This morning our friend Gevrey winemaker Mark Fincham called in at Les Deux Chevres with a bottle of his 2015 Gevrey ‘Sans Souffre’ - without sulphur. We had been waiting to taste this for some time, interested both from the perspective of it being a wine in the much lauded Burgundy 2015 vintage, and more importantly, made without the addition of sulphur.
Sulphur is used in varying quantities by different wine makers to stabilise the wine, and the current thinking remains that it is not possible to make wine for export, where it is likely to undergo variations in temperature during the transport, unless the wine is stabilised by the addition of sulphur. Sulphur is therefore almost universally added during the production process (and is probably the least harmful of all the chemicals likely to be found in a bottle of wine). For most wine consumers, the sulphur has no adverse effects. However for others, it can be the cause of headaches and generally not feeling well, thereby creating an aversion to the wine, rather than the sulphur, which is usually the root cause of the problem!
Increasingly biodynamic and organic wine makers are looking at wine ’sans souffre’ or ‘natural wine’ as the next logical progression of Biodynamic wine making. Organic wine banishes chemicals from the vineyards; biodynamic wine employs natural treatments and cosmic energies to boost the vines immune systems and enhance the vines resistance to disease. Wines made organically and biodynamically have both historically included a low dosage of sulphur, but winemakers are now seeking to eliminate all the sulphur (apart from that which occurs naturally), to make a wine as chemical addition free as possible. Mark has shipped his natural wine to the US and Bermuda without adverse consequence, somewhat confounding the critics! The verdict on the wine itself - fabulous pinot fruit village wine from an excellent vintage.