Sulfites occur in all wine—as a natural by-product when yeast metabolizes during fermentation. However, the addition of sulfur dioxide to wines is a practice used to reduce oxidization and give wine longer shelf lives, but, these added sulfites have come under scrutiny for a connection to allergies, headaches, and other health concerns. Some wine drinkers and manufacturers even see it as an unnatural addition to a treasured practice. Progressive winemakers have taken this under advisement, and now offer a number of sulfite-free wines.
Along with a growing market demand for wine made from organically grown grapes, the sulfite-free wine category is also booming. You can now find organic and sulfite free options at many wine shops or natural retailers like Whole Foods Market—who sent us several options to try.
1. Pizzolato Merlot – Coming from the rich estate in Treviso, Italy, these hand-harvested organic grapes deliver a deep ruby red color with a slightly violet cast. The medium to full body flavor offers hints of earthy tartness with a bold finish.
2. Pizzolato Cabernet Sauvignon – This organic dry medium to full body Cab also from Pizzolato is lush and supple, with notes of currant, pineapple and cranberry. It's tart and tangy-perfect for the fanciest fare or your favorite pizza.
3. Pizzolato 50% Merlot & 50% Cabernet – Pizzolato does a great job combining its merlot and cabernet in a rich medium bodied blend with ripe berry and toasted coconut notes. Like the Pizzolato Cab and Merlot, this blend is not oak aged and best when consumed young.
4. Spartico Tempranillo – Spain's oldest estate bottled wine comes from the Bodegas Iranzo, the only European vintner that is located within a national reserve park. And that's because the Iranzo Perez-Duque family was making wine there before the park was designated—with a winemaking history dating back to 1335. The organic wine is deep and smoky, with a rich tannin finish.
5. Frey Vineyards Organic Natural Red – Coming from one of California's first organic and biodynamic winery, this blend of Carignan, Zinfandel and Syrah is well balanced, medium bodied and smooth, with a crisp, fruity finish.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: jenny downing