Not too long ago, organic and biodynamic wines were a niche within the world of drinks. But recently, production and consumer interest in this category has grown rapidly, especially as the environmental impact of what we consume becomes front of mind. These wines have also outgrown their reputation for being unbalanced or difficult. Nowadays, many offer refinement and easy drinkability.
FreshDirect Wine & Spirits, recently introduced new bottles that represent some of the best values and greatest innovators in organic and biodynamic winemaking. But before we take a look at them, let’s establish what we’re talking about when we talk about organic wine:
In the US, organic wines are wines made using organic grapes and additives, meaning that they are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Additionally, the USDA requires that organic wines have no added sulfites (sulfites act as a preservative that slows down wine spoilage).
Made with Organic Grapes
The USDA has a “made with organic grapes” label, which can be applied to wines that use organic grapes, but contain added sulfites and/or non-organic yeasts or other additives used to shape the character of the wine. Some wines that would be considered organic in Europe, where added sulfites are permitted in organic winemaking, fall under the “made with organic grapes” category in the US.
Biodynamic agriculture treats a farm as a self-contained, self-sustaining organism and emphasizes biodiversity, soil health, and following natural cycles. In addition to meeting the standards for organic farming, biodynamic systems rely minimally on outside inputs—for example, the manure and compost produced by a biodynamic farm may be used to fertilize the soil, which in turn produces crops that sustain the living creatures on it. When employed in winemaking, this emphasis on site-specific resources leads to wines of unique terroir that reflect the land they’re grown on. Demeter, the largest organization for biodynamic certification, also requires that wines meet certain processing standards.
Natural is an unregulated term, although it’s worth mentioning since it has become a buzzword for wines of a certain style. Most commonly, it refers to wines with grapes grown according to organic practices that are fermented spontaneously with no additives, sulfites or refining. The results can range from breezy and highly drinkable to brazenly unconventional and challenging. Again, these are unofficial descriptors, so if you see a wine labeled as “natural,” it does not guarantee anything about the maker’s practices.
FreshDirect has worked with Chateau Maris for over a decade. This winery, led by the visionary Robert Eden, is one of the most forward-thinking and eco-conscious anywhere. Built in 1997 in the Minervois region in the south of France, Chateau Maris is 100% sustainable, has a negative carbon footprint, and employs biodynamic methods. Their Maris ‘Natural Selection’ Syrah-Grenache, named in reference to Darwin’s theory, shows a purity of deep black fruits, spice, violets, and a rich, silky texture. Also make sure to check out their vermentino, Zulu syrah, and canned pinot noir (it’s arguably the best pinot in a can).
Blue Quail Organic Pinot Noir
This pinot noir from Mendocino, California showcases fresh red berries on the nose with rhubarb, cranberry and a hint of spice.
Les Grimaudes Biodynamic Rhone Blend
This blend of grenache, carignan, and cinsault from the southern Rhone valley exhibits a powerful concentration of ripe fruit a with a touch of savory funk that’s ideal for drinking with stewed meats, game and charcuterie.
Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc
An organic sauvignon blanc from the Seresin Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. It’s characterized by tropical notes and an undertone of fresh herbaceousness and citrus zest.
Goisot Organic Aligoté
Aligoté is Burgundy’s lesser-known white wine grape and this organic example from Jean-Hughes Goisot shows off its dynamism. Fresh and racy on the palate, this wine also has weight and lushness supported by notes of spice and melon.
Friend & Farmer Biodynamic Red & White
At just $11.99 per bottle, these biodynamic, vegan wines from Spain are an unbeatable deal. The red is a relatively light in body tempranillo, with ripe cherry aromas, red fruit flavors, and a clean, precise finish. The white is a crisp verdejo that is perfect with seafood.
La Mura Organic Nero d’Avola
Juicy, supple, and packed with red cherry flavors, this organic red from the hills of western Sicily is a pure delight. Enjoy it with veal, roast chicken, duck, or tomato-based dishes.
Shop all organic and biodynamic wines at FreshDirect wines & spirits.