Sainsbury's stock a £4.99 'no added sulphites' wine
I've just had a news piece published on the Decanter.com website about a really interesting wine that's hitting the shelves at UK supermarket Sainsbury next month. Priced at £4.99, it's an organic Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa, made by Stellar Organics. You can read all about it in the Decanter article, but I thought I'd add some comments here, and a brief tasting note.
First, it's really difficult to make wine without adding sulphur dioxide at all. Few winemakers try, because the risks are so great. And those that do tend to be 'natural winemakers' who make niche wines in relatively small quantities. It's truly remarkable to see a £4.99 wine on supermarket shelves made without any sulphite additions.
Second, what is the benefit? It's unlikely that even asthmatics will have problems with the relatively low levels of sulphur dioxide added to today's wines, so I don't think we can talk about any real health benefits. So could there be a flavour/aroma benefit? Are wines without sulphur dioxide additions somehow purer and more elegant? Perhaps. I've had some that are; I've had others that are bretty or just plain weird.
This wine is really good, though. It's dark and intense with lovely purity of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. There's a real aromatic precision here, and an openness to the flavours - is this due to the absence of added sulphur dioxide? It's hard to say. At this price point, £4.99, it's a wine that's punching well above its weight. I think it's quite delicious. I don't think you'd want to cellar it for too long, but for current consumption, it's lovely. As well as being organic, it's also a Fairtrade wine.