As Earth Day approaches, we are reminded that great wine comes not from factories, but from farms. Michael Egan, our Sommelier, has been a proponent of organic principles in cuisine for quite some time and is thrilled that those principles are being applied to wine.
After reading a recent New York Times article by Eric Asimov "Want to Pick Better Bottles? Repeat After Me: Wine Is Food" Michael was reminded of a conversation that he had with a winemaker in Napa Valley. When he asked him why organic and biodynamic farming is a better practice, he simply pointed out his back window and said "This is where my children play. This is where they move their small tractor toys around in the dirt. This is where my wife grows our vegetables. This is my backyard, and where my grapes are grown. Why would I spray harmful pesticides there?" He's 100% right. If you don't want chemicals in your food, why would you want them in your wine?
Eric Asimov points out in his article that under federal law, a wine cannot be called organic unless it is made from grapes that have been certified as organic. In fact, the whole process has to use organic materials (like yeast) and not add any sulfur dioxide (preservatives). Few wines can technically be called organic, but many are made from organic grapes, but don't let the label lead you on. An organic label doesn't necessarily mean that the wine is better than a wine without an organic label. Most small farmers who go through great lengths, usually above and beyond just organic grapes, don't certify the wine to avoid the expense and bureaucracy of doing so.
Let's look at wine from a different perspective for a minute. The simplicity of it is that it's fermented grape juice, but think of those grapes like they were Heirloom Tomatoes. Heirloom Tomatoes are not refined, but they are the raw, unaltered vegetables. They hold different flavors and acidities. Grapes are similar. The raw, unaltered, organic grape carrys such an intergeral part of a story. The wine you bring to a dinner party isn't just a delicious, full body Cabernet Sauvignon, it's a snapshot of the weather patterns from that area that year, a flavor of the dirt, sun and rain from the year; it's tells a complete story, down to the family that grew and tended to the vines.
In today's wine world there are endless types of wines and places to get it. However, we think it's important to recognize and celebrate those who take a sustainable approach to winemaking. In Asimov's article, he compares the way you source local produce, meats, fishes, and breads to the way you pick a bottle of wine. You should take the same amount of time and thought into where you source your wine as you would into the ingredients you use for dinner. Small, passionately owned wine shops or online merchants will conduct intensive research on what wines they offer, eliminating much of the work for you and narrowing the important qualities for buying the wine to flavor and occasion.
Be assured the next time you peruse our wine list that this is the effort we put into our wine inventory. Michael researches, tastes, and picks only the best wines produced under the best possible circumstances. Here are a few of the organic wines on our wine list. Give them a try and we promise, you won't be disappointed!
Eudald Massana Noya Brut Cava, Organic, Spain, N.V.
"Nine generations of the same family devoted in body and soul to their vineyards."
Aromas of green apple, toast and tropical notes. Good, crisp acidity and great body. Light nutty flavors on the palate layered with light mineral and pear notes. Pair with our Salmon Gravlax Poke Poured by the glass.
Jean Foyard Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais, France 3.14, 2014 Vintage
"Grapes from one-hundred-year-old vines are used to make this fine, no-nonsense, silky, deep, and authentic Morgon. Jean Foillard didn’t become a legend without earning his stripes." Kermit Lynch. Pair with our Grilled Pork Chop. **Check with your server for availability.
Marcel Lapierre Morgon "Cuvée Marcel Lapierre," Biodynamic, Cru Beaujolais, 2015 Vintage
"Chauvet was a winemaker, a researcher, a chemist, and a viticultural prophet. It was he who, upon the advent of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the 1950s, first spoke out for 'natural wine,' harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais."-Kermit Lynch.
Pair with our Chicken Entree. **Check with your server for availability.