Dry January is quite the thing now.
Are you in?
To be honest, I am not a convert yet. In fact, I think there is now a more desirable option to reduce the consumption of alcohol: Non-alcoholic wines and spirits.
OK, I hear you. But wait. Let me tell you a bit more about it all.
What started quite a while back with non-alcoholic beer has more recently swapped into the world of wine and spirits. Like non-alcoholic beers in the early days, these products have received their fair share of scepticism.
Indeed, at the beginning winemakers and distillers had to learn how to make a good quality product less the alcohol, and some of the early negative reviews were certainly justified.
But no longer. Look around and you will find a lot of excellent non-alcoholic drinks to choose from.
That boast in quality is largely down to improved methods removing the alcohol from finished wines that at the same time allow to preserve (or better to put back) the aromas.
Improved production methods and a growing demand for non-alcoholic wines means that around the world, many notable winemakers have added a no-alcohol range to their portfolio. And I am more than pleased one of my personal favourites, Weingut Metzger has joined the ride with their excellent Drink n’Ride Secco. Yes, pun intended.
Background: What is a Secco?
The word ‘Secco’ has started to creep into the German winemaking scene over the past few years.
Secco sometimes is still mistaken as ‘non-alcoholic sparkling wine’. Which is likely down to the fact that Seccos are usually low in alcohol and many are indeed made with no alcohol content. However, a Secco in itself is not a non-alcoholic drink. And whilst they contain bubbles and most Secco bottles resemble those of sparkling wines, according to the German wine law, they do not qualify as full-fledged sparkling wine.
The German wine law defines Secco as ‘semi-sparkling wine which has an excess of carbon dioxide compared to still wines’.
What sounds a bit funny actually describes the production method. To produce a Secco, the carbon dioxide which escapes during the fermentation of grape must to wine is put back into the bottle after fermentation. Another way to make Secco is to use CO2 from sources other than the wine itself. In this case the wine needs to be labelled ‘semi-sparkling wine with added carbon dioxide’.
A Secco typically has 1 to 2.5 bar pressure and is relatively low in alcohol. This is different to sparkling wines, which typically contain at least 3, and up to 6, bar of carbonic acid pressure. Plus, sparkling wines receive their CO2 from second fermentation, which is the most important difference between a sparkling wine and a Secco.
Of course, Seccos can be de-alcoholised and there is now a growing number of these being produced.
About Metzger Winery
Weingut Metzger is located in the veritable Pfalz wine region in the south-west of Germany.
It is an area home to a large range of excellent wineries, with many of them looking back at a long history. This along with a fantastic, continuously evolving culinary scenery, including a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, lovely boutique hotels and lots of local events evolving around wine makes it a favourite place for wine tourists and those that simply want to enjoy life.
Weingut Metzger itself is looking back at a long tradition, having been handed down in the family over many generations. Yet the winery is also one of the shooting stars of the past decade.
The more recent success is unquestionably based on the outstanding wine-making skills of current owner Uli Metzger. Plus, a good part of it is down to his creative mind when it comes to marketing. Taking over the winery in 2010 from his parents, he not only renewed the wine portfolio. He also decided to put a new label on his bottles. Using his own name as the main hook – Metzger means butcher in German – he ended up putting a cow (or sometimes a bull) on each of his bottles. In the process he even created his own quality system.
If you want to learn more about this very unique classification and Metzger Winery in general, check out my post Wine@Home: A virtual trip to Weingut Metzger.
Metzger Winery today produces a large range of excellent wines including several of Germany’s most notable grape varieties. And then there is also the non-alcoholic Drink n’Ride Secco.
Drink n’Ride Traubensekt, Weingut Metzger
It is perhaps unsurprising to see one of the leaders in innovation in the German wine-making guild jumping on the bandwagon of non-alcoholic drinks.
The non-alcoholic Metzger Drink n’Ride Traubensekt – literally meaning grape bubbly – is a great alternative to classic sparkling wines when you are looking for something without alcohol. It is made with added carbon dioxide from Müller-Thurgau and Scheurebe grapes, two grape varieties created in Germany by crossing of different varietals and whilst both are quite popular in Germany, internationally they are often overlooked.
Both grape varieties produce enjoyable, easy-to-drink flowery wines that are usually enjoyed best when young. In the case of the Drink n’Ride Secco, the result is a fruit-forward semi-sparkling wine with aromas of apples, black current, mango, and grape with a light hint of nutmeg.
It is also a tiny bit more on the sweeter side but definitely not unpleasantly though; and that comes from a person who prefers the Brut segment.
Wines from Müller-Thurgau and Scheurebe grapes are also quite versatile and pair to a range of different foods, and so does the Drink’nRide Secco. Think salads, vegetables, freshwater fish, seafood, pasta, risotto, poultry, and roasted pork. In addition, they also work well with dessert.
Since it is produced without alcohol, this Secco is great to be enjoyed at any time of the day. In fact, thinking of it, I might reserve a bottle for this year’s Easter breakfast. It would certainly make a great pairing and no qualms starting to drink in the morning either!
Did you ever taste a non-alcoholic sparkling wine (or any other non-alcoholic wine) yet? Did you like it?