Natural Wine

We’ve all read conflicting articles on wine — is it good for you? Is it bad? It is a question that has long plagued The Taster, as anyone who reads our regular Scare Watch column knows (basically, the advice given one month is usually reversed or contradicted the next). Our own (hugely unscientific) observation is that some cheap white wines do seem to have a certain allergenic quality — that is, the first glass is accompanied by a brief, but explosive, sneezing fit. There may be something in the idea that low-sulphite wine don’t trigger such reactions?

Natural WineAccording to Good Wine Online,  natural wine can be very beneficial if it is produced without harmful additives or heavy filtration, which removes the natural goodness. ‘Natural’ wines have virtually nothing added nor taken away. They are basically fermented grape juice, unfiltered, retaining nature’s most powerful antioxidants (polyphenols): resveratrol, quercetin and epicatechin. They are five times more powerful than vitamins C & E and help protect against cancer, diabetes and dementia. Natural wine also reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol and the risk of stroke and vascular disease, and has numerous other health benefits. The human body cannot store polyphenols, so the American ‘Wine Doctor’ Dr Philip Norrie* suggests that, for optimum benefit, we drink a little natural wine every day.

Find Christmas-mix cases, or create your own cases, HERE with Good Wine Online; there is also a page of ‘Sensational Wines’ if you just want to give somebody one exquisite bottle.

For more Christmas food ideas, click HERE

*Philip Norrie MBBS, MA, MSc, MSocSc(Hons), PhD, MD  writes about natural sulphite-free wines HERE

Mulled Wine Recipe

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Valentines Oyster RecipesValentines Oyster RecipesThe Taster is very proud to present the following . . for 25 years, former butler Richard J. Smith advised celebrities, politicians & royalty on wine. He now runs the Wine Schools of Cheshire and London ( and writes for The Taster (adding a bit of class to the whole enterprise, we’re sure): here, he gives us Perfect Punch.

Mulled Wine RecipeMaking your own mulled wine isn’t as difficult or as costly as you might think. Your home will smell amazing for hours too!

§ Getting The Wine
As you’re adding lots of extras to the wine, never spend too much on a bottle — but do get one of decent quality. For a wine steal, nip to Aldi and grab a bottle of Toro Loco Tempranillo (a bargain £3.60). What’s important is while it’s incredibly cheap, this wine has still been bottled in Spain and isn’t pumped full of the extra sulphites that so many supermarket wines fall foul of. Avoid full-bodied or very light wines.

§ Ingredients
For six glasses:

  • 1 bottle medium-bodied red wine
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium size orange
  • Cloves

Alternative recipe for Amaretto Cherry Punch — add:

  • 4 shots Amaretto
  • 1 tin of black cherries in syrup

§ Method
Bring half a litre of filtered water to the boil, add the sugar, then simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved add the red wine.

Stick cloves in half the orange and slice the remaining half.

Gently stir and add the cloved orange, orange slices and the cinnamon stick.

Simmer for 20 minutes and taste. If you prefer a sweeter mulled wine add a little more sugar, simmer and taste again.

If you’re making Amaretto Cherry punch, add the black cherries (and the syrup) to the simmering mixture. Take off the heat, add the Amaretto then stir. Return to the heat and simmer. Add more Amaretto if you prefer something stronger.

Keep your mulled wine on a gentle heat and serve into heatproof glasses or cups.

**Do be careful if you or any guests are driving. While mulled wine is a warming treat in winter you’re still consuming quite an amount of alcohol. Merry Christmas

Cin Cin and Ho Ho Ho!

See for more by Richard

We hope the above idea provides inspiration. We do update entries, so check back any time. Click HERE for more ingredients.

Sustainable Wine Discount

Sustainable Wine Discount 15%

Use code OH15 to get 15% off all orders

sustainable wine discountTulip Hambleton, of Sustainable Wines, writes:

I am a wine lover and expert based in North London. Originally from New Zealand, I have spent the past 20 years working in the retail and food and drink industries, my love of wine eventually culminating in my business — Sustainable Wines UK.

My company does what it says on the tin. I wanted to find the very best sustainable, organic, biodynamic and natural wines from all over the world, and make them available to people who might not otherwise get to try them.

As well as my love of wine, the concept was driven by two of my passions: for the environment and health. The wines we sell are produced in a natural, eco-friendly way, and are low in chemicals and sulphites. The goal for me was to enhance people’s health and enjoyment and help the planet — through wine!

Our customers enjoy some of the most interesting and unique wines around — from bottles made right here in the UK, to award-winning wines from New Zealand; including its newest wine region, Ohau. Ninety minutes north of Wellington, on the west coast of the North Island, Ohau only started wine production in 2009, after a local viticulturist discovered similarities in the soils and climate to those of other NZ winemaking regions. Ohau’s signature varieties are Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, several of which have won international awards over the years.

Tulip’s Christmas Wine suggestions

Christmas morning: Start with a fantastic bottle of natural Prosecco. Our Casa Coste Piane Prosecco is made from 60-year-old vines in the unusual champenoise method, with no added sugar, sulphur or yeast.

Aperitif: Toast with an organic Crémant

Christmas Dinner: Pair starters with a sustainable white or rosé from Ohau Vineyard. With the turkey, enjoy a luscious, aromatic Pinot Gris; and round pudding off with our smooth, chocolatey Pinot Noir from Spy Valley.

These wines are available in the Christmas Wine List Sorted package (£81), which makes a perfect gift . . . if you can bear to give it away!

Leading up to Christmas, I’ll be offering free advice for any businesses or event planners looking to create the perfect sustainable wine list this Christmas season.  See full details at

Find more special offers via The Taster here

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