– Nikhil Agarwal
Consumers in the most advanced markets in the world have already moved to organic in terms of ingredients for food.
They are also getting stricter on their wine purchase decisions based on the same principal, they just do not want to put anything harmful into their body. In India the notion of organic wine is very limited with only a handful of customers, mostly expats, asking for them. Yet there are more than just a few of them available in India.
Organic wine is simply wine made without the use or limited use of sulphites or chemicals in either the grape growing or wine making process. Instead natural composts are used in addition to crop rotation amongst others. This keeps the wine and the vine more natural and healthier for both you and the environment. You probably know that sulphur dioxide is used by wine producers globally to preserve wine. My wife for example cannot tolerate sulfites and organic wines allow her to enjoy her glass of wine without the nasty sulfite driven headache the next morning. People will asthma could look at organic wines too. It’s simply about being particular about what goes into your body to ensure that it is as chemical free as possible from a consumer point of view.
Biodynamic takes things a little further.It’s an addition over and above organic wine. In this century plus old concept, the vineyard is part of the universe and it should be kept in its natural state encouraging biodiversity in the vineyard, a closed nutrient system, the use of animals to keep the soil structure balanced. At the Cullen Estate in Australia, they follow this principle and I have seen with my own eyes cow horns filled with manure to be used to balance the soil after it decomposes. In Priorat in Spain I met a wine maker who encourage growth of flowers in between vine rows to create balance. Grapes are also grown keeping in mind the ‘energies’ of the moon and the cosmos, grown as per a specific lunar calendar and other astrological influences. To some it maybe mumbo jumbo but to a lot of wine makers out there this is the only way forward to ensure sustainability, true expression of the region or terroir of where the wine comes from, purity and ofcourse making a healthier wine for us to drink. A study I read on Jancis Robinsons website a couple of years ago stated that over 7% of the wine produced in the world is either organic or on its way to being organic.
I’ll let you be the judge on what works for you; here are some stunners at different price points from the world of organic/biodynamic wines that are available in India
Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin, Burgundy, France
The aromas are reminiscent of black cherry, wild blackberry and liquorice. The woody character is subtle and marries delicately with the other aromas. As the wine evolves, there are more complex notes, such as mild spice, nutmeg and leather. Later still, mushroom and damp earth nuances make their appearance. Although present on the palate, tannin is never astringent but blends itself harmoniously with the natural freshness and velvety texture of the wine. The same aromas encountered earlier on the nose are found again in the aftertaste.
Staglin Salus Unoaked Chardonnay, Napa Valley, USA
An elemental gold color and comes out swinging. Sun-ripened lemons, poached pears and tropical blossoms pour onto a medium-bodied palate of yellow orchard fruit, honeyed mango and citrus oil spiced by touches of vanilla, clove and subtle oak. This youthful and precocious wine is drinking deliciously now and should develop additional refinement with a little time in bottle.
Bibi Graetz Soffocone di Vincigliata, Tuscany, Italy
Hints of coffee, leather, and wild berries on the nose with a velvety, silky texture on the palate. The wine has very elegant tannins with a long and persistent finish.
Heinrich Pinot Noir, Burgenland, Austria
Burgenland has a generally warmer climate than Burgundy and site selection is paramount to produce a fresh and elegant style of Pinot Noir. This Pinot Noir exhibits freshness on the nose with aromas and flavors of red cherries, violets, and spice.
Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltiner, Kamptal, Austria
Faintly yeasty and alkaline notes in the nose accompany intimations of the rich, earthy, umami-laden foundation of subtly caramelized root vegetables that the palate delivers, studded with peppercorns and drizzled with fragrant floral honey. Satiny in texture, searchingly expansive, yet buoyant and preserving a vibrant core of sheer refreshment, this enters a finishing realm of oyster liquor-like salinity, oceanic mineral and seaweedy depth, that will milk your salivary glands while leaving your mouth agape.
Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon,Sonoma County, USA
The fruit for this wine was sourced from three distinct vineyard sites in the Sonoma Valley and bring three distinct and unique fingerprints to the wine style. The well drained Sunny Slope Vineyard brings profoundness to this wine; deep, dark fruit aromas and flavors of intense blackberry pull your attention toward the elevated fruit. The Cassata Vineyard, the cooler of the three, boasts bright red berry flavors contributing additional depth to this multilayered wine. The rich soils and protected location of the Stone Farm Vineyard round out th finish with its sweet tannins.
Framingham Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand
Sweetly fruited Pinot Noir is world famous in Marlborough, but we’ve made it our own by including a few whole bunches. It’s a tricky process, and much more labour-intensive, but when done well it turns the wine to velvet. The stems build silkier tannins and lend a heavenly fragrance. Our final twist is a turn in a smoky oak barrel. Just long enough to add a few layers of savoury and spice complexity to those classic cranberry, cherry and plum fruit flavours.
Albert Bichot Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Prestige, Rhone, France
It is fresh, young and complex, with a whole variety of spices, including various peppers, mild paprika and ginger.Generous, powerful and fat, it has superb body underlined by delicate oak.
Donnafugat Sedara IGT Sicily, Italy
Ruby red, Sedàra 2016 offers a fruity bouquet with scents of blackberries and blueberries combined with a light spicy note of black pepper. The palate displays good structure with suave tannins and pleasant freshness. A soft red, versatile for food pairing, perfect for every day.
Nikhil Agarwal, a trained sommelier who recieved his degree from WEST, London, is the mastermind who conceptualized All Things Nice to promote wine, single maltsand other gourmet food culturein India. He has been in the wine businedd for over 16 years and has hosted over 2000 wine events, festivals and training sessions over the last few years and has appointed as the Program Director of the Wines of India. With his company he has brought his expertise to Indian customers giving a new swirl to the wine industry in the country.