Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine

Punch writer Aaron Ayscough reports that demand for limited Natural Wines in Paris has led some restaurants to try and keep them hidden from customers not deemed worthy:

The simplest defense against cherry pickers, practiced at wine-shop-slash-restaurant Le Verre Volé and celebrated Belleville bistrot Le Baratin, is to have no wine list at all. Ostensibly this is to ensure that each table arrives at the optimum wine choice. In practice, it also ensures that clients are screened before each wine sale.

Meanwhile, at the Left Bank’s historic Café de la Nouvelle Mairie there is a generous list of natural wines—but it’s only shown on demand. In my experience, staff members I don’t know typically point me to the blackboard of glass-pour wines when I request the list. Each time I must insist that there is indeed a wine list—often making a silly rectangular motion in the air with my fingers—before the server concedes and hands it over.

Read the full article at

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Edible Manhattan

Organic Wine Journal just got written up in Edible Manhattan by writer Alia Akkam. Check out the article here.

“We don’t want people to drink a biodynamic wine just because it’s biodynamic. It should be judged on its own merit, like with conventional wines. But if two products are equally good, why would you not take the organic one, where the winemaker lets nature do the work?”

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A new organic and biodynamic wine bar is opening in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. From DNAinfo:

Sunrise/Sunset, 351 Evergreen Ave., opened last Thursday with just bar hours, starting at 5 p.m., said owner Henry Glucroft, 29, who also owns Henry’s Wine and Spirit at 69 Central Ave.

Glucroft, a self-professed wine aficionado, wants to expand the wine list to include more than 100 bottles of natural, organic, biodynamic wine by next week, he said.

The bar currently serves 10 wines by the glass and offers three champagnes. Glucroft, who spent much of his childhood outside Paris, gravitates towards natural, biodynamic wines because they’re made from grapes in self-contained farms that don’t use any pesticides and don’t add chemicals.

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The makers of the documentary Wine The Green Revolution have put some smaller videos online to explain organic and biodynamic winemaking techniques.

Here is one where Pierre Masson explains Lunar and Astral Rhythms.

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Domaine de Montcy

Domaine Montcy Vineyard

Laura Semeria loves a challenge. The Italian native was a sommelier and food producer, but on a trip to Loire Valley she fell in love with the nearly-forgotten grape Romorantin. Coming across a young, but floundering estate, she was determined to buy it and set out to do big things.

Laura took over Domaine de Montcy in 2007 and began converting it to organic practices in 2008. In 2010, she started the process of becoming biodynamic. No doubt, her neighbors were taken aback at the Italian showing up with her newfangled ways, but she made it work. Today, her winery is thriving, she’s built a two-room guest cabin in the middle of her fields and she even encourages lingering among the vines, with signage spotlighting the different grapes.

Montcy Guest Cabin

Guest cabin at Domaine Montcy

The domaine makes 12 different wines including several expressions of Laura’s beloved Romorantin, which she ages 18 months on lees, and is her only grape not used in a blend. We started with a fresh, vibrant 2011 Cheverny Tradition that is 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay, then moved on to 2011 Clos de Sondres, a 50/50 Sauvignon/Chardonnay blend that exhibited more body and power.

Next were two expressions of Romorantin – a 2009 Cour Cheverny, more acid driven and a bigger vintage than usual, and 2010 Plénitude, which was sharp with prominent acidity. Moving on to the reds, we tried a nicely structured 2010 Cheverny Rouge Louis de la Saussaye (60% Pinot Noir, 25% Cot/Malbec, 15% Gamay) and a vibrant Cot (Malbec) & Pinot Noir blend. To finish, the 2009 Cour-Cheverny Claude de France (100% Romorantin) was lightly sweet (39 grams/rs) with plenty of acid to back it up.

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New wine bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, focussing on organic and Biodynamic wines.

Sort of Wine Bar
639 Driggs Ave
Sort of Wine Bar Facebook Page

Read more about them on Greenpoint Gazette.

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From Wired:

You’d think the various adjuncts wouldn’t make it past the sommeliers, high-end buyers, and big-name critics of the wine world, that such chemical or mechanical shortcuts would be picked up by their well-trained palates. But the truth is that these things can’t be sniffed, tasted, or spotted unless they are overused.

“Usually you need lab equipment to detect additives,” Draper says. “The Europeans had a very sophisticated machine that could analyze a sample for non-approved varieties like the Rubired in Mega Purple [a popular grape concentrate used to deepen the color of red wine], which was used to reject non-vinifera wines being imported from the States. They also had another machine that could detect whether non-grape sugar was added to a wine, and could even tell where the beets used for the sugar came from.”

Draper’s solution is not banning adjuncts, but asking winemakers to disclose them on a voluntary basis.

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Domaine FL

Domaine FL

In Rochefort-sur-Loire, Domaine FL has big plans for the future. A brand new winery building had largely been completed when we arrived last year, but a B&B and restaurant on the upper floors was yet to come. For our visit, we took in a gorgeous view of rolling hills while standing around a table trying the wines in the not-yet-completed top floor.

Founded in 2007 and organic since 2009, Domaine FL is named for owner Philip Fournier’s parents’ names: Fournier and Longchamps. Unusually for the area, the winery’s holdings are spread on both sides of the river, including some in the prized Roche Aux Moines sub-appellation. Wines produced by FL fall are classified as either Savennières or Anjou.

Domaine FL Vineyards

We started with Anjou Blanc, from the hills around the winery. In France, the wine is called “Les Bergeres,” but in the U.S. it is labeled “Le Chenin” -apparently an easier sell. The 2010 was refreshing with pronounced apple and drank easily. A good introductory wine not meant for aging. More intriguing was the 2008 Chamboureau made from Savennières grapes grown on schist. It aged for 18 months in barrels and vats, garnering an intriguing truffle nose in the process. This is a rich, complex wine ready to drink now by contrast the 2009 was fuller bodied but less intriguing. Just as interesting was the 2008 Roche Aux Moines from across the river. The volcanic rock imparted strong minerality to this racy wine. The Anjou Red "Le Cochet” is 100% Cab Franc with pronounced tannins when we tried it.

In good vintages, the domaine also makes sweet wines. We especially liked the 2009 Coteaux du Layon ”Les 4 Villages” – a medium sweet wine (80 grams/rs) balanced by nice acidity, perfect for foie gras or blue cheese.

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