The organic food method has been around for decades now, and the wine industry is starting to get on board.
Here's a list you can use as a starting point for organic and biodynamic wine, as well as a rundown of what the terms on the wine labels really mean.
So, grab a healthy meal from an organic-oriented store like
( WFMI), then take your Riedel tumbler from
and do a toast to your health (and to that of the Earth)!
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. It's a really good "food wine," says Trey Starnes, of
. The region produces "buttery wines" with a little more acid, which would go well with chicken or lobster.
Bodegas Vinos Pinol Sacra
The 2005 vintage received a score of 89 points out of a possible 100 from the
. The wine is a blend produced from Carinena, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tempranillo. "A kitchen sink of a wine" this is perfect for burgers, says Jonathan Hoehn, national wine buyer for
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
. It may go well with "burgers or hot dogs" from the grill.
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.
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
in Upland, Calif. "You can pair it with a white sauce, sautéed chicken or fish."
This Spanish wine is made using Monastrell grapes. It goes well with "any types of red meats," says Rich Lewandowsky, manager at
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
Made in Chile, this "organico" wine is 100% Sauvignon 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."
Tips for Finding Organic Wines
The meaning of the term "organic wines" 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.
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's 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
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