This new edition of ‘What to buy or avoid’ comes with a summery theme as I have decided to dedicate it to our planet’s Southern hemisphere or you can call it New World. Yet all the wines that are reviewed below are organic, so please shop away and taste the ones you find more attractive. The following 6 organic wines all display different styles dictated by Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz grape varieties, so you really have quite a choice. All these 6 organic red wines are sold in London (and most of them online) by Waitrose, Ocado, Vintage Roots, The Wine Society, Sainsbury’s, and Budgens. The latter is the only one you will need to visit in person as they do not offer an online service or delivery. It is about time, don’t you think?
Let’s start with these organic wines and find out which ones you’d rather buy and which ones are to stay on the shelves.
Las Mulas 2013 organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile can be bought from either Ocado or Waitrose, but I have started to see this wine at other retailers as well. Does it mean it is popular?
Will a winemaker’s name make much difference to you when you buy your wines? In most cases I would say that I don’t think so. Yet many know a name of Torres. Afterall, they own a lot of properties in Chile and Spain and have quite a lot of money from their global operations. One of my favourite regions, Priorat, was also covered by Miguel Torres – you can find a tasting note on their Salmos Priorat wine in one of my recent reviews, where I compare organic vs non-organic wines.
Las Mulas (and you have alredy guessed that this wine is dedicated to the mules – those sturdy animals who help a lot in the vineyard!) is a very nice red, rich in black fruit and some blackcurrant flavours. It shows sweet and very ripe fruit together with abundant sweet spice (well, think about vanilla and cloves). As for me it displays quite a sweetish character overall. It is typical for Chile to be on a verge of off-dry, but it is just too sweet for Cabernet Sauvignon.
On a plus side, strong blackcurrant flavours are smooth and uninterrupted.
I have given it a mediocre, but OK score of 25/35, but you should probably also flip a coin before deciding on buying this one or not. Did I mention it retails at Waitrose or Ocado for under £9?
Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2014 from South Australia is another rich organic red that I have sourced from Waitrose Cellar.
It is a blend of organic Shiraz grapes across the whole South Australia region – it can be Barossa or Coonawarra for that matter, but we will not know. Yet to be labelled Shiraz it means 85% of grapes are exactly Shiraz grapes as Australian authorities dictate.
I wonder how typically Shiraz is this wine.
Yalumba 2014 has ripe plum and blackberry flavours, which are very soft and underlined by sumptuous notes of mint chocolate as well. There is some rosemary as well, but at the point of mint chocolate I must add that it is so typical to Shiraz!
Another positive point is that there are touches of acidity to counteract with quite a sweet side of flavours, so it is not jammy.
This wine is also vegan and suitable for vegetarians, yet its round fruit is too sweet and also too plummy for Shiraz. Try to chill it a little bit and consume fresh. I would skip it when buying though.
Coyam 2011 is a big red blend made by the most prominent organic Chilean winery Emiliana. It is probably the most popular wine that I have encountered both online, but also on physical shelves: it is listed at the Wine Society, Vintage Roots, The Sampler and also Virgin Wines, and I am sure I am missing quite a few.
It shows a very robust red fruit (plums and cherries) character and then some more of a black fruit nature (blackberries, blueberries and blackcurrants). You can taste some oak in it and its vanilla and cloves aromas.
As with the previous two it is also on a sweet side, as a typical Chilean wine, but fruit is more pronounced and elegant with subtle spice.
The wine is not very heavy and would be a good treat for your steak dinner (think about some pungent souce to match its herby and spicy character, i.e. juniper wine sauce).
Coyam is definitely pleasant, yet not not too complex or concentrated to be very good or outstanding, so it is rather good 27/35 for this vintage.
First thing that you notice is that the smell isn’t great – this wine’s aromas are not just of a young and playful wine, but also some of some wet cardboard and a bit of carbon.
I am pleased to report that the flavours are much more pleasing with noticeable and ripe blackcurrants, but also redcurrants that bring that extra layer of acidity.
Cabernet Sauvignon also manifested itself in its typical blackcurrant leaf aromas, yet there is no chocolate, something you get from the best Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon examples.
It is a good wine, and for the price of £7 pounds, it is recommended as an everyday wine that will be pleasant and definitely give way to your food to shine.
Crazy by Nature / Cosmo Red 2012 is a funky wine from Gisborne, New Zealand and sourced from Budgens in North London. Budgens seems to be very well stocked on organic wines. My partner particularly loves Picpoul de Pinet and I managed to find at least three decent bottle of this juicy white wine, all of them organic as well! Yet let’s go back to our Crazy Cosmo red, it is also biodynamic and produced without any filtration.
I also liked its lower alcohol content at 12%. It is made from Malbec, Syrah and Viognier, so it is a big plus that it is naturally (no intervention made) low in alcohol.
The wine is velvety, peppery and fruity (yet not overly). The fruitiness comes from red currants, firm plums and reed cherries. It’s full of contrasts as it appears to be fresh but not too acidic, round but with a punch of spice. It’s also somewhat fuller than what you can expect from the usual NZ mouthfeel – possibly because of no filtration involved in the winemaking.
The company is proud to have 30 years of growing grapes organically already. It creates such a nice story of a very dedicated winemaker.
This organic kiwi red is elegant and will be a good one for summer, just make sure it is slightly chilled. Overall, it is a good organic red wine, but it shows quite a restrained fruit, whichis also not overly impressive, so it is only 26/35.
The wine is also natural, and they ensure all grapes are hand picked and hand sorted, also naturally fermented with indigenous wild yeast. It was then aged in old French barriques for 11 months. It is quite average in alcohol at 13%, but so delicate and juicy, with attractive strawberry flavours and noticeable cedar and oak layers. It is also perfumed but not overly, juicy but restrained, and display a very modest amount of oak – a very good balanced Pinot Noir made by a sustainable business – you should definitely try it.
The rating of 26/35 is a bit average for such a positive review, but despite of the fact that the wine has generous strawberry flavours and delicate nature, it is also simple and straightforward, so it is not for a special occasion, but rather for an everyday summery meal. Buy it from the Wine Society.
As you can see, you have plenty of choice for experimentation with these New World organic red wines. Yalumba organic Shiraz from South Autralia was a bit disappointing in terms of being a bit flabby with its rich plum flavours that are overly sweet, but the rest of the above wines are different, so I hope you have a good time with them. All of them do not go above 27/35 mark (that was Coyam), but Momo with its 26/35 was simple yet very delicious, it suits well to summery picnics and you should chill it a bit. Enjoy and do not forget to check the Best Organic Wines and search for more at All Organic Wines.