The 6 best bottles of organic wine
Why go organic? Many producers adopt natural agricultural processes simply to produce tastier, more sustainable wines that appeal to the modern consumer. James Suckling finds the best bottles in the category.
Organic wine is a familiar proposition for growers and wineries who want to grow more efficiently and deliver a sustainable product. Although the term “organic” has different legal definitions around the world, there is one thing in common: the source of the fruits is limited to grapes grown without the use of agrochemicals – including pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides – or synthetic fertilizers. Only natural fertilizers can be applied, and only natural sprays containing mainly copper and sulfur can be used to protect vines from fungi and disease.
At its heart, the organic wine movement presents a scholarly and natural agricultural process, in which winemakers aim for a more pristine and ecologically viable way of cultivating grapes while producing more artisanal and palatable wines. This agricultural attribute of wine also sheds light on why fermented grape juice is such a magical liquid with immense aesthetic value and appeal. After all, very few drinks on this planet are as captivating as wine: it is able to hold your attention for hours at a time, and you can smell it and savor it – and even come back to it every now and then for it. compare with your other favorite castings.
On the other hand, highly industrialized wines are born from formulas generally replicated in large volumes. While they’re more consistent in style and quality, they’re unlikely to inspire you to explore, broaden your vision, or converse with the moving liquid they contain.
There are other good reasons for winegrowers to go organic. Ecosystems in vineyards become healthier with the adoption of finer and more precise wine-growing processes, and grape quality also improves, with much less intervention required. Winemakers often tell us that more wildlife has returned to their vineyards since they switched to organic farming and reduced chemical spraying; that the soil has become healthier through composting; and that the humus has gradually broken down to help improve soil nutrients and structure.
With technology deeply ingrained in every aspect of the viti-vini process, today’s wine consumers often come across wines that have undergone excessive intervention and handling. While this doesn’t necessarily translate into inferior quality, such processes turn wines into more commercial and industrialized drinks, devoid of any artisanal, aesthetic or environmental appeal. Organic farming, to a certain extent, responds to the quest of winemakers to achieve a continuum of “authenticity” and “naturalness” in their wines, making it an inviting proposition for them to revive agricultural methods. traditional and more natural before the use of chemicals became the norm. .
France – where “Bio” certification (organic farming) is now a widely accepted seal of approval – is also very much on the list. Regions such as Alsace, Bordeaux, Loire, Beaujolais and Burgundy are on our radar as top producers of organic wines. Indeed, these regions are also distinguished by a rise in organic issues and “biodynamic” practices.
But the meaning of the word “organic” often changes to reflect the specific mandates of each country, as well as the realities of the market. Affixing the “organic” label to wine means that the viticultural phase and the winemaking process must be both organic and free of added chemicals, including the process of wine making, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. addition of sulphites to wine.
In the European Union, the “Wine made from organic grapes” label is the only one authorized in the “organic” category. This emphasizes the naturalness of the grape itself, and the addition of sulfites is allowed during the winemaking process – similar to the “Made with organic raisins” label in the United States.
In the past 12 months we have tasted 1,682 bottles of “organic” wine, over 1,500 of which received 90 or more points, of which 232 scored at least 95 – our sweet spot for great wines . Although fewer examples of organic wines exist in our tastings, it is reassuring to see that the threshold for quality is so high. Topping the list, German winegrowers do their best for organic farming and produce incredible wines. Highly consistent producers such as quality-conscious Dönnhoff, Wagner-Stempel and Eva Fricke, to name a few, are making an indelible mark on the country’s organic wines.
The best bottles of organic wine
These six wines labeled “organic” obtained a perfect score of 100 in the jamessuckling.com rating system.
CONTINUUM NAPA VALLEY SAGE MOUNTAIN VINEYARD 2018
A delightful bouquet of a thousand golden fruits and a stunning interplay of brilliant diamond acidity and great succulence. Then, just when you think you’ve dealt with it all, comes a monstrous wave of minerality, sweeping you away.
DÖNNHOFF RIESLING NAHE NIEDERHÄUSER HERMANNSHÖHLE SPÄTLESE 2019
All the springtime joy of nature and the epitome of autumnal ripeness somehow combine with the summer morning dew to offer one of the greatest semi-dry German wines produced at the modern era. Breathtaking finish.
EVA FRICKE RIESLING RHEINGAU KRONE TROCKEN 2019
Extremely expressive aromas of candied lemon, pineapple and lemon balm lead you to an extremely concentrated, but perfectly harmonious mouth, which carries you wave after wave of very ripe flavors.
EVA FRICKE RIESLING RHEINGAU KRONE TROCKENBEERNAULESE 2019
Welcome to paradise, during the most incredible sunset you can imagine. Yet these rich colors are all undertones of floral honey. And just when you think it’s safe to go back into the water, the most surprisingly brilliant acidity and freshness of citrus and minerals lift you up.
TRIMBACH RIESLING ALSACE CLOS STE. JUNE 2019
The largest Clos Ste. Hune ever? The beauty and elegance of this young masterpiece of dry Alsace riesling is breathtaking. A subtle character of white peach, great concentration and such finesse in an extremely long and precise finish.
WAGNER-STEMPEL RIESLING RHEINHESSEN HEERKRETZ GG 2019
Here you really must be wondering how a peach could be more perfect than this. And what makes this dry riesling so amazing is the feel of glacial water on its cool side.
This story first appeared on PrestigeOnline Hong Kong