#Gluten Free Wine Guzzling

If you fancy a glass of wine or two, especially as we approach the festive season, how do you know the wine you choose has not been stored in ex-grain spirit barrels? Therein lies the problem with wine for some us most sensitive souls.

I usually stick to Cava made only in the ‘method champagnoise’ as it used to be termed. This means wines made using the traditional champagne method (which includes being fermented and aged in the bottle ie. glass rather than barrel), but the term can no longer be used as it relates only to the Champagne region of France now. Obviously, that means Champagne, if you can afford it, is in, but so is Spanish Cava, which is also made using the traditional method and cannot be labelled Cava if it isn’t.

Don’t be thinking, though, that any sparkling wine is made this way: it isn’t. Most often, sparklys are just normal wine with carbon dioxide pumped into them.

I LOVE a glass of red wine, though, and have really missed it. I started reacting to it and, once I had established the barrel storage problem and the fact that finings like casein (dairy protein), egg, soya, shellfish etc can be used, I realised why. Giving it up was far from easy but I had to.

Then, two things happened. First, I heard a piece on Radio 4 on natural wines (don’t worry: I listen to radio 4 only when forced to in the car with P – this most certainly does NOT include The Archers which only makes me fall asleep at the wheel -although I do like some of the news and comedy programmes) and, second, Clare mentioned goodwinesonline, who specialise in sulphite-free and natural wines. I was intrigued.

So Lo SO2 Navitas 2009 75cl Sulphite free natural wine The lovely people at goodwines sent me a free bottle of So-Lo Navitas to try as it is stored in concrete tanks rather than barrels in a ‘cosmoculture’ French winery. It has nothing added to it either. Happily, although almost falling over at the first few sips (no longer used to strong-tasting red wine), I found it was fine and I had no reaction. Hoorah! I speedily ordered myself ‘Buy 12 and Get 1 Free’ and took two bottles on hols with me.

I note today that they have an offer on of Buy 6 Get I Free so might be a good time to stock your cupboard for Christmas. Suitable for anyone who doesn’t want a hangover in the morning too, not just for TGFers! Use the discount code SOLO to get the freebie.

You can read much more about this wine and other sulphite free ones, plus all about the winemaker by scrolling down to the Domaine Viret section on this page at www.goodwinesonline.co.uk, but, in the meantime, here is a bit of blurb for you:

SO LO SO2 is a brand new brand of natural wine, developed specifically for people looking for wines with minimal sulphur. SO LO SO2 have partnered up with several top wineries around the world to produce quality boutique wines, made as naturally as possible with an absolute minimal sulphur content. For their first wine ‘Navitas’ they went straight to the experts – Domain Viret in the Rhone Valley. This wine isn’t just low in sulphur – it is legally classed as sulphite free as there are only tiny traces of sulphur, so miniscule even the laboratory couldn’t measure them. The wine is a blend of 5 different grapes, predominantly Merlot and Mouverdre 30% each with 20% Cabernet and a little Caladoc and Marselan. The wine was subsequently aged in tank for 12 months after blending. Deep ruby with purple hints. Immediately on opening the nose shows some fruit. Blackcurrant and blackberry flavours on the palate with a slight spice and very mild vanilla on the finish. Once ‘opened’ this wine is very smooth with medium body and a great overall balance between fruit, tannin, acidity and alcohol. Lovely on it’s own, even better when paired with food. This wine is best left to aerate for 15 to 20 minutes prior to drinking, preferably decant if you can. Great stuff! It is also improving with bottle age and has subsequently earned an upgraded ratiing of 90/100.

It’s not cheap (£11.99 a bottle), but then neither should it be for this quality and allergy-friendliness, but the freebie will bring the price per bottle down, of course.

FoodsMatter have also done some articles if you want to find out more on the sulphite in wines issue. Check here: Sulphite Free Wine.

Happy quaffing!

26 Replies to “#Gluten Free Wine Guzzling”

  1. good post! My father in law makes his own wine, but he told me most wine-makers add a sort of Vit C to it. And since we all know where that comes from and how we have to avoid it..
    Nice detective work!

  2. Update: I asked John at GoodwinesOnline if he could recommend a white wine for us. Here is is reply – it’s coming, it’s coming…!:

    “I can’t recommend a white from Domain Viret yet. They only make one which is very expensive (£19) and only made in tiny quantities, so only available on an allocation basis. But the good news is this year we commissioned Domain Viret to make a white wine specifically for us, called Aurum (Latin for gold) which will be ready for release in February. We’ve designed it to suit the UK palate yet be free of chemicals as the grapes were organically grown on the vineyard next door to Viret by Philippe’s good friend, Jame. There is a tiny amount of added sulphite, around 10 mg/l, which is essential to get the required acidity in the wine. This is so low it’s still completely harmless even to people with a sulphite allergy. There are no other chemicals used.

    We’re very excited about it, as it is the first “natural” wine designed to taste like good wine. There is a direct chemical relationship between acidity and sulphur in wines, so it is impossible to make a crisp, dry white without any sulphur. But we’ve achieved the next best thing. The wine is currently maturing in concrete vats and should be ready in February as mentioned.”

    Can’t wait…

  3. I was tempted by your email and ordered a single bottle of the So-Lo. It may sound eccentric, but this was to add further variety to my rather monotonous casseroles by using red wine as a stock. Also because I wanted to experience the benefits of the resveratrol which red wine is supposed to contain, without actually having to consume alcohol (which I don’t tolerate). A couple of things to ask you. First, does boiling the red wine (to evaporate the alcohol) actually destroy the resveratrol? I couldn’t find an answer to this when I googled.

