Sunday, November 7, 2010

Drinking Green Without Spending A Lot Of Green – Part Two

Welcome to part two of my series on affordable organic wines. I learned a lot of interesting things about organic wines and green practices while doing this article and I am so glad to be passing them on since so many people find these traits to be important in the products they buy.

Out of all the wines I tried, there was one lone French wine. The full name was Chateau de Nages Costieres de Nimes Rouge from the South of France. In other words, it’s a French Red Rhone wine...”an unoaked classic Rhone blend” to be specific. A 2008 vintage, this wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. I bought it for $9.99, a great value!

This wine is not only made from organic grapes but it is also sustainably farmed. The bottle boasts, “…we believe in an ‘Earth Friendly’ approach. Natural fertilization and grass seeding in the vineyard have greatly reduced our need for disease control and given out wines a unique ‘terroir’ signature.” The wine was medium-bodied with hints of dark berries and cherry and I detected a hint of herbs, possibly rosemary? It had ripe tannins and a slightly spicy finish. Serving recommendations on the bottle were Mediterranean cuisine, grilled meats and roasted chicken. My husband and I enjoyed ours with grilled sirloin steaks which made a wonderful combination. My husband really enjoyed this wine so it will definitely go on our list of regular buys.

All of the other wines I tried came from Sobon Estates located in Amador County, CA. The Sobon web site was a wealth of information on these wines and the sustainable practices of this family owned vineyard. The decision to grow sustainably came in 1989. The family spent a winter researching and then began using as few chemicals as possible. The site states, “Our growing practices have evolved over the years, and today we employ complimentary plantings, beneficial bugs, and other natural growing techniques that we believe encourage healthier grapes and better tasting wines.” On their bottles, they say they are proud of their sustainable practices which include solar power generation, composting of winery and paper waste, as well as maintaining wildlife habitat and natural pest control, cover cropping and erosion control, recycling and social responsibility. In 2007, the vineyard installed a solar power system which supplies 100% of the electrical needs of the vineyard and its operation. Since its installation, their carbon footprint has reduced to the point to where they are more than carbon neutral which means they are eliminating more carbon dioxide from the environment than they use. They even sell carbon credits to other industries. This vineyard seems to be the definition of “green!”

And their wines are wonderful. The first one I tried was the 2008 Sangiovese which I bought for $9.99. Technically, it’s a blend of 91% Sangiovese, 7% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Syrah. The wine had the aroma of fresh berries which carried over to the taste. I also detected a hint of eucalyptus and spice. It’s a medium bodied wine that Sobon recommended pairing with Italian dishes, antipasto and pizza. My husband and I drank it alone but we plan on buying it again to try with some of the suggested pairings.

The second Sobon wine I tried was the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc which also retailed for $9.99. Now, Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite variety so I was VERY excited to try an organic one that was such a reasonable price. And I wasn’t disappointed. The aromas of crisp citrus were very inviting. I tasted hints of citrus as well, specifically grapefruit with maybe a hint of melon. It was bright and crisp and would probably go wonderfully with seafood. This will probably become my “go to” Sauvignon Blanc.

The last Sobon wine I tried came from their Vicious line which Sobon calls their “recession fighters” although I bought the 2008 Vicious Red for the same price I bought their other wines…$9.99. This red was a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Zinfandel, 19% Petite Syrah and 5% Malbec. The wine starts out fruity and has a spicy finish. Sobon suggests enjoying it with chicken, beef or pork. Hubby and I enjoyed a glass with grilled NY strip steak, a wonderful pairing.

And with that, I end my venture into organic wines but I have to say, with so many of them out there, they will likely pop up in future articles. The idea of being able to drink wine from vineyards that are determined to reduce their environmental impact is very appealing to me and I am delighted I can do it within my budget!

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