Just arrived: 2015s, sans soufre, from Stéphanie and Vincent Deboutbertin (photo by Isaac Rosenthal)

Natural Wine Roundup; Pure Juice Part 2!  (Eben and David Pour Wines with No Added Sulfites at Racines, Tues. 5/16)

As part of a new monthly feature on natural wines, we offer new arrivals and a few old friends. Though it won't always be the case, today we're focusing on natural wines that are produced entirely without added sulfites. "Natural" may be an unfortunate word, due to the extensive misuse of the term for everything from toilet paper to potato chips, but it still seems to fit the wines produced and the methods used. ("Call them Wines of Nature" says Didier Barouillet of Clos Roche Blanche.) Sulfur is a naturally occuring substance, in many different forms, and is found in wine, often up to 15 milligrams per liter without adding anything - so perhaps it's use should not be considered "un-natural." But "Natural Wine" seems to have become an accepted term for for wines made from grapes that are farmed with organic or biodynamic methods and that are made with little intervention in the cellar - thus without the huge list of additives often found in conventional wines, and with zero or minimal added sulfites. How much free or total SO2 is normal for a wine to be called "natural?"  It depends on who you ask of course, but levels up to approximately 40 milligrams (total) per liter seem commonly acceptable. A little sulfur is frequently necessary, especially in difficult vintages, and a level that small is hard to detect and won't cause headaches for most consumers. At CSW we love wines without added SO2 and we applaud those growers willing to do the extra work to present a delicious natural product to their customers. (And happily the days of defective and "mousy" no-sulfur wines are largely behind us.) The wines in todays email are 100% delicious, we urge you to try them....

Join Eben Lillie (and his father) this Tuesday at Racines NY, 94 Chambers Street, at 6pm as they pour ten different delicious natural wines - glass prices start at $7!

Deboutbertin 2015 VdF Baliverne (Grolleau)

This offering from Deboutbertin is 100% Grolleau from a parcel on Schiste and sandstone, from vines that were planted in 1950. The vineyard is tiny, at 25 ares  (a bit more than a half-acre), and yields are quite low, at about 20hl/ha. The 2015 is a bit more elegant than the previous vintage, with really fine tannin and a long finish. There's a hint of "barnyard" on the nose, with plenty of the vibrant fruit on the palate, and though it's relatively dark in the glass, at 10.5% alcohol, it's super easy to drink! Serve with a slight chill.  Eben Lillie

  • red
  • 11 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Mas Coutelou 2014 Vin de France Cuvée Speciale Sans Soufre

‘Speciale’ is a blend of 70% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, and 10% Grenache harvested from Jeff’s Font d'oulette parcel in Puimisson, a small village in the Languedoc a few miles away from Béziers. The grapes from this parcel are co-planted with several other local and rare varieties and have been certified organic since 1987. The 2014 is Jeff’s first vintage of this blend, he uses native yeast fermentation, and bottles without any SO2 added. This is a remarkably pure wine. Aromas of lively red fruit, violets and a wild note of sarsaparilla spice lead to quaffable flavors of cherry licorice, fresh brambly fruit and spice on the finish. Serve lightly chilled and pair with barbeque this summer!  Amanda Bowman

  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Planquette (Didier Michaud) 2014 Vin de France (Médoc)

Didier Michaud works 1.7 hectares in the Medoc with 30 to 100 year-old vines on limestone with thin soils of clay with sand and stones.  He has old vines of Merlot Queue Rouge and massalle selection Cabernet Sauvignon, farmed organically with just a little compost and shallow plowing. Vinification with wild yeasts, no extraction and usually no added sulfur. This is one of the most "natural" and deliciously old-fashioned wines of Bordeaux.  DL .... This is quintessential left bank Bordeaux, with black fruit and cassis notes, fascinating minerality and integrated tannin. It has enough elegance to drink young, but should age beautifully as well. It's always a treat to have a wine from a historic region such as Medoc, made naturally, without additives, over extraction, or new wood. This is truly a beautiful wine that seems to me to be an authentic version of what classic old-school Bordeaux was all about.    Eben Lillie

  • red
  • 14 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Grolet 2015 Cotes de Bourg Sans Sulfites Ajoutées

From clay and gravel soils over limestone in the Côtes du Bourg comes this lovely Bordeaux, roughly 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, certified organic and Biodynamic and produced entirely without sulfur-dioxide or other additives. Pure juice!  The 2015 Sans Sulfites Ajoutés is an opaque red/black color with lovely aromas of ripe cassis, red currant and spiced plum with hints of cocoa and earth. The palate is dense and supple with blackberry liqueur, plum skin and ripe red fruits, finishing with firm, refreshing acidity. This is a pure and fruit-forward Bordeaux that's ready to drink - serve cool with anything from Coq au Vin to Steak Frites and flavorful cheeses, or simply enjoy by itself. DL

