Some might ask, “What’s the deal with Biodynamic, Organic, and Sustainable Farming?” More and more producers are converting to biodynamic, organic, and sustainable framing practices. The ecological and qualitative benefits are undeniable but what makes each discipline unique?
Organic vs biodynamic vs sustainable wine Each category of certification has differing founding principles (even if there is a lot of overlap). You can think of each category as having a founding principle:
•Organic: Purity of product using non-synthesized ingredients.
•Biodynamic Holistic agricultural health.
•Sustainable Mitigation and reduction of wastefulness in winemaking.
•USDA Organic – Wines are made with organically grown grapes, all additives (fining agents, yeast, etc) are organic, no GMOs (or other prohibited ingredients) are allowed. No sulfur (sulfites) additions allowed.
•“Made with Organic Grapes” – Much closer to the European organic certification. Wines made with organic grapes also have organic additives (fining agents, yeast, etc) and are also non-GMOs. The one caveat to this certification is that wines are permitted to have up to 100 ppm sulfites.
What Does Biodynamic Mean?
The concept behind biodynamics is that everything in the universe is interconnected and gives off a resonance or ‘vibe’. The interconnectivity of everything even includes celestial bodies like the moon, planets and stars. Biodynamic viticulture is the practice of balancing this resonance between vine, man, earth and stars. Essentially, biodynamics is a holistic view of agriculture.
Each biodynamic calendar day coincides with one of the four classical elements of Earth, Fire, Air and Water that have been used since before Plato’s era:
•Fruit Days: Best days for harvesting grapes
•Root Days: Ideal days for pruning
•Flower Days: Leave the vineyard alone on these days. Leaf Days: Ideal days for watering plants
•Beyond organics is where sustainability comes into play with resource management in terms water and energy efficiency in the vineyard and winery. Sustainability will grow in importance in people’s minds as climate change continues to become a reality. Of course defining sustainability is a bit complicated because of the unique environmental stresses of different wine regions. This is why you’ll see a myriad of different sustainability certification programs.
•Nearly 100% of South African wines are Integrity & Sustainability Certified.
•Nearly 100% of New Zealand vineyards are certified sustainable.
•By 2019, the entire Sonoma wine region will be sustainable.
Les Hauts de Lagarde Rouge
Organically grown grapes / Non GMO. Smoky aromas and flavors of charred nuts, roasted berries, and clay with a satiny, crisp, dryish medium body and a medium-long nuts, craisins and cassis, and earth finish with woody tannins. A fun earthy French red for the table or cellar.
Domaine du Joncier, Cotes du Rhone L’O Joncier
Organic. This very impressive Lirac Rouge is a testament to the Grenache grape being the ideal vessel for delivering the stoniness of the vineyard straight to the bottle.
Illahe Vineyards Viognier
LIVE-certified estate. The Illahe Vineyards Viognier has effusive aromatic notes of apricot, honeycomb, and peach pulp leap out of the glass to greet the nose. Followed by more subtle notes of teatree oil, lime, and gardenia. The wine plays on the palate with a tantalizing acid backbone that is generous, opulent and unassuming.
Anne Amie Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Live-certified / Sustainable. Flavors of sweet dark cherries and berries, forest floor, anise, dark chocolate nibs, chai, and a hint of black pepper. The finish is long with rich, smooth tannins and acidity.
Les Hauts de Lagarde Bordeaux Blanc 2015
2016 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys – #20
Made with Organically grown grapes. This is a delicious, ripe wine that is packed with apricot, apple and pear fruits. It is tangy and freshly fruity. The bright, rich fruit continues right through this wine that is ready to drink now.
Perrini Primitivo 2014
Fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks/ Certified Organic estate. The grapes are picked by hand and brought to the winery in small baskets. The resulting wine is only 13% alcohol, surprisingly low for Primitivo. The wine features an elegant nose of forest fruits, spice and black cherry.
Pieropan Soave Classico DOC 2015
Certified Organic. Brilliant yellow straw in hue with a greenish tint, the wine opens with delicate aromas reminiscent of almond blossoms, marzipan, white peach and honeysuckle. On the juicy palate, crisp acidity frames flavors of toasted nuts, lemon zest, pomme fruits and apricot. Exceptionally balanced, the wine concludes with a lingering finish that offers both length and concentration, wrapping up with delicious notes of honeycomb and marzipan, energetic minerality, and creamy lift.
Frog’s Leap Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2015
100% stainless-steel fermented/Organically grown and dry-farmed. Make no mistake, the slate and minerality typical of Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc is all there in spades and anchors the wine in its Rutherford roots. It’s just that there is something more. A hint of white peach or perhaps a bit of lychee that only is there in the best years. The result is a bit of expansion in the culinary possibilities. Despite this range, the wine remains deeply Frog’s Leap…bracing in acidity and always refreshing.
Pizzolato Pinot Grigio 2015/2016
Non-GMO Project Verified. Made with organically-farmed grapes, the pretty Pinot Grigio offers floral aromas of white spring flowers along with creamy green apple and citrus notes. It has crisp, clean finish. Sip as an aperitif or pair with lightly seasoned fish dishes. Certified
Cooper Mountain Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2015
Certified Organic.100% stainless steel fermentation. With tones of mineral, peach, pear, apricot. Rich and balanced.
Chateau de Lascaux, Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc 2015
Made with organic grapes. A wonderful combination of fresh acidity and that soft, ripe mouthfeel we love in southern whites. It is rare to find this much class in such an inexpensive bottle of wine.
Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino 2015
Produced in a Certified Organic, carbon-neutral winery. The aromas in this wine are very complex with white peach and apricot, yellow grapefruit, and lemon blossoms erupting from the glass. The fruit aromatics carry through on the entry and lend sweetness to the mineral driven pallet. The wine has very appealing ripeness and great balancing acidity. This is a medium to light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc, where the complexity of stone fruit and green apples, yield to a very citrusy, crisp finish.
Stay Tuned for more recommendations!
*Information was collected through numerous sources, Wine Folly was a great resource, winefolly.com/