I am a big sparkling wine fine. Champagne, crémant, cap Classique, cava, you name it, and I love to sip it. And as a hardcore fizz fan, I really struggle to find a non-alcoholic alternative I can really get behind. Whether it’s too sweet, not carbonated enough, or cloying around my mouth – many non-alcoholic alternatives never quite inspire me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some excellent non-alcoholic and dealcoholised alternatives out there, but I’ve been after an alternative that gets me just as excited as crisp, cold glass of Champagne. I want something that I can dip in and out of that doesn’t make me feel like I’m compromising on the taste and enjoyment I get out of the alcoholic version.
Enter, Wild Idol.
Let me set the scene here. It was a blazing hot summer’s day at Wilderness festival, I was stuffed from lunch and my partner and I headed down to the water’s edge for a break from the festival madness. Like a mirage in the distance, we noticed a jetty set up with bean bags and stripy beach chairs and people leaping in and out of the water drinking something that looked delicious. That’s where the party’s at, I declared.
It was Wild Idol’s bar, exclusively selling sparkling rosé and sparkling white by the bottle, bought to your loungers in an ice bucket filled with ice and cute branded flutes that made me feel like I was sipping rosé at a fancy beach club in the South of France.
I admit, if I was at a regular bar, I probably wouldn’t have ordered a bottle of non-alcoholic, but everyone around me seemed to be enjoying themselves (including model Daisy Lowe and her pals) so I felt obliged to give it a go.
And readers, I was so glad I did. Featuring Müller-Thurgau, Dornfelder and Merlot grape varietals, the result is clean, fruity (but not overly so) and on the right side of effervescent. Hints of grapefruit zest and green apple hit the nose, finishing with the bright, fresh taste of strawberry sorbet and rhubarb. I was sold.
And in case I got swept up in the romantic situation of a lake-side sipping session, I tried Wild Idol once again, this time at home in front of an episode of White Lotus, and it tasted JUST as good.
It’s no surprise Wild Idol has been made (and marketed) so well. The man behind the brand is Paul Beavis, who was formerly MD of Champagne Lanson for 20 years. His expertise has ensured that not only does the juice in the bottle taste good but positioning Wild Idol as a premium drink as opposed to a cheap, last-minute-thought alternative.
The bottle graces drinks lists from the likes of Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge and the Dorchester, and is stocked in high-end retailers including Harrods, Selfridges and Daylesford.
At £29.99, it’s at the higher end of the non-alcoholic wine spectrum, but if you’re really wanting something that tastes as close as the real thing, especially for a special occasion, this is it.