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Recs for Organic or Biodynamic Wines?

AnneInMpls Sep 15, 2006 10:10 PM

I'm planning a wine tasting next month, and I'm going to do Organic and Biodynamic wines. There are lots of wines to choose from, so I'm looking for some suggestions.

Are there any wines in the $15 - $30 range that you particularly like? Any type or varietal is fine, as long as it's really good. But I'm in Minnesota, so I probably can't find the more obsure stuff.

And yes, I read the thread discussing BD Pinot Noir and BD wines in general (I liked the poster who described BD as "Feng Shui for Grapes").



P.S. I found these helpful lists online, but there's way too much!

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  1. r
    RicRios RE: AnneInMpls Sep 16, 2006 03:18 AM

    On biodynamic wines there are three main references:
    Nicolas Joly http://www.coulee-de-serrant.com/
    Nicolas Joly http://www.coulee-de-serrant.com/
    Nicolas Joly http://www.coulee-de-serrant.com/

    1. frenetica RE: AnneInMpls Sep 16, 2006 03:23 AM

      I've plugged this before but I'll plug it again: Gruner Veltliner from Weingut Hofer. In New York, anyway, it retails for between 9 and 10 bucks for a litre bottle. You'll be surprised by how much more "expensive" it tastes. Maybe it can be your budget wildcard for the evening. It's Austrian, bright, super-clean.

      6 Replies
      1. re: frenetica
        RichardA RE: frenetica Sep 16, 2006 02:10 PM

        I am fond of the organic wines from Coturri. I especially recommend their Carignane, which sells for about $20.


        1. re: RichardA
          Omega RE: RichardA Sep 26, 2006 02:02 AM

          I agree - Coturri is completely natural - not only in the vineyards but in the cellar - many producers of "organic" and even BD use yeast additives, add acids, and chemicals like sulfites that take away flavors -

          Why grow organic and then process out all the goodness of the natural grapes?

          1. re: Omega
            newJJD RE: Omega Sep 26, 2006 04:38 PM

            As far as I know, you cannot properly make wine without adding some sulphites as a preservative... otherwise you end up with balsamic vinegar

            1. re: newJJD
              Winemark RE: newJJD Sep 27, 2006 02:09 AM

              incorrect many wines are made without the ADDITION of sulfites. It, however, does not make them Sulfite free or organic.

              1. re: Winemark
                Omega RE: Winemark Sep 27, 2006 02:53 AM

                your right - wine has been made for eons without chemicals added

                1. re: Omega
                  newJJD RE: Omega Sep 27, 2006 07:33 PM

                  I stand corrected, I'm not sure why I thought that

      2. h
        h2o RE: AnneInMpls Sep 16, 2006 09:03 PM

        If you can find any wines by Marc Kreydenweiss.... The Riesling is amazing. The 2003 Barbabelle is a good red.

        1. c
          Cinnamon RE: AnneInMpls Sep 17, 2006 09:05 PM

          Might I ask what you notice if anything about biodynamic wines that differs from organic or for that matter non-organic? In taste and/or effect. Have been curious about biodynamism but only really reached it from a skincare point of view w/Dr. Hauschka and Weleda products. Had a biodynamic wine of some sort once.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cinnamon
            AnneInMpls RE: Cinnamon Sep 18, 2006 06:41 AM

            I, too, am interested in whether anyone can taste a difference - that's the motivation for this tasting. I'm not sure I've had a BD wine yet.

            I'll post a report after the tasting, which is in mid-October, presuming I can find any biodynamic wines in this podunk place (as far as alcohol is concerned, we're kinda in hicksville).


            1. re: AnneInMpls
              Cinnamon RE: AnneInMpls Sep 19, 2006 02:51 PM

              Sounds like a fun tasting project. Enjoy!

