Our Wine editor Rob Buckhaven gives us wine options containing none of the hard stuff (Picture: Getty Images)
It’s never going to happen. Nope, I’m not calling it ‘Slowvember’, you can’t make me, it’s too darn cringy. Nor will you catch me saying ‘Stoptober’, sorry, not sorry. How about No-vember or Oct-no-ber instead?
Listen, I get the sentiment of slowing down, particularly on booze before we ramp things up in December, but does that give us the right to give it a dodgy nickname? No, it doesn’t.
Drinking-wise, slowing down could actually be a better bet than going full hypothermic turkey for a month, which can lead to an overcorrection in merriment the following month.
I mean, who wouldn’t spring back from a month’s abstinence, gasping for the nearest bottle of, well, anything? Here’s what I’m not going to do though, stop people cutting out alcohol altogether if they want to.
So, whether you’re slowing things down for the month or are fully wagon-bound in November, here are my top wine options containing none of the hard stuff.
Please, just don’t call it Slowvember…
Belle & Co Alcohol Free Sparkling, £3.75, Ocado
I was pleasantly surprised by this one, a carbonated blend of fermented grape juice infused with green tea. It’s a decent dupe for Prosecco, erring on the sweeter side, but with similar soft and bouncy bubbles. A honied note runs through it, and you’ll catch the green tea if you really want to. Top tip, chill it into insignificance.
You can enjoy a glass of alcohol-free fizz thanks to Rob’s suggestions
Cava ‘me too’
B1654, £15, zerozilchzip.com
Top-notch alcohol-free sparkling from an Australian pioneer of non-alcohol wine. The winemaker’s father was ‘Big Kev’, a humble man who was basically the pied piper of zero alcohol. With biscuity and citrus notes, you’re in good hands the minute you put the glass to your lips. They work on the basis of producing an alcoholic wine, based around Chardonnay, stripping out the alcohol and then rebuilding it.
Provence Rosé pretender
LeCap Rosé, £14.99, Lecapwine.com
Ok, so this isn’t strictly zero alcohol, but only we’re dealing with 5%. Made from cold-pressed Merlot grapes, it does a pretty uncanny impression of a Provençale pink, fruity palate and all. Granted, there’s a lick of sweetness, but that could easily be passed off as a trick of the fruit. The acidity balances everything out, making this a genuinely refreshing and convincing Provence dupe.
Napa Chardonnay, nearly
Hand on Heart Chardonnay 0.5%, £16, zerozilchzip.com
This one actually made me triple take, to the point where I had to retaste, well, three times. It’s a buttery belter from a leading Californian winery which, more specifically, delivers buttered popcorn to the nose. They’ve been to the trouble of making an actual wine before removing the alcohol, so it comes across more ‘wine like’ than many. Taste it blind and this could be a full fat Napa Chardonnay.
This does a good impression of a spicy glass of sangria – or warm it up and it’s mulled wine
Gnista Non-Alcoholic Red NOT Wine – Italian Style 0.5%, £14.50, zerozilchzip.com
Attention, this is not a replica red wine. Heck, they even give full disclosure in the name, NOT Wine. In fact, they couldn’t be any clearer. This means it’s been fashioned more like a non-alcoholic spirit, built from the ground up rather than making a wine and deconstructing it. It actually does a good impression of a spicy glass of sangria, or warm it up and it’s mulled wine. Talk about versatile.
Pinot Noir, sort of
Plus & Minus Non-Alcoholic Pinot Noir Red Wine, £10, zerozilchzip.com
Low calories, great taste, antioxidant-rich, not a bad price, what’s the catch? Well, in my book, it’s the no-alcohol part, but abstainers will love this red. The key is the addition of grape skin extract (GSE), and as we know, the skin is where all the health and flavour-giving compounds lurk. They also use top quality South Australian-grown Pinot Noir grapes, dealcoholising the wine and leaving relatively low sugar levels for a dryish finish.
Wine Editor Rob Buckhaven gives us his top recommendations