Last Saturday we hosted what could very well be South Australia's (maybe even Australia's...) first non-alcoholic wine dinner that focused purely on premium and South Australian made non-alcoholic wines, beers and spirits. In a little nod to finish off 'Dry July' and also because it's 2023, we paired 5 different non-alcoholic wines and a non-alcoholic liqueur against a beautiful 3 course dinner.
In a beautiful and intimate private dining room setting guests slowly arrived one by one and was greeted with an option to enjoy a house made Bush Apple Sour made with the Artisan Distiller's 'The Pretender' Non-Alcoholic Gin or a non-alcoholic American Pale Ale by The Little Bang Brewery. You can feel this sense of slight social anxiety as everyone introduces each other and the small talk kicks off. A note from the restaurant manager says he noticed people drinking their drink a little faster and reaching for a second quite quickly early on in the piece. Either we were all thirsty or old habits die hard as we were hoping to get a shot of placebo 'dutch courage'.
As the last of our guests arrive, I asked everyone to take their seats and settle into the evening. The first of our pairings were poured which was the Sidewood Estate 'Nearly Naked' Sparkling and the Pure Vision Zero Chardonnay. This was paired with a beautiful tuna sashimi dish. The Sidewood Estate 'Nearly Naked' Sparkling is such a unique non-alcoholic sparkling as it was not only the first non-alcoholic wine to be made by a winery in the Adelaide Hills, but it is also a Sauvignon Blanc sparkling. This is something that blew my mind and honestly just works. The 'Nearly Naked' Sparkling is a very dry sparkling with beautiful passionfruit and tropical aromas on the nose. It also has a lovely lemon citrus characteristic, truely enjoyable with the fat from the tuna. The other pairing was a wonderfully vibrant non-alcoholic chardonnay by Pure Vision. Pure Vision use premium organic grapes in their non-alcoholic wines and it makes all the difference. The chardonnay had delicious sense of apple, honeydew and citrus. Making for an interesting pair for the first course.
Onto the second course and we're flying through the evening. Honestly the saying that time flies when you're having fun has never been more right! The next two wines were something that I was very excited to share. The first was Triple Creek 'B1654' Shiraz and the second was Patritti V.NO Sparkling Shiraz. These two non-alcoholic wines were cracking, especially paired against the braised black onyx brisket! Now back to the non-alcoholic reds, If you were ever looking for something that had the same flavour and character as 'the real thing' look no further. Triple Creek 'B1654' Shiraz displays a lovely nose and lush plum and cherry character, good amount of oak shines through along with soft tannin and dry finish. The V.NO Sparkling Shiraz is just something else. Honestly, if you've never tried non-alcoholic wines before and want something that is satisfying, definitely give this a go. Great colour, great mouthfeel, great complexity of Shiraz character, oak and even a touch of tannin. It's just great all round.
Finishing off the night, we had a very cool lightly sparkling non-alcoholic Rose by Barossa Wine Cartel. This was lovely, slightly sweet and had a great balance of citrus to help cut through the dessert. Our last non-alcoholic pairing was the Artisan Distiller's 'The Charlatan' over ice and a squeeze of fresh lime. This was just yum. The Charlatan is a macadamia and hazelnut liqueur that can serve beautifully as an alternative to Frangelico. Nutty with hints of that warm Christmas spice is just the perfect way to finish the night off.
All in all, this is definitely something we would host again. The vibes, conversations and the overall feel of the event was no different to if there was alcohol and with more events where non-alcoholic wines, beers and spirits are present will make it a more inclusive experience for everyone involved. Watch this space for more like this!