We’ve got a real seasonal treat this month: L.A. Brewery’s English Blush is one of the nicest rosés I’ve tasted in a while. This beautiful pink fizz hasn’t been through a de-alcoholisation process because it isn’t wine – it’s kombucha. I guess Louise Avery (the founder of L.A. Brewery) was inspired by pink Champagne in mind when she created it.
Kombucha is quite difficult to get right: it can easily end up unbalanced or unstable, but a skilful brewer can create a wonderfully refreshing and complex drink. English Blush is brewed in Suffolk, and has added extracts of fruits, including strawberry, rhubarb and elderflower. In this case everything works together and I found a lovely Victoria plum and berry character. This is a real stealth drink, too: I drank it from a champagne glass and no-one even noticed it was alcohol-free.
The April box also has two great wines in it: Odd Bird Domaine de la Prade Chardonnay and JM da Fonseca 0%RIGINAL Syrah.
The Chardonnay comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France. It’s an organic wine, which is nice, and is aged for a year, which means it has more than just fruit flavours: you can taste gentle nutty and spicy notes as well as the crisp citrus and apple flavours typical of Chardonnay. It also has Chardonnay’s typical weight and smoothness.
The Syrah is from Portugal, and is one of my favourite reds. The company has been a family business since 1834 and if you go to Setubal you can dine in the old family house, which has been turned into a restaurant and museum. The current senior winemaker, Domingos Soares Franco, was the first person in Portugal to make alcohol-free wines. This makes JM da Fonseca one of very few wine producers to take alcohol-free wines seriously. Syrah isn’t a native grape to Portugal, but it grows very well there, and is also known to cope well with the de-alcoholisation process. The wine is light, spicy and savoury. It’s definitely a food wine, and (because the tannins are light) it can be chilled (which is how I like it).
The surprise in the box this month is Château delISH sparkling white. You might have tried their alcohol-free spirits, like RumISH and GinISH, but they also make alcohol-free wine. The sparkling white tastes a bit like a Prosecco or a Moscato: it’s a spumante style, grapey, with a touch of sweetness, and is extremely easy to drink. The fact that it’s in a *highly portable can helps.
*cans are great for the environment as they are light and easy to recycle, but from a Wise point of view, the big advantage is that they fit in your bag or even your pocket.