Nicholas Pearce presents wines with no added sulphur from Catalonia.

‘Escoda Sanahuja was formed in 1997 by Joan Ramón Escoda and Carmen Sanahuja, in the Conca de Barberà region of Spain. Organic from the start, they switched to biodynamic viticulture in 2003. They also make their wines as naturally as possible, with virtually nothing added – interestingly, their labels display the levels of total sulfur dioxide (SO2), demonstrating that very little has been added save that which is formed naturally during fermentation.  Since 2007 the wines have been made with no added SO2 at all.

Altogether Escoda Sanahuja have just 10 hectares cultivated, but this is not all vineyard. In line with biodynamic philosophy, mixed farming is practiced, with olives, almonds, vegetables and livestock as well as vines. The vineyards are not clean cultivated: vegetation is left between the rows in order to encourage a soil rich in humus and microbes, which helps maintain soil moisture in this dry climate.

These are highly individual wines, with a distinct personality. That’s a really good thing. But how much of this personality comes from the vineyard, and how much from the decision to use very little or no SO2? It’s hard to say. My guess is that the very dry nature of the tannins is in part a result of the interaction of oxygen with the phenolics (tannins and anthocyanins) in the wine, unchecked by the presence of free SO2. Some will find the tannic structure just a little too dry; others will really appreciate the way that this counters the sweet fruit.’

Borrowed from our friend Jamie Goode – Wine Anorak (

“Our work philosophy in the wine making process is to respect the wine to the maximum, without submitting it to any type of filtered or clarified, and making the fermentations with natural yeasts from the vineyard. Thanks to it, we can make wines almost without sulphur.” – Joan Ramón Escoda


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