All greened out by Earth day? Why not ease your eco-info hangover with some Red, White or Blush wine whose production is better for the planet.
We're talking organic wines. What are organic wines? It actually depends on the label. Wines with a certified seal "USDA Organic" are actually different from those whose bottle reads "Made with Organically Grown Grapes." The former means there are no sulfites added, which can occur naturally, but are usually added to keep wines from spoiling, while the latter allows for a small amount. And that's not all. There are wines that are labeled "Biodynamic" that use organic farming techniques. Organic is better for the environment because "it reduces the amount of toxins in the water," says Lori Wyman of the Organic Trade Association. (It is also better for farm workers and most of us because we all basically live downstream.)
But, before you go off in search of just a label, know that there are winemakers in Europe that have been growing grapes for years without chemicals and pesticides. Only the labels may not reflect this process, which is why you should talk to a wine store employee when you're searching for an earth-friendly vino to go along with your juicy takeout T-Bone from Ruth's Chris Steak House (RUTH) .
Or, use this list as a starting point for organic and biodynamic wine that MainStreet gathered by distilling the wisdom of wine professionals in New York, California, Chicago, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. So grab a healthy meal from an organic store like Whole Foods (WFMI), then take your Riedel tumbler from Williams-Sonoma (WMS) and do a toast to your health (and to that of the Earth)!
Alma Rosa Winery, Chardonnay
More than 3,000 cases of the 2006 Chardonnay were produced by the husband and wife team Richard and Thekla Sanford, who created Alma Rosa Winery, which focuses on organic farming and sustainable agriculture. A really good “food wine,” says Trey Starnes, of Wine Specialist. The region produces “buttery wines” with a little more acid and would go well with chicken or lobster.
Bodegas Vinos Pinol Sacra, Natura
The 2005 vintage received a score of 89 points out of a possible 100 from the Wine Advocate. The wine is a blend produced from Carinena, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Tempranillo. “A kitchen sink of a wine” this is the “perfect burger wine,” says Jonathan Hoehn, national wine buyer for Wine.com.
Bonterra, Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2006 vintage uses organically grown grapes aged in oak barrels for 13 months. The varietal contents includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Malbec, Zinfandel and Merlot. “It’s a fantastic BBQ wine that’s lower in tannin and higher in oak,” says Rob Rutledge, a wine buyer at Wine Specialist. It may go well with “burgers or hot dogs” from the grill.
Domaine Galus, Costieres de Nimes
This French wine is made from Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Carignane. It has “enough structure to deal with olives,” says Elizabeth Decoursey, manager and wine buyer at The Greene Grape in Brooklyn, N.Y. She says it works well with Mediterranean dishes, flat breads with olive oil, and pizza.
Grgrich Hills Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon
It’s a typical Napa cabernet, says Hoehn. “It’s dense” and anything “hearty like steak or BBQ can be paired” with this wine.
Lololnis Redwood Valley Estate, Fume Blanc
Using organically grown vines that are around 40 years old, this wine is made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. “If you’re serving a white wine, the general rule of thumb, is you think white like chicken or pasta,” says Katie Rojas, customer care at the Fine Winehouse in Upland, Calif. “You can pair it with a white sauce, sautéed chicken or fish.”
Luzon Verde, Jumilla
This Spanish wine is made using Monastrell grape. It goes well with “any types of red meats,” says Rich Lewandowsky, manager at Shoppers Wines in Union, N.J. It’s a “soft red with a very smooth and easy finish.”
This wine is 100% Carmenere. The Carmenere grape is better paired, in general, with a “heavier pork or lamb,” says Rutledge. The wine produced from the grape “tends to be very big.”
Ukiah Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Syrah, Decoursey calls this wine “versatile”. You could pair this with a spaghetti Bolognese or a skirt steak, says Decoursey.
Vina De Martino, Sauvignon Blanc
Made in Chile, this “organico” wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, a white grape that is used for Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc. A lighter bodied white, this goes really well with fish dishes or goat cheese,” says Hoehn. “It’s a wine you don’t have to have with anything.”
If you’re looking for looking for other wines, check out our 10 wines for under $10.