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Wednesday 22 February 2012

Weekly Wine: Going Organic

I'm one of those people that, until recently, has been kinda of the opinion that if you're in a supermarket and there's an 'organic' option, it just means it's more expensive and will make your fridge look sort of a twat.

It wasn't until I had a tasting with wine guru extroardinaire Adolfo Hurtado from Cono Sur in Chile that I realised how crucial and positive this whole organic malarkey really is. Organic wine is absolutely no exception.

The quality of soils and vines are totally key to the style of the finished wine, (it's all part of the 'terroir' thing as the French call it, but that's a whole other kettle of fish) so it's important to cultivate them without all of that icky stuff. The pesticides and chemicals can be replaced with much more exciting things.

Growers can plant roses at the end of the vineyard rows, because they display the signs of disease before the vines do so they can act as early warning systems, and some pests can be counter-acted in a natural, fascinating way: For instance, little red spider mites causing your plants jip? No worries. Just send in some little black spiders to eat the little red devils. Problem solved. It blows my mind.

This is just the tip of a very shiny, up-and-coming iceberg, but basically organic wine is a cause worth supporting. Chances are, if the growers are brave enough and care enough to go organic, you can be sure their wine is going to be more than interesting.

Have a look around the shelves the next time you're browsing for bottles - all good wine merchants sell organic wines now, and they're not as pricey as you think...
Unsurprisingly, Waitrose really do have a good selection of the organic stuff. The one that really knocks my socks off is this exclusive offering from Aussie Super-Gods Yalumba. Delicately aromatic with gorgeous texture and refreshing balance. For less than a tenner, this is pretty special.

Emiliana Organic Vineyards Syrah Reserva, £7.59 per bottle if you buy six, Tesco Wine

Yes, Tesco do some rather good organic vino too. This Chilean Syrah from Emiliana has been brilliantly reviewed by the wine buffs and it's a perfectly peppery steak wine. Beefy body and chunky fruitiness make this a foodie winner for me.

For one of the country's leading wine merchants, Majestic have a somewhat disappointing selection of the organic stuff. They do, however, feature this Californian beauty from Bonterra, a producer that believes organically grown wines 'simply taste better'. Ideal if you like your Chardonnay with that buttery roundness from careful ageing in oak, this is packed with complexity.

I like the diversity of The Wine Society's organic list, and also how they've managed to find some really intriguing examples from the (ordinarily) rather less innovative Old World. Luc de Conti makes this Bergerac Rouge with a Bordeaux style in mind, so not only is this organic and under £8, it's a good alternative to those pricier Clarets. This is smooth, soft and fruity.

Are you a firm believer in going organic? Hit me up with your fave organic bottles in the comments, or tell us all about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Image from Stefan Lubiana Wines's photostream under the Creative Commons License.


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  3. I'm not convinced on the health benefits of organic, but you can't get away from the fact it's a lot less harmful to the environment. And in the case of organic cotton, hugely less harmful on the humans who grow it who have to breath those vile chemicals in every day.

  4. Absolutely, Ms Wanda. Environmentally-speaking it's brilliant work, but organic wine really isn't that much healthier for you, much as I'd love it to be... hehe.


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