Are You Looking for Organic and Sustainable Wines? Our Top 5 Picks, Just in Time for Earth Day
We’ve all been there. That dinner party or cocktail hour where, just when the conversation is getting good, you break out in what looks like hives, or a rash, or something…highly unattractive…likely induced by the wine you’re drinking at that moment.
What many people inaccurately mistake as an allergy to sulfites is, more often than not, a reaction to ‘something else’ that’s in that wine. Preservatives, chemicals, pesticides used in farming, and additives put into either the soil or at times, the wine itself can sometimes cause your skin to flush, and create a histamine reaction.
Organic and sustainably grown wines can help to reduce that, and help you avoid those embarrassing moments at your next wine tasting or dinner party.
Pasternak Imports was kind enough to supply us with a few organic and sustainable wine samples this year.
Some of these we’ve reviewed previously, and some we’ve never tasted before. Most are between $10-25 a bottle-an affordable wine selection for your next celebration. All of these wines are available at retailers nationwide.
Morro Bay – Split Oak Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California, $11.99 or less)
As a Lodi Rules Certified, wine, Morro Bay’s vineyard incorporates a wide range of sustainable practices not only for grape growing but also for the surrounding ecosystems.
What does this mean from a green/eco-friendly perspective? These practices can include the use of solar power, recycling all paper/glass/water & wildlife habitat restoration among many other green initiatives.
We tried this wine during a wine tasting barbecue, along with samples of sausage with red wine and herbs, and 4 different varieties of pork ribs from Pig of The Month (which we’d also HIGHLY recommend).
Morrow Bay’s 2009 Cabernet was not one of our favorite Earth Day wines last year, but wow, what a difference the next year’s vintage can make! This wine was dark and soft, with a full mouth feel upon opening. It softened a bit more after decanting, but was altogether a delicious wine to pair with barbecue, as well as the rich dark chocolate cake we had for dessert. It’s also a bargain priced wine at under $11.99.
From the winemaker: A swirl of the glass showcases this wines deep yet vibrant red color and releases its concentrated aroma of ripe cherry fruit. Traces of chocolate and spice from oak aging. The soft tannins carry the palate through a long-finish.
Grape Varieties: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec
Mud House – Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (New Zealand, $15.99 or less)
Our newest favorite wine for spring and summer is Mud House-Sauvignon Blanc, 2011. With a retail price of $15.99, this wine is perfect fit for a summer cocktail party or pre-dinner appetizers.
The color is very pale straw. Acidity is balanced, tart, and dry. The finish lingers in the mouth, with notes of grapefruit, guava, and spring snap pea (grassy and green!) on the palate. You may also notice hints of floral, with gooseberry, quince, and crisp apple on the end.
This is a fresh, clean tasting wine would pair well with many vegetarian, poultry, or seafood dishes.
Grape Varieties: 100% Sauvignon Blanc (Wairau Valley)
Goldwater – Pinot Noir 2010 (New Zealand, $24.99 or less)
This 2010 Pinot Noir was reviewed back in 2012, and we liked it quite well at the time. For a New Zealand Certified Sustainable winery, Goldwater consistently produces great wines, and the value cannot be beat. Tasting notes show typical earth and peat on the nose. Palate exhibits rich dark cherries, cinnamon and clove, as well as just a hint of cocoa. A very supple wine, that appears to be aging well. Retail $18-24.99.
This wine pairs well with duck, roast pork, or a vegetarian dish of roasted wild mushrooms and root vegetables over wild rice.
From the winemaker: The aromas and flavours are packed with raspberries, black cherries and spice. The palate is rich, round, elegant and graceful.
Grape Varieties: 100% Marlborough Pinot Noir (100% Wairau Valley)
Mud House – Pinot Noir 2011 (New Zealand, $21.99 or less)
Mud House Pinot Noir was another new, organic, green and sustainable wine for us this spring. Also from New Zealand, this 100% Pinot Noir grape varietal exhibits a dark, ruby red color, with bright, juicy cherry, plum, currant spice, and silky oak on the palate. It is fruit forward, with dark fruits and soft tannins.
Pair this pinot noir wine with a game dish like venison, rabbit, or lamb, roasted with dried figs or cherries, and it’s sure to be a hit. Retail is $21.99 or less.
Morro Bay – Chardonnay 2010 (California, $11.99 or less)
Situated halfway between Monterey and Santa Barbara, California, Morro Bay catches the coastal breezes and cool nights that make this region, and the Paso Robles area of California, so well known for their wines. This particular varietal is a great reflection of what that type of environment can do for a wine.
Typical of chardonnays that have not been overly oaked, you’ll notice tropical fruits and a tart finish on the palate, as well as a light straw color with hints of green. With initial notes of butterscotch and lemon, the acidity in this wine shines through, making it an easy wine to pair with any light vegetable based dish, fresh seafood, or creamy pasta and poultry. Retail: under $11.99.
From the winemaker: Vanilla cream soda nose with a slice of fresh cut pineapple. Full body, tropical fruit, spice and pleasing vanilla oak note linger in the finish. Sweet flavor on the palate is from sur-lie aging the wine on the primary yeast lees for 6 months. A versatile style of wine that can be served chilled with fine cuisine or a glass with friends.
Grape Varieties: 100% Chardonnay