Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Going SUPER Green....

Hello fellow “Greenies”-
Biodynamic is all the rage- and for GREAT reason. It’s good for us and good for the planet. Plus, it’s mighty tasty. The Europeans have been practicing Organic/ Sustainable farming for centuries. For them, it’s simply how you make wine. Know Domaine de la Romanee Conti? Zind Humbrecht? Pingus? Yup- they are ALL Biodynamic! Why? Biodynamic farming simply allows great terroirs (soil sites) to sing to the best of their abilities. Americans have caught the bug, due to a large European influence in California winemaking over the past 15-20 years. The thought of having no usable vineyards left in 20 years gave the winery owners pause. So that being said, some of the top growers, ESPECIALLY Cult Wineries like: Araujo, Quintessa, Joseph Phelps, Robert Sinskey, Grgich Hills, are spreading the word and producing earth- conscious wines.
Biodynamics is sometimes called the “Rolls Royce” of organic farming. It is VERY expensive to do, and extremely difficult to become certified. It is a holistic approach to farming, which looks at the entire property, including people and animals living and working there, as one ecosystem. By biodynamic regulations, 1/3 of the property must be dedicated to some other type of crop, be it wildflowers, cotton, avocados, raising sheep- anything but grapes. In this way, the land doesn’t get “used up”.
I traveled to Willamette Valley, Oregon last year and spent several days learning about this farming practice. I tasted wines blind, spent hours in the vineyards doing soil studies, and attended lectures conducted by Oregon and California's top growers- all advocates for sustainable farming. Tony Soter, of Etude and Soter vineyards, is leading the charge, urging enighboring wineries to follow suit. What I learned and saw was astonishing. Can you believe some of their tractors run on biodiesel, and if any fuel leaks into the soil they lose their certification? Talk about strict! Roses grew at the end of each row, used as a barometer for possible pest infestations (roses are SUPER-sensitive to the same pests as grapes, and therefore let vineyard managers know there's a problem before the vines get effected). It was bizarre to see a random tree or shrub stuck in the middle of a dizzying row of vines. Apparently, according to biodynamic laws, they are not allowed to disturb any living thing on the property from its habitat, and therefore have to work around these obstacles rather than remove them. Pretty cool, I think!

The people working there must have access to medical insurance, and this includes day laborers employed for harvest time. Natural pest control, including bat houses, owl houses, and the occasional Golden Retriever are all employed to avoid the use of pesticides. Soil mineral balance is carefully maintained by planting cover crops and plowing them under to control weeds. What does all this mean for you? Great wine that’s great for your cellar and the planet. Everyone wins!

AND, at this One-Week Only 25% Off Sale Price, you can KEEP some green!!!

At Stew's Wine Shop in Norwalk!!!

2005 Benziger Tribute
94 points Wine Enthusiast “Cellar Selection”
“Softly lush, complex in flavor, this Cabernet-based Bordeaux blend impresses with power and authority. Thoroughly dry and firm in tannins, it shows classic flavors of black currants and cedar, with intricate notes of cherries, violets, tobacco, mocha and beef jerky. Beautiful now, and should develop for a decade.”

Regular Price: $75

NOW: $56.25- Save 25%
2 and ½ cases available

2005 Quintessa
Amy’s Pick- “This is, for me, the most profound Quintessa I have tasted in my career. It has such opulence and elegance. Its seamless texture builds in intensity on the long finish, resulting in a lingering licorice and smoky blackberry palate that goes on and on. I truly love this wine, for both its approachability and tannic structure, ensuring it a decade of cellaring easily.”
“Top Cabernet” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Regular Price: $150

Now $112.50- Save 25%
2 cases available

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