On Biodynamic Wine

Jun 06 , 2016

Tom Kisthart

On Biodynamic Wine

This is from our email newsletter on July 3rd, 2016. If you're not a subscriber, signup here.

Hello everyone,

This is one of the most exciting lineups of wines that we've put together so far - at least as far as I'm concerned. Join us in tasting over a dozen 'hippy' wines between 6:00 and 8:00 tonight for just $10. There will be plenty of cheese as always. While none of the cheeses are certified organic all are from producers who know that working with healthy & happy animals means better quality cheese. Our guest pourer is the bubbly William Lucious with Augustan Imports. Ask him if he has any Cabernet to taste and you might see his head explode. Not that there's anything wrong with Cabernet ;-) 

Defining terms

I'll start by defining the two terms that may not be clear. What is this so-called 'natural wine' you speak of Tom? It's a basically a meaningless term. Natural wines can be defined as wines made with as little human intervention as possible. They may or may not be certified organic. For example I wouldn't consider a winery to be a maker of natural wines just because they throw a bunch of info on their website about how green they are. Everyone does that, greenwashing is especially rampant in the wine industry. I always consider the reputation of a wineries' importer first and then the reputation that the winery has before accepting any such claims.

What is this Biodynamic stuff?

BS? Probably. But it works. Biodynamics is a framework that goes beyond organic. It involves such things as burying a dung stuffed cow horn in the ground at a certain time of year, digging it back up and spraying the vines with a solution made from it. Another solution (or preparation as they're referred to) must be stirred clockwise and then counter clockwise for an exact amount of times in order to "dynamise" the potion. Various activities in the vineyard must be done in accordance with phases of the moon. And the list goes on. Yes, I'm as skeptical as my tone suggests.

But why are so many of the world's best wines made this way? Hundreds of wineries have ran experiments to see whether it was worth it to farm like this and many determined that their biodynamic wines taste better (and age better in some cases). 

Now is that the result of implementing the strange practices described above or is something else at play? Here's an analogy that hopefully I don't garble. Say you read about a study that reports greater rates of disease in meat eaters versus vegans. Well it turns out that everyone from that vegan group only shopped at health food stores and the meat eaters shopped in general supermarkets. Are the disease rates lower because people who shop in health food stores are the type of people who make better lifestyle decisions or does the absence of meat in their diet actually have something to do with it. Maybe if I finished grad school I'd know the name for that type of bias. Anyways, the attention to detail required to implement such practices may be the driving force behind the improved quality. It's a really complex topic and I'm done talking about it for 2016.

I talked in the previous email about Spain's best sparkling wine producer that we'll be pouring 3 wines from: Raventos i Blanc. If you'd like to see the land where these wines come from I suggest you watch this beautiful silent video from the winery. It's refreshing to see vineyards treated as the ecosystem they should be. Here's something to contrast that with. Satellite images of the tanks where much Gallo wine is made:

Onto the wines

Lucious will be pouring the following (links to more info on website where available):

Raventos i Blanc l'Hereu 2013 
Raventos i Blanc Silencis 2014
Raventos de la Finca 2013
Radikon Jakot 2007 500ML
Roagna Dolcetto d'Alba 2013
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2013
Ampeleia Kepos 2013 

I'll be pouring:

Borgoluce 'Lampo' Prosecco Brut NV
Berger Gruner Veltliner 2015 Liter 
Seresin Sauvignon Blanc Estate 2014 (yes New Zealand SB can be worth $20+ this winery is awesome)
Kelley Fox Wines 'Mirabai' Pinot Noir 2013
Montinore Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014
Poggio Foco Cecco Cabernet Sauvignon, Tuscany 2010
Triennes St. Auguste Red 2013 (organic, same winery that makes that awesome rosé we almost sold out of Wednesday. More arriving today)

Come and taste everything for yourselves. Try some new stuff. If you're in a rut, get out of it. 

Beer people, still reading? Man, thank you. Here's something for you.

Darwin 'Big Deal' Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout &
'Ayawasca' Psychedelic Belgian Dubbel Aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels
(What!? Think Darwin spent too much time ingesting plants in the Andes) 

The brewery Darwin did something to irk me recently (don't want to get into it, trying to stay positive today). So somehow these rare bottles made it into the shop. This Saturday you have a chance to win one of them. Spend at least $20 on beer and you get a role of the dice. Land on six and you get to pick one to take home. One chance per person, per couple, or whatever. You beer people (oh no he didn't) are tricky so no funny stuff. Only way to get two chances is if you spend at least $40 on beer AND wine (one transaction). The first person to win gets to pick which one they get. Must mention contest, open only to newsletter subscribers and FB followers. Thanks for your attention.