What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 9
Castello di Amorosa Non-Alcoholic Grape Juices
Maybe it’s because so many of us took to imbibing more during our cloistered time at home in the pandemic, but now in the aftermath, there’s been a definite uptick in the thirst for non-alcoholic alternatives.
Which makes Castello di Amorosa’s debut of three new non-alcoholic grape juices all the more timely and on trend now.
The winery may be better known for its wines, as well as its dramatic winery that’s modeled after a 13th century Tuscan castle. But these grape juices will surely add even more luster. That’s how good they are, as I found when I was sent samples recently to try.
Aside from their screw caps, these are nothing like the grape juices found on the shelves of your local supermarket. They come in three varieties: Muscat Canelli Grape Juice, Sparkling Grape Juice Red Blend, and Gewurztraminer Grape Juice. They are packaged in 750ml bottles and are made from the same fine varietals, meaning they each taste markedly different from one another and are not just saccharine-sweet, but boast the sophistication and complexity of actual premium wines. To be sure, these grape juices are definitely as sweet as soda or even dessert wines, so they’re made for sipping, not gulping.
The grape juices are made much like the wines, with the grapes hand-harvested, then pressed, with the resulting juice chilled to 32 degrees. The only difference is that no yeast is added to convert the grape sugars to alcohol.
The Gewurtztraminer Grape Juice possess all the classic characteristics of that varietal — notes of rose petals on the nose, and lychee and honeysuckle on the palate. Made with grapes grown in the Anderson Valley, this grape juice is an ideal partner for spicy Indian, Thai or Sichuan food.
The Sparkling Grape Juice Red Blend is 90 percent Gamay, 5 percent Grenache, and 5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Just lightly fizzy, it has a full-bodied taste of raspberry jam mixed with ripe summer watermelon, which makes it a natural with barbecue.
The Muscat Canelli Grape Juice possess the same orange blossom honey taste of an aged muscat. There’s a depth of pear and honeysuckle, and a nectar-like quality. One sip had me thinking immediately of seared foie gras.
The grape juices are available for $14 each only at the winery or on its web site.
Cheers: These grape juices can actually be aged for up to two years, which will mature their flavors and aromas.
Cameron Hughes Gavi
Spring brings a bounty of fresh asparagus and artichokes — two of the hardest foods to pair wine with. But don’t fret. Just open a bottle of the 2019 Cameron Hughes Piemonte Lot 752, which is ideal with either of them.
I tried a sample bottle with grilled asparagus, and was amazed at how remarkably well this pale straw-hued white wine paired. It’s a quite dry wine, racy and refreshing yet with softness. It tastes of tangelo, honeydew, and minerals.
At an affordable $15 per bottle, it’s a wine to be enjoyed throughout spring and beyond. Find it for sale on the Cameron Hughes web site.
Cheers: The wine is made from Cortese grapes, a variety that dates back to the 17th century. It has long been thought of as Piedmont’s finest white varietal.