Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine



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“Everywhere.” That’s what the sales rep told me when I asked where their best organic wines were at the March 18th David Bowler portfolio tasting. Bowler is known for supporting organic and biodynamic wines, and recently acquired all of Nicolas Joly’s wines — so recently, that all they had to taste that day was three bottles leftover from the decision meeting. Lucky for me, I got there early and was able to try them.

Savenierres ‘Les Vieux Clos’ 2013 is extremely mineral driven with chalk and slate notes dominant, notes of apricot were also found on the palate with a zippy finish. Savenierres Close Coulée de Serrant 2013 is a completely different wine, bright and fresh on the nose with prominent notes of rich, tallegio cheese on the palate. Finally, Savenierres Close de la Coulée de Serrant 2012 is bright with lemon zest notes on the nose and a creamy, lengthy, almost Burgundian chardonnay finish. Pretty impressive.

Moving on, it was time to take advantage of the beginning of rosé season and try a few gorgeous examples. Bandol Rosé from Domaine de la Tour du Bon that was light, fresh and tasted of fresh peach juice and clementines. There’s a reason this wine is summer in a glass.

My favorite, by far, was Champagne Tarlant. The Tarlant family has been making Champagne since 1687 and the vineyards have been passed down from generation to generation ever since. Melanie Tarlant was behind the table during my visit and was as bubbly and fun as the Champagne. Not only did she promise to send me her t-shirt (which read “F**k Number 5, I love Champagne”) but also told me which of her grandmother’s favorite vineyards each wine came from.

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Two bubblies that stood out from this tasting were Champagne La Vigne d’Or Brut Nature 2003 that is made completely from Pinot Meunier and had a surprising creaminess. The other is a champagne Melanie says is made from the “forgotten grapes of Champagne: blanc, arbanne and meslier. The Tarlants call it BAM! The wine has bright acid, lemon and lime on the palate with lots of bubbles.


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Tarantas Monastrell

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Tarantas is a line of organic wines originally created by Bodegas Iranzo in Spain for distribution at Whole Foods in the United States in 2005. They’re still available there but it’s no longer an exclusive, so you can find them outside the chain as well. Their Monastrell (the Spanish name for Mourvèdre) comes from the Jumilla region, located in the southeastern part of the country and known for its limestone. It’s imported into America by Natural Merchants Selections, which focuses on organic and biodynamic wines.

The Tarantas Monastrell has a spicy, meaty nose with cedar and cumin. Very peppery palate with dark chocolate, violets and blueberry. Light tannins and a long finish. Smooth, but still young. We enjoyed it with a simple meaty pasta sauce

Tarantas Monastrell retails for around $12.


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Tom and Steve Beckman have been farming their Purisima Mountain Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley biodynamically since 2006. Their 2012 Grenache Rosé is blended with small amounts of Syrah, Mouvèdre and Counoise and aged in neutral oak barrels (65%) and stainless steel (35%).

The wine has a nose of white flower petals, honeysuckle, melon and underripe raspberry. Also a nice hint of spice. The melon continues in the palate with red fruit and a creamy texture. Very enjoyable, though would prefer a longer finish. 1,200 cases were produced and the wine retails for $18.


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