Wine sales might have gone through the roof last year, but the trend drinking less alcohol is definitely here to stay. Luckily, more and more wines are made without alcohol whilst retaining the typical taste of wine. Consequently, they have made an entry at my house too, and I am pretty happy with most I have tasted so far.
The wine industry is making huge strides into non-alcoholic winemaking, with quality of the wines rising year after year.
Whilst non-alcoholic wines in the early days were more reminiscent of fruit juices than wine, new techniques and a better understanding of making zero-alcohol wines resulted in a new type of non-alcoholic wines still retaining the typical flavours of wine.
Frankly though, you should not look out for a zero-alcohol wine that rivels the very best what’s on offer in the world of wine. It’s unlikely they will ever reach that level. But go for a good quality non-alcoholic wine and there’s a good chance you are going to be quite pleasantly surprised.
That said, if you are looking to reduce your alcohol intake or need to drive after your lunch/dinner, have a nice glass (or even two or three) of alcohol-free wine without having to worry.
With reviews getting definitely more positive and some zero alcohol wines starting to receive awards from renowned wine critics and notable wine guides, non-alcoholic wines have become a feature at my house too.
Among my absolute favourites so far are the elegant alcohol-free wines from Weingut Leitz, one of the leading German wineries from the renowned Rheingau wine region. Their Eins-Zwei-Zero range includes a Riesling, a white cuvee, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a rosé along with a sparkling Riesling and sparkling rosé.
With temperatures here getting definitely summer-like, I chose to taste the sparkling rosé and Riesling.
About Leitz Winery
The beautiful, half-timbered Rüdesheim am Rhein is one of the most iconic winemaking medieval towns in Germany. It is well known for its famous Drosselgasse, a small cobble-stoned lane lined with small shops, wine bars and restaurants not only in Germany but also internationally. Which on the other hand means the little town – in normal times – is jam packed with tourists.
That said, any winery located in Rüdesheim can definitely be considered a winner. The area, part of the prestigious Rheingau wine region is particularly well known for making excellent Riesling wines.
The Leitz family looks back at a winegrowing tradition that started in 1744. That said, after being destroyed during World War II, it was current owner Johannes Leitz granddad rebuilding the winery. It was kept in the family under difficult conditions until in 1985 Johannes Leitz took over the reins.
The round about 130 hectares of Weingut Leitz are planted 95% to Riesling with the remaining 5% being Pinot Noir.
Despite concentrating mainly on one variety, the winery produces a wide range of different Rieslings (and few other varieties) thanks to the different locations of the vineyards. With some among the best in the Rheingau and Germany as a whole, including the well-regarded Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz, Bischofsberg, Berg Rottland, Berg Schlossberg, Rüdesheimer Kirchenpfad and Rüdesheimer Drachenstein.
Since 1996, Leitz winery is member of the prestigious German VDP association, representing only wineries that adhere to a very thorough quality process in winemaking and are therefore among the very best in the country.
Weingut Leitz has indeed won many awards for their wines, and among those holds five stars in the Gault Millau since 2019, the guides’ highest accolade for wine.
Leitz zero-alcohol Riesling and Sparkling Rosé – Tasting Notes
The Leitz non-alcoholic wine range is based on the winery’s’ Eins-Zwei-Dry range – a pun on the one-two-three countdown. In German, it would be Eins-Zwei-Drei with the later pronounced in the same way as you pronounce dry.
The Ein-Zwei-Dry range is dubbed to be the perfect entry point for those unfamiliar with Riesling wines, with the zero-alcohol range a logical spin-off.
This non-alcoholic Riesling is made from a finished Riesling wine. For dealcoholisation, the wine is lightly heated to 27°C in a vacuum evaporator which eliminates the alcohol whilst the wine aromas are retained.
The wine was awarded five stars in the German wine guide Eichelmann in 2018, the highest ranking in the guide.
In the glass, a pale straw yellow.
On the nose, typical aromas of lime and citrus with hints of apples and pears.
On the palate, well-balanced, very fresh with hints or rhubarb and red apples followed by a refreshing mineral component. Dry and long finish.
Eins-Zwei-Zero Sparkling Rosé
The Leitz Einz-Zwei-Zero sparkling rosé is made from a sparkling rosé made from a cuvee of merlot, Portugieser (an old variety thought to originate in the Danube Valley still commonly grown in Germany) and pinot noir grapes and de-alcoholised with the vaporization method.
In the glass, an intense dark salmon rosé with lively perlage.
On the nose, aromas of rose hip and raspberry.
On the palate, a high residual sweetness with a light and straightforward body. Fresh and fruity.
Eins-Zwei-Zero Wine and Food Pairing
With both wines from the Leitz zero-alcohol range made by eliminating the alcohol through the vaporisation method, retaining the original flavours of Riesling and sparkling rosé, the wines pair very well with the same food you would choose for the same wines with alcohol.
Therefore, fish and seafood would work well as would white meats, chicken, and spicy Asia dishes.
I have chosen to pair the wines with a delicate coconut-lemon chicken and its mild oriental flavours worked very well in particular with the Riesling.
Typically, sparkling wines would also pair well with this dish, as they can handle Asian flavours very well (including spicy dishes). However, I would recommend having the slightly sweet Leitz zero-alcohol sparkling rosé as aperitive rather than pairing it to food.
Recipe: Coconut-lemon Chicken
This delicious one-pot coconut-lemon chicken is super simple to be put together and packed with flavours.
I usually serve it over Basmati rice, which is perfect to soak up the delicious sauce.
2 chicken legs
2 chicken breasts with skin
1 organic lemon
1 green chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
400 ml coconut milk
350 ml poultry stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper for seasoning
Preheat oven to 210°C.
Cut the chicken breasts in half across, season chicken breasts and legs with salt and pepper.
Wash the lemon under hot water than cut in four pieces. Half the tomatoes horizontally. Cut the chili in half by the length, remove the seeds.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cloves, and lemon slices. Sear from all sides until brown, then remove to a plate. Add tomatoes with the cut side set down to the same skillet and sear a few minutes until slightly brown, then remove.
Remove oil from the skillet.
To the same skillet, add coconut milk, poultry stock, chili, brown sugar, and seared cloves. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Take from the heat, add the chicken back to the sauce and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 25 minutes, also add lemon and tomatoes.
Take out of the oven and let rest for a few minutes.
Serve with Basmati rice.