WINE O’CLOCK: A glass full of feelgood factor
I am always a bit suspicious when I see the label ‘organic’ on any item. The definition tends to be vague, the product expensive and I have never found the flavour of the meat, vegetables or whatever, to be noticeably enhanced.
I am particularly suspicious of ‘organic’ wine because the term has no legal standing. It implies production with a minimum use of pesticides and as little human intervention as possible.
But organic producers can still add yeasts, tannins, oak chips and (organic) sugar and they can clarify with (organic) egg whites, isinglass or gelatin.
If they stick to these minimal rules their wine can be certified ‘organic’ under the Eurocert code. Many small producers find the process of certification too cumbersome and expensive and use the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ tag without certification. Mostly they are genuine, but who knows?
For better or worse, sales of organic wine have been increasing rapidly. In Britain their value has doubled in two years to €50 million. I can’t find any figures for Ireland but I’ve no reason to think it is any different here.
The trend has encouraged the growth of artisan vineyards using traditional methods – and who could complain about that?
Here are some good organic wines. They tend to be just a little dearer than their non-organic equivalents but they come with a feelgood factor built in. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
Sokol Blosser, Evolution white 21st Edition (€26.95 Le Caveau, Kilkenny)
A lot of organic wine is produced under the Evolution label from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This is a blend of several grapes including Muscat, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and, Riesling.
Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser say they use “local organic straw, organic cow and horse manure, grape pomace from the crush and organic rock phosphate … the insect population is kept in check by a resident flock of bluebirds.”
You don’t get more feelgood than that.
Proverbio Organic Prosecco (€16.95, O’Briens on offer)
A good Italian sparkler with flavours of peach and pear. O’Briens say it is organic and vegan. So, feelgood on the double.
Tour Des Genders Merlot/Malbec €15.99 Worldwide Wines Waterford
More Merlot than Malbec. Flavours of dark fruits and sweet spices.
For feelgood, how about “fermented in stainless steel tanks, maturation takes place half in tanks, half in barrels; the wine is neither filtered nor fined.”
Dona Paula Estate Black Edition 2016, Luján de Cuyo, (Around €16 from Tesco, Dunnes and SuperValu)
A pleasant medium-bodied red from Argentina. Dark fruit and spices again. Goes well with steak or burgers, if you fancy a barbecue.
Reto 2016, Manchuela, Bodegas Poncen (€21.50, La Touche, Greystones and wicklowwineco.ie.)
A lovely light, white, perfect with shellfish and excellent summer sipping just by itself.