30 Second Wine Advisor: No Sulfites? Well, not many 30 Second Wine Advisor: No Sulfites? Well, not many

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The California Wine Club's last Wine Sale of the year is here, and it's a big one.
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No Sulfites? Well, not many

First, let's get one thing perfectly clear about sulfites in wine: This is a natural process that's been used by winemakers for a couple of thousand years, with the benign purpose of keeping your wine from spoiling before you can drink it.

With the limited exception of sulfite-sensitive asthmatics, who must avoid sausages, pickles and many other good things in addition to wine, most of us needn't worry about it. If you get a headache or a stuffy nose after drinking wine, you may be allergic to something - very likely the histamines in some red wines, or in the case of hangovers, simple over-indulgence. But it's not the sulfites.

But the scary warning label, added to wine by government fiat as recently as the 1990s, prompts reactions that range from wary to hysterical among some wine consumers. So at least a few producers, not loath to latch on to a concept that sells, produce wines with no added sulfites.

Note that word "added": Wine with zero sulfites is an unlikely thing, because they are a natural product of fermentation, naturally created when the wine is made.

Accordingly, under new regulations for organic-wine labeling - featured in the July 24, 2009 30 Second Wine Advisor, Organic Labeling ... or not? - wine may be labeled "no sulfites" if the winery provides federal regulators an analysis from a certified laboratory showing "none detectable" at the parts per million level. The feds also must approve specific label art and wording in an effort to ensure that consumers aren't misled.

Those regs now limit the unmodified word "organic" to wine made from organically grown grapes and containing no added sulfites.

So say hello to Nevada County Wine Guild's "Our Daily Red" California Table Wine, which in the 2008 edition meets these strict standards. It's labeled "Organic No Sulfites Detected," "Certified Organic by California Certified Organic Farmers," bears the "USDA/Organic logo" and, in a burst of healthy enthusiasm, adds "Vegan friendly," apparently a guarantee that no animal products (including egg whites) were used in making the wine.

I've been dubious about un-sulfited wines because of the apparent risk of bacterial contamination in wines intentionally made without preservatives. Our Daily Red counters, though, with a sturdy metal screw cap, which to its credit creates a more sterile environment in the bottle than the traditional natural cork. This wine, reviewed below, tasted fresh and clean, with no early signs of deterioration.

We're featuring organic and biodynamic wines this month in Wine Focus on our WineLovers Discussion Groups. I hope you'll accept my invitation to post online your tasting reports, comments and questions about your favorites in this category. You'll find Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Groups at this link:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village/viewforum.php?f=18

The discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name in the format "John Doe" or "John D".

Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.


Today's Sponsor

California Wine Club

The California Wine Club: Save up to 66% and get $1 Shipping!

The California Wine Club's last Wine Sale of the year is here, and it's a big one! You'll save up to 66% off normal retail prices PLUS every case ships for just $1.

Choose from hundreds of award-winning, limited production wines from the best of California's artisan wineries. Visit www.cawineclub.com or call 1-800-777-4443.

Half, full and mixed cases are okay. The sale ends Sept. 30, 2009, but order early for the best selection.

Since 1990 The California Wine Club has introduced wine lovers to limited-production wines from real, working wineries. Every wine featured is guaranteed and there is never any bulk, closeout or private label wines.

Visit www.cawineclub.com or call 1-800-777-4443 to learn more.


Today's Tasting Report

Our Daily Red 2008 California Table Wine ($8.99)Our Daily Red

Labeled "Organic No Sulfites Detected," this blend of Fresno Syrah and Carignan with Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon is a very dark blackish-purple wine with a garnet edge. Cherry-berry fruit, very ripe and fresh on the nose, a hint of kirsch cherry liqueur and pleasant red-clay earthiness. Ripe, juicy red-fruit flavors are shaped by tart, food-friendly acidity. Clean and surprisingly complex, one heck of a value for an under-$10 red. I might be wary of the no-sulfites claim, sulfites being an effective and natural preservative, but with the sturdy medal screwcap to keep things sanitary, this young wine is showing no signs of oxidation or bacterial activity. (Sept. 3, 2009)

FOOD MATCH: The wine is billed as "vegan friendly," a reassurance to vegetarians and vegans that it was made with no contact with animal materials, including the egg whites often used for natural "fining" (clarification) in wines. Still, as a tart, fruity and earthy red, it's a natural match with carnivorous fare, and made a fine companion with an offbeat summer casserole of fresh tomatoes and onions with Cheddar cheese and a few chunks of Mingua beef jerky, a local artisan product, over Weisenberger Mill Kentucky grits.

WEB LINK: The winery Website carries considerable information about Nevada County Wine Guild and its wines:
http://ourdailyred.com
For a quick summary and tutorial with the winery's take on organics and sulfites, see the links from this page:
http://ourdailyred.com/index.php?
option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=38&Itemid=48

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Look for vendors and compare prices for Our Daily Red on Wine-Searcher.com:
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Our%2bDaily%2bRed/-/-/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP


Talk About Wine Online

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today's article or wine in general, you're always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group, the Internet's first and still the most civil online community. To find our forums, click:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village

Discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name in the format "John Doe" or "John D". Anonymous, cryptic or first-name-only registrations are discarded without notice.

Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.

To contact me by E-mail, write wine@wineloverspage.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.


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