by guest blogger Adam Teeter, cofounder of VinePair, a site offering a new, unpretentious way to talk about wine
Everywhere you turn today, everything seems to be organic. What once was a movement championed by health food stores and healthy-lifestyle companies like Rodale has gone mainstream, with even Walmart now in on the action.
As the organic movement has become more pervasive in our food culture, more people have begun to seek out organic products, and more and more items are now featuring organic labels. As we’d expect, the movement has also dramatically infiltrated the wine market, with thousands of producers across the world converting their vineyards in order to grow organic grapes and attain the organic label.
In theory, the organic movement is an incredibly good one for wine: We all want to consume less pesticides and fewer chemicals, as well as treat the land and plants that produce our grapes with respect. But just because a wine has an organic label doesn’t automatically mean the wine’s taste is right for you—the truth is always in the bottle. It’s also important to note that many wineries around the world produce their grapes using organic practices yet never bother to attain the seal, due to the cost and bureaucracy surrounding it.
All warnings aside, though, many organically labeled wines are really great, but it can be hard to wade through all of the offerings in order to find them. So that you don’t have to try every bottle of organic wine out there to discover one you might love, we decided to taste a few for you.
We headed over to The Natural Wine Company in Brooklyn, New York—a shop that specializes in organic and biodynamic wines—and picked up a few bottles. After tasting all of them (we know, it was a tough job), we picked out five great organic wines that will knock your socks off:
For Organic Pizza Night
Masciarelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo
This wine comes from the largest organic estate in Italy, and it’s the perfect wine for pizza night. It’s an incredibly accessible crowd-pleaser. Even though the wine had some tannin, the amount of dryness it created in our mouths was not overpowering, and there were a lot of delicious fruit flavors that we all enjoyed.
For the Organic Outdoor Brunch
Dibon Cava Rosado
As soon as we popped the cork on this bottle, we could immediately smell the wine’s delicious strawberry aromas. This is a great wine for a hot summer day. The wine had an extremely bright and refreshing acidity, like a cold glass of lemonade, and the bubbles woke up our palate.
To Drink Like a Northern Italian
While Nebbiolo may be the most famous grape of the Piedmont, Dolcetto is the wine many northern Italians drink most often. That is because Dolcetto is a wine to be drunk every day, with every kind of food. This wine was typical of most Dolcettos, as it was aged in stainless steel, which gave it a very bright flavor similar to that of tart, dark, sour cherries. The tannins in the wine were also very present, nicely drying out our mouths.
To Experience Malbec the French Way
Clos Siguier les Camilles Malbec
Malbec became famous via Argentina, but it was actually born, like many popular grapes, in France. This wine is an easy drinker, with many of us commenting on how smooth and round it was. It’s the perfect wine to open when you’re reading a good book or turning on a movie.
A Wine Forged in a Volcano
Terre Nere Etna Rosso
While this red wine wasn’t actually forged in a volcano, it was grown directly next to an active one. The Mt. Etna area of Sicily is one of the most exciting wine regions to emerge in recent years, with the wines having similar characteristics to great burgundies. This wine was smooth and delicate, just like good pinot noir, making it great for all kinds of dishes, from roast chicken to a nice summer salad.
Besides cofounding VinePair, Adam Teeter has spent the past nine years of his life obsessed with wine and trying to remove the elitism often associated with the industry. In 2010, founded Vivo in Vino, a music series that paired cutting-edge bands, such as The Antlers and Freelance Whales, with accessible wine makers like Mouton Noir and Brooklyn Oenology in an intimate setting. Adam also created and wrote Juiced, a television show about wine and culture that was optioned by Herzog TV. Adam is a winner of the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup American Wine-Tasting Championship. When not obsessing over wine, he has also consulted in a marketing strategy capacity for startups including Shutterstock, Tablet Magazine, and JDub Records.