Wine makes up around 15% of the non-alcoholic beverage market (second behind non-alcoholic beer)... but it's the sector that has the most room for growth, in our opinion.
The Zero Proof has sampled many non-alcoholic wines and we haven't loved any of them. They either tasted too sweet and juicy or lacked any real character.
That's no slight to the companies making non-alcoholic wine. It's an extremely difficult drink to make without alcohol.
Winemakers obsess over the vines and soil, pick grapes at just the right time, extract the juices, then age the juice for years to achieve the desired outcome. It's an incredible art form that yields a delicious, complex and living product to the end drinker.
So we were thrilled with how complex and delicious Oddbird sparkling wines were "liberated from alcohol" as the company says.
In addition to the excellent flavor, Oddbird's wines are gorgeously packaged. The bottles are beautiful and thick. And the labels connote sophisticated luxury. You could mix these bottles in with any fancy champagne on the shelves and they would fit right in.
We tasted three different sparklings from Oddbird:
Blanc de Blancs (France)
The company also makes a red wine - Domaine de la Prade made with merlot and shiraz grapes. But we haven't tasted it yet.
We'll start with the Blanc de Blancs:
Blanc de Blancs is a type of champagne made exclusively from white grapes (often Chardonnay). And the flavor is typically crisp with some minerality.
The Oddbird Blanc de Blancs is made from 100% Chardonnay and is matured for up to 12 months.
The wine was yeasty with some musty grape- excellent characteristics. It had a light sweetness, great bubbles and a wonderful, overall balance. The acidity was also on point.
Overall, the Blanc de Blancs tasted delicious! And it was impressively complex - a wine you can actually taste and pick apart the different notes.
Next we tasted the Spumante:Spumante is simply an Italian sparkling wine. Prosecco is the best known in the category.
And Oddbird's Spumante is made with 100% Prosecco (or Glera) grapes.
This hit all the typical notes of a Spumante - sweeter and tart with strong green apple notes.
The drink finished a bit flat on the palate, as opposed to the other two sparklings that really left you with some flavor to savor.
Finally, we drank the Rosé:
Oddbird's Rosé is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. And they absolutely nailed the color of the wine.
The Rosé was dry and the least sweet of the three sparklings. The wine was crisp with notes of citrus and straw. And you could actually pick up the flavors from the different grapes.
Like any good Rosé, this is a porch pounder (something you can drink a lot of).
While drinking the Rosé, one of our tasters proclaimed "I don't miss the alcohol one bit." Which is about the highest praise you can give a non-alcoholic beverage... and it speaks volumes of the thought and care Oddbird puts into crafting these non-alcoholic wines.
To date, Oddbird produces the finest, non-alcoholic wines we've tasted. Unfortunately, you can't yet buy Oddbird in the states (the company is based in Sweden). But you can find some bottles on European websites for about $16.
But we'll let you know as soon as this wine comes stateside.