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $14.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Vins Contés (Lemasson) 2015 Vin de Table Cheville de Fer

Somehow balancing freshness and bright red fruit with serious structure, this is a knockout from Lemasson. 100% Malbec or "Côt," as they call it in the Loire, this is spicy, earthy, and super finessed. There seems to be ample acidity and tannin here for aging. I know the jury's not out on aging no-SO2 wines, but I will note that I drank a bottle of the 2003 Cheville de Fer with Olivier at his home and it was absolutely breathtaking. A beautiful, mature wine, with fascinating aromas, a silky texture, and a never-ending finish. I remember opening my eyes wide after tasting the '03 and looking over to see Olivier simply nodding his head. He raised his finger and reminded me: "No sulfur!"   Eben Lillie 

  • red
  • 20 in stock
  • $23.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Knauss 2014 Strümpfelbach Schwarzriesling Brut Zero

Sparkling Pinot Meunier (aka Schwarzriesling), zero dosage, zero sulfur added...what else is there to say? The nose is delicate, with some subtle brioche aromas. On the palate, there's red fruit, lovely mousse, and a richness and textural complexity that leave quite an impression. It's rare enough to find 100% Pinot Meunier Champagnes (I have always been a big fan of Laherte and Bereche's offerings, for example), so we're very happy to have this delicious rendition from Andi Knauss. Champagne or not, it's a great wine and comes highly recommended.  Eben Lillie

  • white sparkling
  • 30 in stock
  • no discount
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Preisinger, Claus 2015 Burgenland Kalkundkiesel White

Claus Preisinger's first vintage was in in early 2000s, after stints working in California as well as with Hans and Anita Nittnaus in Burgenland, where his vineyards are also located. His 19 hectares of vineyards have been certified Biodynamic (Respekt) since 2008. The Kalkundkiesel white is a blend of approximately 50% Weißburgunder, 30% Grüner Veltliner, and 20% Chardonnay, from different vineyards grown on chalk/limestone (kalk) and pebbles (kiesel). The grapes can spend up to eight months on the skins, but for this vintage it was closer to four to six. The wine then spends 14 months in neutral, small barrels (a mix of French and Austrian oak), before being bottled with no added sulfur. Incredibly clean and soft, the palate has complexity, but not the tannic texture one often expects on a white wine with months of skin contact. Savory notes mix with yellow apple and peaches on the nose, the wine has rich flavors of saffron, yellow apple, and fresh green pear with a floral overtone. Cari Bernard

  • white
  • 20 in stock
  • $28.99

  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Vetter 2015 Franken Sparkling Apple Cider

Made from an assortment of Franconian apple varieties, with second fermentation in the bottle, and no sulfur added; the nose is oxidative, with hints of brown butter and apple blossom. The palate is savory and tart, balanced with notes of burnt caramel, yellow apple and a stony minerality: think savory like Asturian sidra but with more bubbles and darker tones. Cari Bernard

  • white sparkling
  • 4 in stock
  • no discount
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Clos Lentiscus 2015 Penedes Perill Blanc

This Xarel-lo from Manel of Clos Lentiscus is a beautiful example of no-sulfur wine-making from the Garraf Mountains in Catalunya. The vines here are around 80 years old, and lend a considerable amount of complexity and length to the wine.It's got fantastic mineral character and lovely density from extended aging on the lees. Decant or uncork a bit before serving, as the wine opens up quite a bit and evolves from crispy and stony to rounder and more viscous with some air. Truly a beautiful wine to drink over several hours (sorry it never made it to day 2!), and one of the most memorable white wines I've had this year.  Eben Lillie

  • white
  • 7 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Clos Lentiscus 2010 Penedes Perill Noir

Sumoll is enjoying a resurgence in Penedès. Raw and wild in its youth, but rapturously beautiful when given proper time to integrate, the red wine from Sumoll we love to drink the most is Els Jelipins, which Gloria Garriga and her daughter Berta patiently age for several years before bottling. Manel Avinyó's Sumoll is cut in this mold - fluid and floral, with silky ripe red cherry, hibiscus spice, sweet florals, sea salt, a hint of wool, and lingering mineral length. The label on the bottle is a reincarnation of one of his grandfather's designs from the 1920s. The wine has a similar old-fashioned, unhurried feel to it. Linger with a glass of perfectly resolved Sumoll and enjoy. Ariana Rolich

  • red
  • 8 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Barranco Oscuro 2014 Andalucia Salmonido Rosado NO ADDED SO2

