Organically Good


We are all so health conscious today, it is high time we included wine in our grocery list of organic purchases.

First off, let's clear up a misnomer. In wine lingo a wine labeled "made from organically grown grapes" does not mean it is a wine with "no sulfites".  If you've ever tried a "no sulfite" wine it is an acquired taste, quite different from wine you would recognize.

"That has been a problem for organic wine makers," says Michel Ginoulhac from Organic Wine Company out of San Francisco.  They got linked with "no sulfite" wines, and people assumed that "organically grown grapes" meant inferior tasting wine.  And then there is the confusion between "organically grown grape" wines and "organic" wines.   The National Organic Standard Board and USDA state wines can only be listed as "organic" if they don't use any added sulfites.   And "vegan wines" have no egg white.  Yes, wines use egg white as a sulfite.  But that explanation is for another day and another article.   You can see how confusing it can get.

So, setting the record straight, wines labeled "organically grown grapes" are not only richly flavored and very drinkable, but often can be more complex than regular wine.  These wines have roots that tend to grow deeper in organic soil, making them heartier and more even in their quality from one vine to the next. The result is a richer grape. 

In fact, because organic wineries are so specific in their wine-making techniques, the higher quality wines are often better than say "non-organic" wines.  And lest you forget, better for you.   A real plus if you are an avid wine drinker. 

Non-organic vineyards frequently use various chemicals on the soil that end up in the grape, and thus in your wine.   When wineries use more then one chemical it can cause a real problem.  That one chemical may be safe on it's own but when a second chemical is added the composition changes.  And, if there is a third chemical added it can be even more dangerous. This goes for any type of soil based fruit or vegetable.  That is why organics are becoming more and more popular. 

Sadly however, because of the bad press organic wines have gotten in the past, many vineyards do not advertise their grapes as "organically grown."

Michel at Organic Wine Company out of San Francisco sent me three organic wines to prove his point.

The 2001 Delmas Limoux Chardonnay was amazing.  It was clean and fresh with a pepper and pear nose.  I drank it with various cheeses and olives, and with every bite the wine accompanied the food beautifully.  Excellent.  Next was a 2000 Chateau Bousquette Saint Chinian.  A mix of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes.  Another richly textured wine with a smoky berry and plum flavor.  Again an excellent bottle. Sadly, the third bottle was off.  The Bourgogne Pinot  Noir 2001.  Luck of the draw.  Michel apologized and said he had just had two bottles of the wine and it was excellent, so I'm sure it normally is.  

For the wine connoisseurs around, The Organic Wine Company has created a wine club to encourage the "organically grown grape" wine craze.    That would be the craze that I'm starting right now.  For further information, check out Michel's site WWW.ECOWINE.COM to order any of their first rate wines.  And you too can join the craze.

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