Wines without sulfite addition : a new page of the history, a lot of debates also. As for many innovations, there are many prophets supporting the idea, as there are many skeptics trying to stop this evolution. So what about these wines, or we should rather say about this movement?
In our opinion, making wines without sulfites is not the priority. Our aim is to produce great terroir wines, alive, and high in personality. It is clear that a high sulfite dose “sterilizes” the wine and is in total contradiction with our goal. But what is the perfect dose then? 0? Just a little? We think that it depends on the wine and on the grapes. This places again the work in the vines at the central point. On the majority of our vines, we reach a balance in the soil and the vigor of the vines which permit to harvest grapes which are healthy, ripe and concentrated enough to avoid any bacterial attack nor oxidation, even without sulfite addition. That is why we produce some wines with no sulfites at all : they simply don’t need it, and express more fully without addition. It is for instance the case of “Tout Naturellement” or the Pinot Noir “F”.
So why do we still add some sulfites in some of our wines? There are different cases :
- Vineyards/grapes which are not appropriate : some vineyards are still too young, or we bought them too recently to have a sufficient balance, or simply some places where our work is not good enough yet to have perfect grapes. In these cases, no unnecessary risks : we ad a very small dose of sulfites.
- Sweet wines with some residual sugar : if we wouldn’t add any sulfites on these, there would be a risk of second fermentation in bottle, even with a careful filtration.
- Wines who could held without sulfites, but for which we wish to keep a more “classic” style. Indeed, the absence or presence of sulfites changes the style of the wine, particularly the primary aromas. For some, we think no addition is positive, for others not in our taste. It is the case of our Rieslings on granitic soil, which loose a part of the floral notes and the purity which are so typical of those soils. On these wines, we ad a “symbolic” dose (10 to 30 mg/l) at bottling. Of course we do some experiments without sulfites on these wines, we eventually bottle them without sulfites on some vintages… Or maybe more often in the future. Our point of view is still evolving!