No added sulphur wines available at Suma
Our wine buyer Ric brings you the low down on Suma’s wines to help you make the right decision when choosing your wine. Suma is first and foremost a wholefood wholesaler and as such our carefully selected wine range can get lost amongst the myriad of other lines we offer.
Wine is a very personal thing with many varieties and nuances, so here we have some in-depth information to aid your purchasing decisions. We’ll also look at sulphur in wines and showcase a selection of wines marketed as no added sulphur (NAS). Here at Suma we have over 80 different wines to choose from so the following tips will help you sort out the reds from the whites.
Whites, rosés and sparkling wines are rated between 1-9 depending on their sweetness;
1-2 Dry whites like Sancerre and most Sauvignon Blancs
3-6 Classic medium wines, from Chardonnay through to Californian rosés
7-9 Indicates the sweetest white varieites
Reds wines are coded from A–E depending on the strength of flavour;
A The lightest, easy drinking reds
B-D Most red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignons
E The fullest-bodied red wines with lots of complexity and high alcohol content
Sulphur has been added to wines since Roman times due to its properties as a stabilising agent. It’s very effective in controlling moulds, bacteria and yeast as well as inhibiting oxidation. The problem comes because it’s an allergen and does leave a slight taste in the wine- many people will notice a slight catch in the back of the throat whilst others will suffer a more significant allergic reaction. It’s worth noting that some sulphur is produced naturally as part of the fermentation process so there will always be some traces in a wine. For this reason we say no added sulphur/sulphites rather than sulphur/ sulphite free.
A small band of forward-thinking winemakers have been engaged in a quest to make stable wines without adding sulphur, spurred on by the ideal of producing a wine that is totally clean and expressive of its origin. Red was the first to be secured, aided by the fact that the tannins help to preserve and stabilise. The Stellar Winery in South Africa was the first to produce a no added sulphur wine commercially with the Running Duck Cabernet Sauvignon (RS114) and Pinotage (RS196). These where recently followed by Cuesta Colora vineyard with their Tempranillo (RS207).
The quest to produce a no added sulphur white continued without resolution, until now. We now have a selection of NAS Italian whites that are hot off the press (an inappropriate metaphor perhaps, since heat and speed are anathemas to the wine making process).
Trebbiano Rhesan IGT Lazio (white) RS024
Almond, apple and citrus leap out of the glass giving really expressive flavours. From a biodynamic farm in Lazio where vines are grown alongside hazelnut and olive groves. Rated 2.
Nero D’Avola Insieme Santa Tressa (red) RS023
Insieme, meaning ‘together’ is the starting point for this lovely wine made in collaboration and Fairtrade partnership with Stellar Winery, South Africa. It’s soft and supple with juicy damson and bramble fruits. Rated C.
World of Wines Gavi Spinola Castello di Tassarolo (white) RS029
A dry, elegant white from Piedmont in northwest Italy. Sometimes dubbed ‘the Chablis of Italy’, Gavi is a classy white with delicate stone and orchard fruit and some minerality. Rated 1.
Monferrato Rosso Castello di Tassarolo (red) RS026
This elegant medium-bodied red comes from grapes grown using biodynamic methods. Ripe, soft Barbera grapes have been skilfully blended with Cabernet Sauvignon which lends weight and backbone. The result is balanced, expressive and smooth. Rated C
Gavi Frizzante Castello di Tassarolo (sparkling white) RS027
Sparkling Gavi is not widely available but this delicious example from the historic Castello di Tassarolo suggests it deserves a wider audience. It’s a light and refreshing ‘Frizzante’ with a fruity, green apple nose and matching flavours on the palate. Easy drinking and versatile. Rated 1.