With the start of Real Wine Month on Tuesday (see here for more), there is bound to be a lot of talk about organic, biodynamic and lower sulphite wines. All of these fall under the 'real wine' banner.
Although we've done blogs on this before
, I still think there is some confusion. Partly because there are no standard definitions for a lot of these terms. Let's go through them one by one and see if things become a little clearer.
Lower sulphite wine
Sulphite occurs naturally in all wine to some extent, but sulphite compounds are also used as preservatives and fermentation interrupters in the wine making process. The further the grapes have to travel to the winemaker the more likely they will have use sulpher dioxide to stop them spoiling en route. Wines made at smaller vineyards that produce their own wine or from cooperative wine makers using only locally sourced grapes will therefore contain less sulphites than mass produced wine.
Thus many of our small, artisan wine makers produce lower sulphite wine, but a great example is our champagne maker Bénédicte Jonchère
. They are known as a Récoltant-Manipulant, that is a Champagne producer who actually grows their own grapes. The Grand Reserve Rosé
is a luxurious treat perfect for any special occasion.
This is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with organic principles. Resulting in lower yields due to an absence of commercial fertilizer and lower protection from pests. However, it also means that the grapes will not contain trace of these chemicals and neither will the soil.
The character of the land the vineyard sits on is hugely important in wine. Organic producers believe that the methods preserve more of this character and thus organic wines from artisan producers truly represent their region.
Our Mas Du Soleilla
range is the perfect example of this in practice. The winemaker Peter Wildbolz, holds the greatest respect for the terroir of Le Clape. One of the wines, Le Petit Mars
, is named after the small butterfly that can be found in the local region.
The biodynamic approach to grape growing sees the whole farm as an agro-ecosystem, and aims to get the vineyard into natural balance, with an emphasis on soil health. The resulting wines are organic and low sulphite and often go even further into naturalness by using no cultured yeasts or any added sulpher dioxide.
Chateua Le Puy
has been described as the historical precursor of the natural wine movement, because everything here is done naturally, but it is famous because of the quality of the wines they produce. The 2007 Vintage
is a merlot and carmènére blend is smooth and would be delicious with a hearty meat dish or just enjoyed on its on.