              1. re: AnneInMpls
                redhookandrew RE: AnneInMpls Sep 26, 2006 03:13 PM

                There may be some pretty sophisticated palates out there, but I think tasting the difference is not so easy and not really the point of the whole thing anyway. Lots of the org. of biod. wines I've had actually have some real earthy flavors (read:funky dirty etc) in very lovely ways. The idea we have of organic products is often of cleanliness which can have a converse effect on wines. Wines that taste super clean are sometimes the product of lots of manipulation and intervention by winemakers. Hard to tell. I just like to support farmers and winemakers who are the best stewards of the earth.

            2. Midlife RE: AnneInMpls Sep 17, 2006 09:09 PM

              I a familiar with five California wineries that are organic and, I'm pretty sure, certified biodynamic.

              Frei Brothers
              Robert Sinskey
              Patianna (owned by Patti Fetzer)
              and, I think, Fetzer is also qualfied.

              Of those, only Patianna is relatively obscure, but then, we're in the backyard of all of them

              1. w
                Winemark RE: AnneInMpls Sep 17, 2006 09:19 PM

                Only a few wines from Benziger are Biodynamic, actually more like Demeter and that wine is TRIBUTE

                3 Replies
                1. re: Winemark
                  Pei RE: Winemark Sep 18, 2006 11:32 PM

                  They have a biodynamic lineup of all kinds of wine (white, red, and maybe port), just call and ask. I love the way they explain biodynamic farming, so take a look at their website. Maybe your friends would like the info at the tasting.


                  PS. They just added a video tour explaining biodynamic farming! I really enjoyed their wine tour, so take a look and see what you think.

                  Biodynamic or otherwise, Benziger makes some of the most consistently wonderful wines I've had from Sonoma. Of course, I'm talking about their reserve bottles which retail for $30+. Their $10-20 ones are just okay.

                  1. re: Pei
                    Winemark RE: Pei Sep 19, 2006 01:33 AM

                    This must be a newer or only from the winery thing. I sold these wines at the wholesale level up until 1 1/2 years ago and they were only making Tribute bio dynamically. Even more interesting is the Demeter certification which goes well beyond Bio dynamic

                  2. re: Winemark
                    rtmonty RE: Winemark Sep 27, 2006 09:20 PM

                    I believe all the wines from Sinskey are biodynamic. Member of their wine club. Outstanding pinots.

                  3. h
                    HeelsSoxHound RE: AnneInMpls Sep 19, 2006 12:46 AM

                    masut out of cali is biodynamic-- it's ceago's other line. they make a fantastic pinot.
                    brooks, from oregon
                    didier dagueneau (not really in the price range)
                    lolonis (cali)
                    lorca (cali) pinot gris is outrageously good.

                    1. l
                      laguera RE: AnneInMpls Sep 19, 2006 02:48 PM

                      porter creek, russian river valley. most of the wines are $25 and up, but they are delicious. i had a lovely syrah and viognier there.

                      1. oaklandfoodie RE: AnneInMpls Sep 22, 2006 12:13 AM

                        Preston of Dry Creek is biodynamic. I haven't had a wine I didn't love from them.

                        1. AnneInMpls RE: AnneInMpls Sep 22, 2006 01:15 AM

                          Thanks for all the great recommendations! Please keep 'em coming - I have another three weeks to shop...


                          1. b
                            bogie RE: AnneInMpls Sep 22, 2006 08:28 AM

                            I can't believe that nobody has mentioned the superb organic wines made by Bonterra in California.

                            Likewise, don't forget that most of the M. Chapoutier wines from the Rhone are biodynamic.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: bogie
                              Winemark RE: bogie Sep 22, 2006 02:40 PM

                              Bonterra is made of organicly grown grapes but is not organic wine. There is a fine line.

                              1. re: Winemark
                                bogie RE: Winemark Sep 23, 2006 06:21 PM

                                I did not know that...now that I take a fresh look at their website, I realize that they do not discuss winemaking practices at all.

                                1. re: bogie
                                  Winemark RE: bogie Sep 23, 2006 06:24 PM

                                  If you look at the package it says made with organicly grown grapes. One of the problems is that retailers put it in the organic section of a lot of stores. To be totally organic your vineyards need to be certified (which Bonterra's are) and you can not hit the grapes with a bit of sulfur on the crush pad and many other things which are tough to follow when mass producing wines. From a consumers standpoint it is confusing.

