Organic wine: getting ready for Organic September
Organic September is a month-long campaign, organised by Soil Association, which aims to raise awareness of the world of organic products, and to the brands, producers and farmers who bring these wonderful products here in the UK.
But, what is organic wine? Organic wine is produced following specific EU regulations, firstly introduced in 2012, that regulate and limit the use of certain additives and controlling practices in both the vineyard and the winery. This doesn’t only mean that grapes are grown without the use of artificial, chemical and synthetic products, but also that additions such as yeast, gelatine and egg white should be derived from organic materials.
Although anyone can practice organics, producers need to be certified in order to label their wines as organic. Authorised companies control and inspect vineyards for compliance, and issue certificates to wine producers. On the other hand, there are many producers who farm and produce wine organically, but choose not to pursue the certification because of different objections, such as amount of the red tape involved in the process, or in order to retain a degree of flexibility during challenging years.
At Walker & Wodehouse we have an extensive selection of certified organic wines. We work alongside some of the best organic wine growers and wine makers of the world in order to bring their fascinating wines to the UK. But, how to decide where to start?
Read our Account Managers top organic wine selections, and fill in the form below to receive our list of certified organic wines!
Dinah Kinnear – Te Arai Chenin Blanc, Millton Vineyards, New Zealand
Millton Vineyards is one of the very first wineries in New Zealand to receive biodynamic certification, and James and Annie Millton can be considered the godfathers of New World biodynamics. To them, these practices are just a natural extension of common sense in farming, respecting the harmony of nature. Having travelled to their vineyards as a wine student back in 1997, all their wines have captured my imagination and heart. But, if I have to choose one, it would be Te Arai Chenin Blanc. Te Arai reflects their journey in the pursuit of the best expression of Chenin Blanc’s subtle fruit aromas, while leaving the land in an improved state for future generations.
Emily Bonsor – Tornatore Etna Rosso 2017, Italy
Tornatore is one of the largest and oldest producers in the Mount Etna area, Sicily, specialising in local grape varieties. The Tornatore Etna Rosso is a fantastic Sicilian blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, grown on the side of Mount Etna. The fertile volcanic soils result in the grapes being packed with flavour, which is clearly noticeable in the wine. Soft and smooth tannins with lots of red berry and leather notes. Having been aged in oak barrels adds elegance to this bold wine. Perfect with a simple bowl of tomato pasta.
Patrick Mallinson – Domaine Thalabert Crozes Hermitage, Paul Jaboulet Aine, France
Since the 2016 vintage, all Jaboulet’s estate wines have been certified organic and this is testament to the tireless energy and passion of owner and winemaker Caroline Frey. The Frey family took over this famous estate in the mid-2000s, when Caroline took the helm and imposed her philosophy in the vineyards. Thalabert is located on the lower slopes of the famous Hermitage hill in the Rhone Valley. I really enjoy this wine, as it is approachable when young, but will age at least 10-15 years, and represents great value for a single-estate wine. I’ve got a few bottles in my cellar, waiting to be opened on the right occasion…
Dominic Terry – Dry Riesling 2016, Huia, New Zealand
While on a round the world trip in 1998, I stumbled across Huia Vineyards as I was cycling around the Marlborough Region. Little did I know 8 years later I would have the opportunity to sell these incredible organic and biodynamic wines, and I have been promoting them ever since. We were fortunate enough to ship a small parcel of their 2016 Dry Riesling. Only made in exceptional years, this wine is from a single site in the Hillside Vineyard in the Hawkesbury Valley. The nose is aromatic, full of floral and citrus notes. On the palate the wine shows jasmine and honeysuckle alongside lemon and lime citrus. Refreshing, vibrant with a mineral finish.
Caroline Krey-Jacobsen – Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016, Prophet’s Rock, New Zealand
I was first introduced to Paul Pujol, both the man and his wines, six years ago, when I worked as a sommelier at Sager & Wilde. I was immediately blown away by the wines, by their elegance and purity, and in awe of Paul himself, and his ability to make sustainable wines of top notch Burgundian calibre. With autumn fast approaching, Pinot Noir is always my go-to grape for those colder, darker evenings. Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 is a treat like no other. Incredibly concentrated and elegant, with floral and spicy notes, this wine will drink beautifully with roast pork or even on its own.
George Randall – Brut Rosé NV, Llopart, Spain
Started as an ‘agricola’ in the 14th century, it wasn’t until 1887 that Llopart’s focus turned toward premium sparkling wine. They were also one of the foremost advocates for a separate DO being created for premium Cava, called Corpinnat, which is now widely used all over their labels. Organic and delicious, if you have not tasted this rosé, you should. It emanates rhubarb and brambly fruit, with a lovely smooth mouse and lingering finish. Savoury, delicious and utterly exceptional for the money. This is my house sparkling and not once has it been opened in ‘Casa George’ without great acclaim! Cracking wine, cracking winery.
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