Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine



A handcrafted corn vodka from the heartland. They use their leftover corn cobs to produce energy, but is the vodka worth the effort? Watch Tony’s review and find out.


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While selling my wine shop, I came across a number of wines that I just couldn’t let myself hand over to the new owner. They were simply too good to be left behind, so they came home with me. One of them was Philippe Tessier’s Cheverny Blanc. It had been another “love at first taste” for me, and one that I turned a lot of folks onto over the years. It’s one of the fabulous wines from the Cheverny appellation of the Loire Valley, a region I love. The Cheverny white is always a cepage dominated by sauvignon blanc and rounded off by a small percentage of chardonnay.

Domaine Tessier was started in 1961 by Roger Tessier and his son Philippe. In 1981 Philippe took over, and has been overseeing the 23 hectares ever since. The wines have been certified organic (ECOCERT) since 1998. Philippe’s winegrowing practices epitomize the natural wine philosophy. “We practice and promote small farm viticulture. A wine should be the expression of the place from which it comes. It should reflect the climactic conditions of the year, as well as a little of the vigneron who produces it, while respecting the life of the soil and the environment. It must give pleasure, but it must also be sound and healthy, alive and digestible…..it should be natural wine.” That pretty much covers it.

The Cheverny Blanc is 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Chardonnay and 5% Arbois. It’s neither filtered nor fined, and is fermented with natural yeasts. No sulfites are added, and it’s vegan and vegetarian friendly. It has all of the wonderful qualities of a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, but slightly rounded off with a touch of chardonnay. I’m thinking mussels, sole or a creamy chicken dish. At around $14, this is one of the great wine values. If your wine shop doesn’t know it or carry it, go find another wine shop. Or stop by my house.


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I have always been a believer in the versatility of rosés, and while they are not wines for the ages (with the exception of the serious ones from appellations like Tavel) they shouldn’t be dismissed as frivolous summer quaffs. I enjoy them all year — they’re especially good with Thanksgiving dinner — and I especially like them with a couple of years aging. That said, I discovered this Sicilian rosé a couple of years ago, and immediately added it to the 40 others that I sold.

The Di Giovannas have been making wine since 1860 (newcomers) and all five of their vineyards have been certified organic since 1997 (Suolo e Salute srl). The brothers Di Giovanna, Gunther and Klaus, oversee all the winemaking and winegrowing. This rosato is 100% Nerello Mascalese. The juice is macerated for about 12 hours — this is no light, pink, watery rosé — and then fermented on the lees in stainless steel for three months. It’s then filtered and fined, giving it some softness without taking away from its relatively full body.

Try this with grilled fish or even a lamb burger, because its reasonable 13.5% alcohol level belies its heft. About $15 will get you a bottle. Even in a world of a gazillion rosés, this one should make your cut.


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It’s two Philippe Bornards at once. Watch Victoria’s reviews of Philippe Bornard
Trousseau 2010 & Ploussard 2009.


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The recreational drug of choice in Colorado isn’t always Vodka, but when they put their mind to it, they produce a great organic spirit.

Update: “Vodka 14 is made from a grain blend of rye and corn, very similar to what you find in a grain blend for bourbon.”


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