Artisan food: Wine au naturel

May 9, 2014

By Antonia Quirke

Master of Wine Isabelle Legeron pours as Antonia Quirke watches at a tasting of natural wines in London
To advocates, fine natural wines taste like no other. But they have another virtue: their lack of sulphites gets rid of a surprising reaction to more commercially produced bottles
Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here. started insidiously, in subtle, cheek-itching ways that made me think I had developed a mild allergy to my washing detergent. But soon I was sneezing every day for no apparent reason, sometimes until 4am. By a reluctant process of elimination I realised that the problem was wine. Or, more probably, it was the sulphur dioxide compounds that act as preservatives in the wine. Complaining to one’s doctor that Burgundy makes you sneeze was never going to garner much sympathy. Still, mine dosed me with antihistamines and explained that some people possibly lack the enzymes necessary to break down the sulphites added not just to wine but also to many foods (from dried fruit to sausages and guacamole). All wine contains naturally occurring sulphites, and it’s not simply a case of going organic to get around the problem. I did, and still sneezed. In fact, one madly expensive organic Zinfandel had my throat burning and tightening. Death by rosé. How middle-class can you get?

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