Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine

Chateau Musar Rosé 2008

In one corner, the greatest winery in the middle east. In the other corner, a man who only drinks one or two Rosés a year. Who will come out ahead in this Rosé death match? Watch the No Spoof Zone and find out.

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Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2009

High range of brightness, if this was a piano it would be the top ten notes on the keyboard. Very floral and semi-sweet. Not a broad range of complexity, but what it hits it hits well. Citrusy, with guava notes, would serve it well chilled and pair it with grilled vegetables on top of a whole wheat pasta.

Ehlers Estate Merlot 2007

This is why they still plant merlot. Smoky, chewy and full bodied, this is a luscious ripe complex merlot. Bright, fruity but restrained – just delicious. Roast a chicken with tarragon and a slice of smoky cheese.

Ehlers Estate 1886 Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Restrained Cabernet Sauvignon with fruit that doesn’t scream Cabernet Sauvignon. Well crafted, smooth. A little dark licorice and raspberry. Steakhouse wine. Our tasting panel slightly preferred the Merlot, but this wine a huge hit at a party we threw afterwards.

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This is one of Lyle’s favorites from natural wine superstar Thierry Puzelat. There may be a little bit of heat, but that’s not a flaw when you’re not manipulating your wines and staying true to the vintage. Watch Lyle’s review of the Clos du Tue-Boeuf Le P’tit Blanc 2009.

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This wine has a “Dressner” nose and a fresh baby scent – in a good way. See what Lyle thinks of the 2007 Sophia from Cantina Giardino.

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With the rescue of the Chilean miners capturing the world’s attention, we though we should celebrate with some organic wines from Chile. Emiliana was founded in 1986 by the Guilisasti family. They have 2,014 acres of organic and biodyanmic certified vineyards within six wine regions, and are converting another 800 acres in the next two years.

Antonio Bravo, the lead winemaker, came to Emilana from Kendall-Jackson in California and was originally skeptical of organic and biodynamic techniques. Switching to natural yeast fermentation was another challenge. He is now convinced they make more complex wines.

Natura is Emiliana’s line of everyday value wines, with a suggested retail price of $11. Here’s what the OWJ gang had to say about them:

Natura Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Emiliana)

Cut grass aromas with citrus and grapefruit. Well balanced with good acidity. Would pair well with simply prepared grilled fish, nothing too heavily sauced.

Natura Chardonnay 2009 (Emiliana)

No over-oaking here, which we like. Green apple aromas. Very refreshing, with barely any acidity. A good wine for someone who is on the fence about Chardonnay, more French style than American. Perfect with your favorite raw bar selections.

Natura Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Emiliana)

Bright wine with very soft tannins, but enough acid which gives it a nice mouthfeel. Ripe dark berries flavor and a blood red body. Opens up to a palate of a little tar and fruit. This is a steakhouse wine – filet mignon and baked potato time.

Natura Carmenere 2008 (Emiliana)

Dark foreboding color. Pleasant aroma with dusty earthy notes. Reminds of us of some Italian wines. Heavy tannins, with nice fruit coming through. Pair this with… yes, another steak. This needs something fatty to stand up to the tannins.

Natura Merlot 2008 (Emiliana)

Humongous nose with a ton of oak, which carries through to the palate. Not as distinctive as Natura’s other reds, but nothing wrong either.

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This is the wine all wine geeks live for. Once you’re in the cult you’re never coming out. From Lyle’s favorite winery in Spain comes the Lopez de Heredia Viña Gravonia Rioja Blanco Crianza 2000. Nothing else in the world tastes quite like it.

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Barbeito Madeira Boal 5 Year Old

Every time Lyle tastes Madeira he falls in love with it and thinks he should drink more. You may not like the smell of vulcanized rubber in real life, but in Madeira it’s a beautiful thing. Find out how the Barbeito Madeira Boal 5 Year Old measures up.

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The key to a good sweet wine is the right balance of acidity, and this one has it. Made from Chenin Blanc, Lyle can’t stop raving about this bottle. Learn all about wet wool and fancy lemons in this review of Château Soucherie Coteaux du Layon Chaume 2007.

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