September 12, 2010


 An organic vineyard at Emiliana; photo courtesy Emiliana


Yet another report from my trip to the wine regionsof Chile! While organic and biodynamic wines may not be on the minds of somewine lovers, "green" wine is becoming more mainstream these days andChile produces a ton of really delicious examples of both. I didn't realize theextent of the "green" wine movement in Chile until my visit; manywineries farm biodynamically and/or organically even if they don't get theofficial certification. Here's a quick explanation of organic and biodynamic soyou're clear on the concept. Organic wine is made from certified organically grown grapes (which means no fungicides or pesticides were used), without any synthetic additives or added sulfites (though naturally occurring sulfites will still bepresent). If the wine has added sulfites but is otherwise organic, it will be labeled "wine made from organic grapes."

A biodynamicwine (BD for short) means that the grapes are farmed biodynamically, and thatthe winemaker did not make the wine with yeast additions or acidityadjustments. A wine labeled “made from biodynamic grapes” means that awinemaker used biodynamically grown grapes, but used yeasts or other winemakingmethods. 

Biodynamic is similar to organic farming in that both take place without chemicals, but biodynamic farming views the vineyard as an ecosystem, and incorporates ideas about astrology and lunar cycles and often uses homeopathic treatments to treat vine problems like mildew. 

Andin case you're wondering, there's no sacrifice in taste in these wines. (Infact, some of the winemakers I spoke to said that organic and BD wines tasteeven better than "regular" wine.) Some of my favorite producers are Errazuriz, De Martino(which I wrote about last week); Carmen,which makes organic wine under the Nativa label; Vina San Pedro (who makes anorganic line of wines called 35°South);and last but not least, Emiliana (trytheir 2007 Coyam, a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, andMalbec; it's the second wine in Chile to be certified biodynamic. In additionto Coyam, their wines are bottled under the Novas and Natura labels. And theyare the largest organic grape grower in Chile, with 1,700 certified organicacres.) All of these wines are readily available in the U.S. and arepriced in the $10-25 range; click on the websites for more info. 

Cheers to Chile!

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