To be very honest with you, I always had a certain prejudice for biodynamic or natural wines. I was thinking that most of them get funky very easily and you really don’t know what to expect when opening a bottle. I once tasted 2 bottles, from the exact same batch and they had NOTHING in common. So yes, I usually prefered the stability and security of conventional wines when it came to choosing a bottle. But a very good organic wine, with no added sulfites made me change my mind.
First, what are sulfites? Why are they added (or not) to a wine?
“Contains sulfites” is often seen on a bottle. It indicates that that wine contains sulfur dioxide (SO2) which is widely used in winemaking as a preservative. It is antioxidant, antibacterial and helps preventing oxidation of the wine. Consuming big amounts of sulfites may alter the taste of the wine, causes headache. But wine contains approximately 10 times less sulfites that dried fruits and the small quantities added are carefully regulated. A glass or two, now and then, cannot hurt, unless you’re one of the few people allergic to it.
As explained earlier, sulfites stabilise the wine. Without, it may be hard to predict how the wine will evolve in the bottle. Thus, the wine often needs to be decanted to open up . It may also get funky aromas and usually doesn’t age well. Nevertheless, some producers managed to make very nice stable wines without addition of sulfites. Here’s a good example!
Cave de Tain, Mouvement Perpétuel 2017
Cave de Tain in a cooperative winery in Tain L’Hermitage, in the northern Rhone Valley, France. For this Crozes Hermitage, the grapes are organic and there are no added sulphites during the vinification process. The result is crunchy with fine tannins and intense aromas of ripe fruits (blackberries, blueberries, cherries) with a touch of violet.
Ideal pairing for a charcuterie and cheese platter to share with friends 😉
Wines without sulfites are best to be consumed within 2 years after harvest. So hurry up to get the best of the 2017 vintage of Mouvement Perpétuel!