Warm greetings! This November we are to introduce you to a few examples of new organic wines, but also check out a well-known Bonferra brand and showcase a few bottles of No Sulfites Added wines. Ready to check these wines out?
New Organic Wines
First half of the set is a selection of different styles of organic wines that can suit your everyday dinners.
There is something cozy and satisfying when I think about Rioja – not just parties, but warmth and spicy roundness. I could not miss this bottle of 1808 Rioja Crianza sourced from a rather unknown retailed called Good Wine Online. I have ordered a case of different wines from them, so more reviews to follow, but first let’s taste this Spanish one.
Very passionate labelling of this natural (unfiltered, but contains sulfites) and organic Tempranillo wine.
It tastes a bit harsh in terms of acidic character, but overall is fresh and reminds me of joven wines (unaged Rioja), yet it is Crianza so it did spend some months in a barrel. You can then feel that woody kick to it – not your typical rich and mellow vanilla, but rather forest fruit and cedar with just a touch of vanilla. The latter doesn’t add sweetness but just a bit of roundness. Strawberries and a bit of cream with wood is how I would describe this wine – it is pleasant even though it is rather fresh. Good wine that puzzles a bit (with its freshness coupled with woody kick), but still very enjoyable.
Next stop is France. Mas de Longchamp 2014 is coming from a region of Bouches du Rhone. It is made of organic Grenache and Caladoc grapes and is rather lower in alcohol than your usual suspect from southern France at 12.5%.
This wine is light and fresh, displays some pure cherry flavours. It appears slightly sour-ish for my liking, but it is refreshing and straightforward.
The name can be easily confused with Cotes du Rhone so remember to read the label carefully, in most cases wine label will tell you or shall I say prepare you for what is inside, so you can set up your expectations from the bottle.
This one is unfortunately not working for me as it is is way too simple with its light and straightforward juice, it is not bad, but would suit better for your summerly picnics when you want your red light and without an extra alcohol kick to it.
24/35 and can be sourced at under £8 at Vintage Roots
Touchstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 is made from organic grapes in Rapel Valley, Chile. This country is famous for its organic produce (Etnico and Adobe wine brands are huge right now) and, producing its wines in a sweet-ish style, could be that cost-effective pleasant addition to your everyday dinners or dinner parties.
This wine offers really smooth black currant flavours that represent Cabernet Sauvignon really well. It has some acidity to it, so it is rather vibrant, but you still can taste a bit of jamminess in it. No surprise here – it is Chile after all. I found some interesting back notes of black currant leaves and mint too – just tiny bit on the back though. Very pleasant!
I did not expect much from this wine as (forgive my judgemental approach) it is just £8.75 at Vintage Roots. It could be a very simple wine, but an addition of special layers of herbs and spices to black currants is really making it a bit more special.
I have selected this bottle not just because I normally do not go for Italian wines and it is simply time to review more of them, but this particular variety is their answer to ever so popular with warm and spicy flavours Zinfandel. It was born in Croatia to be transformed into a main grape variety of Puglia in Italy and then to be transported over to California and become its red gem.
The wine is very fruity – it displays generous black fruit on the front: ripe plums and black currants. Sweet spice is there too – cloves and vanilla make this wine taste sweeter, rounder and more concentrated.
I found it to be just tad too sweet to my liking, but if you pair it well it will go down really well with rich stews full of herbs and flavoured with juniper berries.
Just good at 26/35
No Sulfites Added wines (NSA)
Have a look at our quick summary of what are organic, biodynamic and no sulfites added wine here at our Organic FAQ. Natural wines are also either no sulfites added or contain very low quantities of that chemical compound, have a look at our review of RAW fair that happened in London earlier this year if you want to know more about natural wine movement. I have decide to showcase two NSA wines for you, so you are aware which brands are offering these products here in the UK.
Vintage Roots offers Teillery brand that comes from Maipo Valley, Chile. The following two wines are priced at £11.5 mark, so not exactly very cheap and as with majority of NSA wines they cannot be stored for extended periods of time, so these are 2014-2015 vintages.
It offers pleasant dark fruit and also some characteristic cassis flavours. It definitely needs some aeration prior to actually drinking it as at first swirl it smells quite weird (more or less expressed by majority of no sulphite added wines actually). Further down the tasting it appears as fruity and rich with its generous but also clean flavours, which are fresh and straightforward. The wine is not very pronounced or concentrated either.
I think it is a good wine for those who like clean fruit, not overly sweet or acidic, but not very much in your face either. 25/35
The wine is very young, fruity and fresh, with some extra layer of dark bruit – some black berries. Spice is there and not too much of sweetness in it, so it is fresh and quite rich as well.
Start with this NSA Syrah if you’ve never tried this type of wine – it is good, offers generous and straightforward fruit without gimmicks or weirdness (some people reported that they have tried some examples and were thrown by the wine’s weird character – this is not going to be the case!) 26/35
What about well known organic brands?
Finally, I want to review two wines produced by Bonferra – a world famous wine from California, USA. It is very interesting to see how they are investing into popularisation of organic movement and doing it quite successfully with both of the below bottles to be found in major Waitrose stores, a part of different wine cases at Waitrose Cellar and at Ocado.
Just to make a quick note that Organic certification in the EU is not the same as in the US, so these wines come from organically grown Merlot grapes, but not without sulfites (as in the USA requirement) but it’s enough in the EU to call these wines organic. I fully support this terminology as organic is clearly a term to describe how the grapes were grown. What happens in the winery is a separate process and that should be marked separately from the organic term.
This organic Merlot shows very exciting cherry flavours with some stewed plums and vanilla notes. Balanced acidity makes it vibrant as well and not overcooked. You can feel a bit of chocolate on the finish – this is a really good touch.
It is a true gem and displayed at Fine wine section at Waitrose at around £12. 27/35
You have probably noticed that I do not review as many white wines as I do reds, but this wine is wonderful – it is acidic and refreshing, but not hurting my stomach with a lot of acid, so it is rather restrained and balanced.
It offers great peach and melon flavours and noticeable stone fruit (I can taste bittersweet notes you can get from apricots and peaches when you are eating close to the stone). I like this wine to be that clean and expressive, so you can make this tasting note very precise and memorable. When you taste this wine further you find the notes of lemon and honeyed nature to be wonderfully in contrast with each other.
The wine is very good 27/35
So what are you going to drink this November?
These 7 organic red wines offer slightly different flavour profiles and the remaining organic white may not be 100% match to aid your cozy autumn evening, but as I can see sun shining on this last day of October, it is just a matter of occasion – would you serve fish to your guests and want to match it with an exciting and organic white wine or offer an extra warmth with New World organic reds?
Bouches du Rhone definitely failed to impress and should be avoided, but new organic winemaking traditions of Chile and USA continue to offer exciting flavours worth exploring. Let us know which ones you enjoyed the most.