    Second, why doesn’t boiling the wine actually destroy the negative effects of the alcohol? Because for me, it didn’t. Almost as if the remaining liquid had retained a memory of what had gone (a bit like a homoeopathic effect). I have to say it made a delicious beef casserole: 300 cl of boiled red wine (which after boiling was down to less than 250 cl), a couple of large onions, a bulb of pressed garlic, a box of oyster mushrooms, 2 heaped teaspoons of grey French salt, 2 heaped teaspoons of dried rosemary and of course olive oil, to brown the meat and saute the onions and mushrooms, together with a little vegetable stock. My partner drank the wine itself and was very appreciative.

    In Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s excellent book, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, she writes, “There is no part of the body that will not suffer from the constant supply of alcohol even in tiny amounts.” (I note that she writes “constant”, but in my experience even a single episode can be very unpleasant.) She lists possible effects, which include
    – reduced ability of the stomach wall to produce stomach acid
    – pancreas degeneration with reduced ability to produce pancreatic enzymes
    – direct damage to gut lining, causing malabsorption
    – nutritional deficiencies through malabsorption of most vitamins, minerals and amino acids; deficiencies in B and A vitamins are particularly common
    – damage to the immune system
    – liver damage with reduced ability to detoxify drugs, polllutants and other toxins.
    The list continues for another half page….
    The authoress, by the way, puts MMedSci (neurology) and MMedSci (Nutrition) after her name, so she should know what she’s talking about.

    Any comments?

    1. Hi Anthony, not eccentric at all using red wine for your casseroles – that’s partly why I wanted it. Not sure what you mean by it didn’t negate the negative effects, do you men you felt tipsy? Perhaps use less. Boiling is meant to burn off the alcohol content so perhaps you mean a sensitivity reaction? Don’t know about resveratrol although most antioxidants are destroyed by heat I believe so probably no exception. Re Natasha, yes she does know what she is talking about. I haven’t read that book in a long time. I’m not sure I agree with the tiny amount theory, certainly too much of anything is too much and we do know that consistent drinking will affect the stomach and liver no doubt but I haven’t read any research to suggest a tiny amount will do that, but then ‘tiny’ is a vague and subjective term too, isn’t it?! She may have done, I haven’t. Doesn’t stop anyone having a sensitivity reaction to even a tiny amount, of course, which I think is what you are referring to for yourself, which is a shame. We have to work on getting that gut healed so perhaps for you alcohol is a no-no anyway for both reasons: the fact it makes you react and it affects your gut and other healing systems.

  4. Rhian writes in:

    “The good news is… I’ve tried my first bottle of sulphur free red wine and loved it! Thanks to you, I ordered a case of 6 mixed white + red bottles from Good Wines Online and can highly recommend the ‘Energy Yang’. I drank half the bottle at home last Fri evening and not only did I feel ok the next morning I think I actually felt better for drinking it!
    FAB U LOUS…. Life is worth living again!!!!

    “Spurred on by this, I took a bottle of the Frey Biodynamic Chardonnay out with me on Sat night. [Ed’s note: not confirmed TGF safe] I’d been concerned about this planned girls xmas night out as I knew I would almost certainly be unwell afterwards. I often avoid this type of ‘do’ I needed to spend time with good friends and have a laugh.
    We met at a friends house which was great as I could drink ‘my’ wine [I’m not a huge chardonnay fan but it was fine], but then we moved onto an indian restaurant…. Panick! I didn’t feel I could take my wine with me and ended up sharing a bottle of white wine off the menu with 2 other girls. And as predicted, I’ve been unwell since… will I ever learn?

    So unfortunately I can’t give a true review of the chardonnay as I contaminated the trial!
    Although I’m almost sure that it was a combination of the restaurant wine and food that caused my latest ‘episode’.

    The case also incIuded one bottle of the SO LO wine, which I’m saving for xmas day.”

  5. thanks for posting! I love a glass of red wine on occasion and was crushed when I discovered that due to the barrels it might have gluten in it! I will check this wine out. Thanks again!

      1. Are all of the So Lo Reds GF? I tried to find out more info online, and didn’t see much about GF status…

  6. Hi Erin,

    Just received a reply from John at http://www.goodwinesonline.co.uk – all SoLo wines are indeed gluten free and vegan with very low sulphite content:

    “GLUTEN : Philippe doesn’t use any oenological products so the wines are totally gluten free

    The SoLo is our own brand of wine which we have Philippe Viret make for us. The first vintage of the SoLo white (called Aurum Natura) is due to be bottled mid February so will be available in the UK from early March. It has taken this long to produce it as we had to be sure about the origin of the grapes, which we’ve sourced from Philippe’s next door neighbour and good friend, James. He is fully organic in his methods. The Aurum Natura is a full yet crisp white wine, totally natural with only an absolutely miniscule amount of sulphite added at bottling (chemically required to give the acidity). We won’t be 100% sure of the specific amount until the wine is tested just before bottling as it depends on the natural acidity and sugar content of the wine, but we expect it to be around 5 parts per million [of sulphite].

    The Aurum Natura has been made to Philippe’s exacting methods with no added oenological products apart from the tiny amount of sulphur, so it is gluten free and fine for vegans and even people with a sulphite allergy. ”

    Yay! Looking forward to trying the white then – there’s only so much bubbly stuff one can stomach (and I’m talking Cava there rather than champers; I’m not made of money!)

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