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Tasting notes: January’s alcohol-free choices for the wine occasion

By Posted in Drinks

January’s Wine Club subscription box from Club Soda should be landing on your doormat this week. If you’re signed up to get the box, here are some tasting notes to what you’ll discover inside.

But if you’re not a subscriber, you don’t have to miss out on our choices. In the UK, the three wines we’ve chosen this month are available to order from our friends at Wise Bartender, and you can buy Jukes direct from their website. You can find other stockists worldwide here.

We’re starting 2022 with three classics: a fizz, a white and a red that will work for you right through the year. January is an excellent time to experiment, and the Jukes Cordialities in your box this month are two of the most unusual and delicious drinks I’ve ever tried.

Tasting notes for January

La Gioiosa Sparkling

In the last few years, Prosecco has become one of the best-loved sparklers. A few versions have the alcohol removed, but La Gioiosa is not dealcoholised. Instead, it’s made entirely without alcohol, so nothing has to be taken away. This method works very well and makes a delightful Italian-style fizz.

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Tasting notes: Baked apples and spice. Some sweetness in the middle but it ends quite dry with some salty savouriness at the end. Classic Italian sparkling wine in a prosecco style.

Buy from Wise Bartender

Darling Cellars DC Sauvignon Blanc

We’ve featured wines from Darling Cellars before, and they have always been popular. This group of 20 farmers based in the Darling region of South Africa seems to have the gift of making dealcoholised wines taste authentic. They are one of my most trusted producers, and their Sauvignon Blanc is another success.

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Tasting notes: Classic Sauvignon Blanc aromas of gooseberry, green pepper, kiwi fruit, asparagus. There’s a touch of creaminess and a little touch of smokiness.

Buy from Wise Bartender

Ebony Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

I had never come across Ebony Vale until we got samples a few weeks back. It’s made by German producer Reh Kendermann (they also make Black Tower). It’s still somewhat unusual to find red wines from Germany (in fact, there are plenty, but most of them are drunk before they can be exported). Ebony Vale is a typically light and fresh style and works very well without alcohol.

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Tasting notes: A straight-down-the-middle dealcoholised red wine. Simple and easy-going. Soft, fruity blackcurrant and a touch of honey. A little bit of grassiness which is characteristic of cabernet sauvignon.

Buy from Wise Bartender

Jukes Cordialities 1 and 6

Our alternative to wine this month is quite special. Jukes Cordialities have been created by the well-known wine writer Matthew Jukes. His whole career has been built on wine, and I admire him for committing so much effort (not to mention his reputation) to create an alcohol-free alternative.

The Cordialities are based on apple cider vinegar – but don’t be put off: they taste incredibly wine-like. They are also one of the most convenient alcohol-free products I’ve ever seen. The cute bottles are hardly bigger than lipstick, yet once diluted, they make two very generous glasses. If you haven’t tried these before, I think you will be surprised and impressed.

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Tasting notes for Jukes 1: A fruit blend made with Italian apple cider vinegar, but it doesn’t taste of vinegar. Completely different from anything we’ve tasted. Aromas of peas, barley sugar, pea shoots, chestnuts. Delicious.

Visit Jukes’ website

Get tasting notes for next month’s Wine Club

If you want to take the guesswork out of buying alcohol-free wine, sign up for Club Soda’s Wine Club subscription. Next month, you’ll get a handpicked selection of delicious and interesting alcohol-free wines and other drinks for the wine occasion. Sign up today.

And if you want to try before you buy, come along to Club Soda’s Alcohol-Free Off-Licence at 59 Great Portland Street, London. In-store, you’ll find an extraordinary variety of alcohol-free drinks for every occasion, and the helpful team can guide you to the best choices for you. There really is something for everyone.

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