Monday, June 15, 2009
Organic & Biodynamic....Too Hippie?!
Saturday afternoon we hosted a tasting devoted to organic and biodynamic wines, now we’ve never been one of those shops that scream from atop a soapbox about these wines and we would never buy a wine for the shop simply based on the fact that it was organic or biodynamic, just not how we work. We taste wines and bring them in if we feel they have a place, if they happen to farmed organically, well cool, we’ll throw up a little tag on the shelf that lets the consumer know that. Sometimes the tags sell the wine, sometimes people turn their nose up at it…like low fat mayo or something, not for me to push anything down anyone’s throat or tell them what should be important to them.
As far as my personal feelings on whether the wines are better…I’m sure they are better for the environment, that can only be a good thing, and I do admire the risk and dedication behind it, but do they taste any better…I honestly have no idea. Like I said, I buy wine for how they taste, not for ethical reasons, and many of the organic and biodynamic wines we carry have been farmed that way as long as I have been buying them, (certified or not) so I have no, “before the mystic” points of reference. That being said, some of my favorite wines are organic or biodynamic, so maybe there is something about those “natural” or “unpolished” wines that suit my palate, then again, maybe I’ve just been lucky…..the point is I have no agenda, I don’t push the voodoo nor do I mock it, it’s all about what’s in the bottle for me.
So while walking through the shop I noticed that we had a fair amount of those little organic or biodynamic tags, all on some of my most beloved wines, so I thought it would be a fun tasting idea, a bunch of diverse wines from all over the world…fun right, yeah…had to be one of the poorest attended tastings ever, so sad.
Maybe a good chunk of our customers were hangin’ with Heff over at The Playboy Jazz Festival or they were terrified that we were going to feature “granola” wines, not sure what scared them off but they missed one hell of a tasting. No need to feel too bad for us, the people that came bought plenty of wine, the staff and hangers on polished off the bottles….their hostess, (that would be me) getting more playful with each emptied bottle, ended up opening some Roses and a couple of bottles of Champagne, it ended up being more like a private party, and I kicked off my manager shoes and stomped around with the revelers, cannot happen all the time, (and to be honest, had the bosses not been out of town things would have been more restrained) but a “too good” time was had by all.
2007 Goisot Saint-Bris, ($17.99) this wine took a bit of explaining, the word Burgundy kept tripping people up, I’m still amazed at how many people read Burgundy and think red. Once I explained that Burgundy is indeed a place, and Saint-Bris is within Burgundy where they are allowed to grow Sauvignon Blanc, they opened up to the wine and we actually sold a chunk of it. Massive citrus, tons of minerals and racy acidity, a perfect way to get the palate ready for the wines to come.
2007 Roland Schmitt Riesling, ($16.99) without a doubt one of my favorite Rieslings in the store, so restrained and clean. Quite herby, some very faint peachy notes and a clean, uber refreshing finish, a far cry from those sappy, rich Alsatian wines that have turned so many people off, this is very food appropriate wine brings a little snap to anything from grilled fish to roasted chicken.
2008 Canorgue Viognier, ($15.99) “I love a wine that can change my mind about a varietal” one of our long time customers grumbled after tasting this wine, (he’s a grumpy old coot, but he always speaks his mind…love that about him) I have to say, I agree. I think Viognier can be too much, not terribly food friendly and I think many producers oak the shit out of it…blech, but this wine is floral and peachy but retains a core of minerals, that taste faintly peppery, all with a light mouth feel and a tangy little finish.
2006 Terra Savia Chardonnay, ($12.99) this un-oaked Chardonnay from Mendocino is everything you want in an under $15.00 white wine, fresh apple and pears with a little lime rind on the finish. Soft and plush on the palate with a nice balance of fruit and acidity.
2006 Grgich Hills Chardonnay, ($38.99) mixed reviews on this wine, tried and true California Chardonnay lovers…well, they loved it, but some of the others found the wine a bit clunky. I think in all fairness, had they tasted the wine on its own, rather than in a lineup of super crisp, lean whites, they may have liked it better, caramel, toasty, roasted oranges with a creamy, but not too buttery finish…kind of classic Napa Chardonnay if you ask me.
2007 Brick House Gamay, ($23.99) a lovely Gamay from Oregon, remarkable purity of fruit, light weight and delicately long on the finish, I thought this was a beautiful, simple wine that would pair with all kinds of foods.
2007 La Cabotte Cotes du Rhone, ($10.99) think this was one of the biggest hits of the afternoon, spicy, smoky, extracted fruit with a leaner texture and a fresh pepper infused finish, bring on the burgers and BBQ!
2007 Cavallotto Dolcetto d’Alba, ($17.99) plump, grapey, slightly earthy and a sheer pleasure to drink.
2005 Chateau Falfas Cote de Bourg, ($21.99) deep berries and roasted coffee upfront with a fair amount of complexity and a finish of super fine tannin and spice…this wine would be a slam dunk with a fatty rib eye off the grill.
NV Domaine Balivet Cerdon Bugey, ($19.99) this off dry sparkling Gamay was another “split camp” kind of wine, funny thing is that California Chardonnay lovers said it was too sweet…say wha??! So funny to me the way some people look down their nose at semi sweet wines but drink wines with plenty of residual sugar…perception I guess. The folks that loved this wine could not get enough and absolutely loved it when I told them to try it with the salami we had out, that wine with cured meats and strong cheese….freaking retarded delicious, and at 8% alcohol you can have lots and lots!
So yes, it was a terrible turnout but those of us that were into it….were way into it and the wines were all tasty, clean, and just so happen to be organic or biodynamic…could not have been happier with the way they preformed