Salmonido is a tart, supple, and sultry rosado of Pinot Noir, from a single hectare vineyard on poor, stony soils in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Granada. Savory, oxidative, and acidic, with tension between red currant and sour cherry with softer strawberry and musky raspberry fruit, with mineral, smoky depth. Pair with smoked salmon or tuna steaks with roasted red peppers. Ariana Rolich

  • rosé
  • 17 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Goyo Garcia Viadero 2012 Ribera del Duero Finca el Peruco

Goyo Garcia summons the power and elegance of old-fashioned Ribera del Duero. Finca el Peruco is a vineyard of Tinto Fino and Albillo Mayor planted on chalky, calcareous and clay soils at 1000m altitude. After 3 years in old barrels and one year in bottle, this wine is luscious and open, displaying sumptuous, soft leather, deep purple fruits, and sweet tarragon leaves on the nose, with flavors of tart plum, ripe black fruits,  soy umami, and a long earthy finish. Roasted lamb and Sunday roasts are the best way to showcase this seethingly beautiful Duero. No added sulphur. Ariana Rolich

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $52.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Sara i René Viticultor 2014 Priorat Partida Pedrer Rosado

It is hard to overstate how awesome Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. are at making rosé! We fell in love with their "clarete" for Venus La Universal, a blend of red and white grapes from the Montsant, co-fermented and aged in very old barrels. Now we have the pleasure of receiving their first rosé from the Priorat: Partida Pedrer Rosat. These are rosé wines to dine with and dream about, with ample depth and elegance to negate any concerns about 14% alcohol rosé. An unusual blend of Garnacha and Monastrell from a single vineyard, fermented for 6 months and aged in 10+ year-old barrels for  9 months. Aromas of watermelon, choke cherries, cinnamon, slate, and rose petals wash onto the palate of raspberry and dark, wild herbs, spicy rose, and soft, rosey cherry. Never has a big rose from a hot region tasted so long, mineral, and cooling. I would love this wine with a curried fish dish or hearty steamed clams with chorizo, chard, and pink peppercorns. Ariana Rolich

  • rosé
  • 7 in stock
  • $41.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur
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Deboutbertin 2015 Vin de France L'Aunis Etoilé

It would be very difficult to choose a favorite Pineau D'Aunis... there's Natalie Gaubicher (Le Briseau), Olivier Lemasson (Vins Contés), Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Pierre-O Bonhomme, Domaine Roche Bleue... the list goes on! That said, L'Aunis Etoilé from Deboutbertin is one of my absolute favorites. The nose is floral and fresh, with aromas of crushed bright red fruit. On the palate, it's SO Pineau! Its herbacious and acid-driven, but also has great ripeness and maturity, thanks to the careful harvesting and a long, slow press. Kudos to Stephanie and Vincent for their impeccable and dedicated farming, and for making no-sulfur wines in such a pure style. Eben Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Le Raisin et L'Ange 2016 Vin de France Pause Canon

From Gilles Azzoni and friends at Le Raisin et l'Ange in the Ardeche comes this delicious blend of 75% Gamay and 25% Syrah - 6 day whole cluster carbonic maceration for the Gamay, 12 days for the Syrah. Put a chill on it and try to share! This is THE "summer quaffer,"very fun to drink and sure to put a smile on your face.  Eben Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $15.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Ducroux, Christian 2015 Vin de France Exspectatia

 (We're getting to the end of Ducroux's complex and supernatural Exspectatia 2015 - be sure to grab some before it disapears. Happily we have 2015 Patience and 2016 Exspectatia on the way.)  Christian Ducroux' 5 hectare  estate has been certified organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer and compost, and plowing and harvesting almost entirely without machinery. The vines average over 60 years of age and are replaced by massale selection, giving extremely low yields. The 2015 Exspectatia (the wine formerly known as Regnié) shows a deep opaque red/black color. Slight reduction, then vivid aromas of blackberry liqueur, blood orange, rose, black pepper, brown spices, earth and licorice. On the palate the wine is very complex with blackberry and red currant fruit, earth, spice and citrus with a long intense finish of black fruits and earth that lingers on the palate. Only 12.5% alcohol, even in this very ripe vintage. Bravo to Christian Ducroux for his beautiful farming and for this complex, expressive natural wine! Re-tasted in October 2016,  the wine showed beautifully, with remarkable complexity, intense aromas of ripe blackberry, violet, musk, pepper, licorice and earth, that continue with a dense, earthy texture on the palate. This is a living, changeable and profound wine of terroir that expresses the incredible farming and winemaking of Christian Ducroux - certainly  one of the finest natural wines of France.(Decanting advised, no added sulfur - consume on the day opened.)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $14.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur