we can celebrate the evident tannins, which is what makes this wine such an upgrade from many other non alcoholic red wine. The three components of structure are tannins, fruit and alcohol, but in non alcoholic wine you are often left with just the fruit and no tannic backbone.
Where some non alcoholic wines are thin and feel like they’ve been stripped of substance, the mouthfeel on Noughty Rouge is perfectly balanced, and while there is a lack of length which is fairly standard in dealcoholized wine.
Our final thoughts on Noughty Rouge are that this non alcoholic wine drinks like a regular wine in almost every aspect. It’s thoroughly enjoyable and will pair nicely with grilled burgers, pizza, bbq chicken or just a nice mystery novel.