Loralyn Mears, PhD
Wine Down and Chill is all About Nothin’
This article was originally published on May 15, 2020 at https://gritdaily.com/wine-down-and-chill-no-sulfites/
The world is still struggling and all of us behind wine down and chill are still trying to help you through it by doing our part. Most of you are drinking more wine lately with virtual happy hours (VHH) so you’re even more interested in learning about different wines so that you can get down to drinking it! Got it.
We’ll continue to offer affordable suggestions for music, wine, dinner and movies with a different wine down and chill theme each week. You can also follow me on Instagram for wine art and photography @WineDownAndChill. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill. If you missed an article, fret not! You can find every article here.
If you like podcasts, well, wouldn’t you know, I’ve got one of those, too! Join me for Women-in-Tech “Like a BOSS” every week for snappy insights in a quick power-up 10-minute format; find it on Apple, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more.
Theme: I’ve got nothin’
Nada. Zilch. Zero. Absolutely nothing left in the tank for this week’s wine down and chill. Well, at least that’s how it felt this morning, but I’ve rallied. You, my readers, make it all worthwhile. Thank you! It’s been a tough week with a lot of intense writing and thinking, but it’s Friday. And, as we like to say here at wine down and chill – TGIF – Thank Goodness It’s Fermented!
Now, back to today’s theme. “Nothing” actually makes sense in the context of today’s column. We’re going to cover the organic viticulture movement and how the concept of “no sulfites” is really taking off. So, you see? Having a wine down and chill column about nothing is actually going to talk about something after all!
Listen: Nothing Really Matters
When I was researching songs for today’s wine down and chill column, I thought that I was going to come up with nothing. As it turns out, there are a ton of songs with “nothing” in their titles. Check out this playlist which includes some of my faves like “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, “Nothing is Real But the Girl” by Blondie and “Nothing Really Matters” by Madonna. And, of course, Sinéad O’Connor gained notoriety on SNL decades ago for infamously ripping up a photo of the Pope as she debuted “Nothing Compares to You.”
Learn: no sulfites
The no added sulfite movement has been rather slow to catch on. Less than 1% of the wines sold in the USA carry this badge and fewer than 5% of wines worldwide are produced this way. Although that can hardly be defined as “catching on,” given the volumes of wines consumed, this is a substantial number. Oddly enough, as recently as 2014, adding “organic” to your wine label reduced the price by as much as 20% despite conferring a premium price to all other products. That’s changed.
There are a few tenets of biodynamic winemaking. For example, cultured yeast is prohibited so the vineyards’ soils, indeed, its “terroir” which imparts the characteristic flavors of their wines, is not compromised. They compost all their grape waste and hand-harvest the fruits. Zero addition of enzymes and tannins is another benefit of this week’s wine down and chill suggestion. And there’s no box and bag distribution of wine! Their focus is on crafting quality wine the way that it’s been done for more than eight millennia – don’t add stuff – let nature do its thing.
Sangiovese to wine down and chill
Sangiovese grapes were named from the Latin “sanguis Jovis” which translates to “the blood of Jupiter.” The grape is widely planted across Italy and has a thin skin. As such, it is one of the most wine down and chill finicky grapes that takes its sweet ol’ time to ripen on the vine – it’s like it has nothing better to do.
Frey Vineyards makes the effort to maintain a diverse ecosystem across their vineyards, encouraging local wildlife to flourish there. Organic farming practices go a long way towards preserving the soil and groundwater and also help ensure that the local wildlife and natural ecosystem are not compromised. They take great pride as “stewards of the land” so that they can ensure quality while “caring for planet and palate alike.” Frey Vineyards has installed energy-efficient lighting, motors and pumps and are working towards a solar water heating system and electric tractors to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s all about keeping the birds and the bees happy!
Wine: Frey Organic Sangiovese
When it comes to having nothing in their wines, America’s first organic and biodynamic winery, Frey Vineyards, makes the grade. As a third generation of wine makers, they’re been changing the zero game since Jonathan Frey took the helm in 1980. They can make a wine drinker proud of zero! Zero added sulfites, zero gluten (gluten-free), zero animal byproducts (vegan) and zero headaches. Unfortunately, not zero calories but hey, we can’t have everything.
Note: they don’t make the claim that you won’t get a headache, but many of their reviewers suggest that this is a possible experience. Thankfully, as a wine down and chill consumer and journalist, I’m thrilled that I don’t suffer headaches with wines, so I can’t relate to what others have posted regarding the correlation between sulfites and red wine headaches. But there is a lot of talk about this phenomenon, including allergic reactions which are a whole level beyond headaches.
Hence, today’s wine down and chill selection which is the award-winning Frey Organic Sangiovese. This is the first time that we’ve featured Sangiovese wine but we have previously featured organic and biodynamic winemaking. What makes today’s choice interesting is the subtle whiff of pink pepper and pine, blended with a little smokiness. It’s not my go-to-varietal, but it’s interesting because it’s so different from what I usually drink. At $15 per bottle, and yes, they ship, it’s worth trying to source to experience a no-added sulfites wine from a winery that cares about sustainability.
Dine: zero options
Given that there are currently no restaurants open for dining, at least here in the Greater NYC area, order a take-out to support your local restaurant and then enjoy a wine down and chill evening at home. Social distancing is saving lives. Keep at it!
Watch: the master of nothing
Jerry Seinfeld, comedic legend, and mastermind behind the wildly successful multi-season series, Seinfeld, has rightfully earned his place as the master of nothing. His whole show and gig were founded on the premise of nothing, literally and deliberately talking about nothing. And through it, he earned a spot in hearts around the globe. Seinfeld’s new Netflix release, “23 Hours to Kill,” showcases how he continues to joke about nothing – and yet still make us laugh.
It’s the weekend. Time to wine down and chill. Cheers!
Lead image by Carabo Spain from Pixabay shows nothing but blue sky and vines as the perfect complement to today’s wine down and chill theme.