                                  1. re: Winemark
                                    redhookandrew RE: Winemark Sep 26, 2006 03:04 PM

                                    There are plenty of producers out there who meet and surpass the requirements used to certify who do not actually go through certification, an therefore can't label organic. There are real financial reasons why this may be a difficult process for some to go through. I still would consider these to be organic wines with out getting into word play, but that is up to each consumer.

                                    The sulfur issue is a confusing one. As fermentation goes along some sulfur compounds are created and can not be removed. Sulphur-dioxide is an anti-bacterial agent and can be added to wines that will be labeled "certified organic" as long as it does not exceed the limit the certifying board has chosen (a tiny ammt).

                                    1. re: redhookandrew
                                      Winemark RE: redhookandrew Sep 27, 2006 02:13 AM

                                      Your points are primarily on point but it depends on which country you are making your wines in. Re: Sulfuring. As far as producers being organic without certifacation, sometime this cert. hurts sales. Like labeling a wine Kosher. People do not understand it

                            2. pitu RE: AnneInMpls Sep 23, 2006 05:13 PM

                              no idea about local availability for you, but here's a few from the Biodynamic French tasting at Astor Wines in NYC this year. I think if you spot anything from ANY of these wineries, it'd be worth a shot.

                              Fitou, La Grangette, Clos des Camuzeilles 2001 deeeelicious, $30 bottle

                              anything from Dom. des Deux Anes in the Corbieres -- they had several bottles from 2003 in the $10 -$15 range that were QUITE nice. There's a little cap accent on top of the A in Anes. It's two donkeys on the label...

                              St Chinian "Mas au Schiste"' Rimbert 2004, $15-ish

                              Fontedicto 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc "Promise" (might be more like $37)

                              one that I've seen around alot more...
                              Dom. des Sablonettes 2004 "Les Copains d'Abord"
                              I thought it was plonk, but plonk with a fun and freaky taste of black pepper.
                              go poivre!
                              It's a $10 bottle that would be fun at a tasting.

                              can't wait to read what you end up with . . .

                              1. free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: AnneInMpls Sep 24, 2006 12:43 AM

                                I like to Fitzpatrick winery, the fact that they sell organic wines is an added bonus. Diana and Patrick are very helpful about educating people about organic wines. You might be able to get the wines shipped to you.


                                1. t
                                  tuborg_gron RE: AnneInMpls Sep 30, 2006 04:25 AM

                                  the heller estate wines produces a good wine that happens to be organic. this carmel valley winery has been certified 100% organic and make some good and interesting wines.


                                  1. vicki_vale RE: AnneInMpls Oct 10, 2006 02:20 AM

                                    I've had a Vicien Malbec from Argentina that my friends enjoyed. It's about $12 in New York shops but I've seen it on-line as well. The store owner told me it's organic, biodynamic, and unfiltered. For once, I didn't have a headache after drinking red wine.

                                    1. AnneInMpls RE: AnneInMpls Oct 10, 2006 11:28 PM

                                      Thanks to everyone for all the help and advice!

                                      We've purchased the wines - we bought them all at one store, so we mostly went with their recommendations. (We wanted to focus on smaller and family wineries, and many of the ones recommended here are hard to find in the Twin Cities, alas.) We also had a budget, so we needed some cheap wines to balance the expensive ones.

                                      Here's what we got:
                                      - Albet i Noya Cava Brut (biodynamic)
                                      - Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio (organic)
                                      - Pares Balta Blanc de Paes (organic)
                                      - Les Heretiques Vin de l'Heraut (biodynamic?) - red
                                      - Yorkville Cellars Richard the Lion-Heart Red Blend (organic)
                                      - Chateau Pierre-Bise 1997 Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu (grapes organically grown)

                                      Now we just have to figure out a menu that works with these wines!


                                      P.S. I'll post a report after the tasting, in case anyone is interested in hearing about these wines.

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