Wine in time

A chemical-free buzz?

A chemical-free buzz?

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

It’s early evening as Auntie Ruth writes this, one of those languishing nights of soft air and quiet sky, the kind in which you lean back in your chair and tally it all up—the big world out there and away, vast and unfamiliar. And the little world in here, where the day-to-day and its dictates either flow river smooth or, elbows on hips, kick your butt.

True, it’s been an easy summer here in the Sacramento Valley—none of those withering, triple-digit-days-without-end sagas—but climate change is continually raising its head around the world. Scary stuff. We’re still a country at war. Republicans still insist on putting up presidential candidates; there are now the first whispers they can win, no matter how high their chosen one climbs up The Idiot Wall (think “Ponzi scheme”). Auntie Ruth thinks she better have a glass of wine.

Ruthie spends a lot of money on organic produce—she prefers to ingest fewer non-natural chemicals as compared to more—but she’s never gone to organic wine, per se. Still, she looks at her wine glass—what’s going on in there? How soft doth her wine tread on the earth? On her body? Never mind on her brain. Yer Auntie tried “organic wine” some years back and didn’t care for the taste. The issue, probably, was the lack of sulfites—a true “organic wine” is made with organic grapes and has no additional chemicals, whereas wine “made with organic grapes” may have both sulfites (some of which occur naturally; others are added to kill off bacteria, etc.) and clarifiers added by the winemaker. Meanwhile, the organic vintner raises the grapes without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.

Claire Snyder at the Davis Food Co-op once told Ruth it wasn’t her imagination—“Wine without added sulfites does often taste different. Not necessarily bad, but noticeably different,” and that strikes Auntie Ruth as about right. Snyder’s not anti-sulfite, herself—and the Davis Food Co-op carries a range of wines on both sides of the equation, with Frey, Our Daily Red and Stellar Organics regarded as standout nonsulfite wines. Sacramento Natural Food Co-op’s Julie Edelstein mentioned LaRocca, Badger Mountain and Pacific Redwood, among others. Both co-ops have wines made with organic grapes as well. Ah, the choices to be made. Auntie Ruth pours another glass of nonorganic, sulfited wine. Maybe next time.