Bring Your Own Organic Wine

The best thing about restaurants which allow you to bring your own wine is that you can open your favorite organic and biodynamic selections. The Organic Wine Journal staff had a boys-night-out recently at the restaurant Tartine in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. It’s a small, intimate setting where diners sit very close to each other while being served elegant bistro-style meals.

Tartine has no spirits license, so patrons are free to bring their own bottles without a corkage fee. We took advantage of this to have two delicious organic wines from Sky Saddle Wines. Their winery is in Santa Rosa, California, and they source most of their organic and biodynamic grapes from nearby vineyards. Owners Matthew and Kate Wilson are committed to sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming; restoring marshland as a watershed for farming, using Demeter certified fruit and aging in French oak barrels from renewable forests.

We drank the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sanel Valley Vineyards, with our salads and appetizers. It wasn’t possible to decant it for the hour that Kate had suggested, though we let it sit for as long as we could. Rich with fruit and complex berries, it was a very individualistic wine; unlike the fruit-bomb Cabs made for the masses. This tasted more like wine and less like a marketing product. It had good tannins and hints of leather and smoke, though not enough to compete with the food. As it continued to open up the smoothness came forward, and so did more flavors of licorice and spice.

Our entrées were all steak dishes, so it was time to taste the 2003 Twin Oaks Vineyard Sonoma County Zinfandel. Steak, fries and Zin: that’s a nice night out in New York. The Zinfandel, like the Cabernet Sauvignon, wasn’t made with Robert Parker’s spirit looking over anyone’s shoulder. The overripe, sweet, hit-me-with-a-brick-style wine typical of California Zinfandels was not present in this bottle. Instead, we had a restrained, earthy, lush wine in our glasses. It’s cliché to label all individually made wines as having “terroir,” but that is the word for this one. It drank smoothly with all the raw fun of an earthy Zinfandel.

What could be better than great food, great conversation and delicious wines made without destroying the earth or poisoning its inhabitants? We suggest you find restaurants near you and try it for yourselves.

Our thanks to Sky Saddle and Tartine for making a great evening.

Visit Sky Saddle Wines online at


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