Fre Sparkling Brut


Fre Sparkling Brut

Brut / Fre NA / <0.5%

California - A balanced alcohol-removed sparkling wine with green apple and ripe pear aromas and crisp flavors of apple and strawberry.

The idea of a non-alcoholic sparkling wine may very well seem like a strange one at first blush. It isn’t the type of drink that many people consume regularly. Seems like an easy enough thing to cut out of your life if, for whatever reason, you are trying to take in fewer calories and less alcohol. But when you think about it further, it could actually be a pretty useful idea. Sparkling wine is typically used for celebratory purposes. Everyone wants to take part in a toast when it occurs at a wedding, on New Year’s Eve, or in another communal setting. But not everybody wants, or is able, to drink booze.

Enter a dealcoholized wine maker like Fre. They have created their own versions of everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and did not stop short of sparkling wine with both a Rose and a Brut on the market. I have previously sampled quite a few of what Fre has to offer. Suffice to say that their varieties come with mixed results, some more worth drinking than others. There is no doubt that they are sourcing quality grapes, with their vineyards operating up and down the California coast, but sometimes more than just alcohol is lost through the vacuum distillation process. Let’s find out through this Fre Sparkling Brut review where this specific variety falls on the spectrum of NA wine.

Fre Sparkling Brut Review

The presentation of this sparkling brut is quite pleasant, with toned down design on the label and a teal theme that is easy on the eyes. Fre does not clutter their bottle with too much marketing material, as other NA brands are prone to do. The only such thing present is the tagline “True happiness lies in the freedom to be yourself.”

On the back, there are tasting notes that I will do my best to ignore until I complete the experience myself, as well as the standard nutritional information. When alcohol is removed, so are much of the calories, and this wine comes in at just 90 per eight-ounce serving, as well as 18 grams of sugar. These are pretty low totals for a wine of this variety.

Poured into the glass, the liquid is a translucent light golden color, with perhaps a tint of bright green. The carbonation is plentiful, as you would expect, and it continues to bubble for quite a long time after pouring, a good sign that this might be a reasonable facsimile of a traditional sparkling wine.

When I did into the aroma it becomes clear why there is that green hue to the appearance. There is a fairly strong tart green apple note on the nose, along with the bubbles that gently tickle the nostrils. This is a scent and taste that I have found quite often in all kinds of dealcoholized white wines. I’m not sure if that tartness is just something that never gets lost in the process or if it’s an easy element for winemakers to imbue to strengthen the flavor profile. It definitely gives me an idea of what to expect on the tongue, because there are no other dominant notes, perhaps some other mixed fruits that are hard to pin down.

On presentation alone, this has all the appearance of a quality sparkling wine. The aroma isn’t exactly what I was expecting, but these are not the keys to answering the question, “Is Fre Sparkling Brut good?” In order to do that, I have to dive in and take the first sip.


Is Fre Sparkling Brut Good?

The assumptions that I formed from the aroma are proven true very quickly upon tasting. The tart green apple hits strongly on the front of the tongue. It isn’t overwhelming by any means, but it is clearly the dominant flavor present. Wading through that to find anything else proves difficult, but if I dig deep enough I get faint notes of pear.

As the wine settles into my mouth a bit more, I can’t actually tell if it is more tart or sweet, which ultimately means that the two elements are balanced pretty well. What I cant tell you is that there is no dry quality at all. I would probably label it as semi-sweet if push came to shove.

The wine is quite active on the tongue as long as you take it down fairly quickly after pouring, otherwise that liveliness dissipates quite a bit, and the texture turns into a silky feel that melts down the sides of the tongue. It is rather pleasant either way, but if you are looking for the bubbly sensation you have to get to it fast.

Mouthfeel and body can be more important than anything in these types of wine, and they are solid here. It goes down light and easy with hardly any bite, which can be present even without the alcohol. The tartness feels like it is going to linger on the finish but ends up dropping off sharply and satisfyingly.

While the nose was a little bit surprising, once I had that information in my mind the tongue followed without many twists and turns. It was a nice middle-of-the-line tasting experience, but there was really nothing there to put it over the top. Let’s find out what this means for my Fre Sparkling Brut rating.


Fre Sparkling Brut Rating

Sparkling wine is something that I have a bit of a difficult time reviewing because it is not something that I super familiar with, only having the opportunity to try it a couple of times a year. I presume that is also the case for most people. The number one thing that turns me off when I do end up with a glass of bubbly in front of me is when it is overly sweet or has any of that syrupy quality. This sparkling brut definitely doesn’t have that. There is a generous amount of sweetness, but it is more pleasant than not. Aside from the tart and sweet balance, the flavor profile is not all that complex, but something doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated in order to be satisfying.

This wine is refreshing, drinkable, and effervescent enough to earn a solid grade from me. However, nothing really stands out to make me recommend it too highly. For these reasons, I will be ending this Fre Sparkling Brut review by giving it 3 out of 5 stars. An overall decent alternative to traditional sparkling wine.


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