Category Archives: Organic/Biodynamic Wines
I’ve been informed that today is National Drink Wine Day. So the question is: what are you planning on drinking today? Leave your comments below and let us know what you’re planning on drinking today and whether it’s a red or white wine. Also, are you planning on eating something special with it too? Tell us all the exciting details….Enjoy!
At my recent visit to Total Wine an More’s ‘Wine 101’ class I learned a very easy way to determine what the body of a wine is. Up until taking that class determining the ‘body’ of a wine was a distant concept to me. I knew that they were talking about the ‘heaviness’ of the wine but still couldn’t figure out how everybody was coming to their conclusions so easily and with conviction.
Well I now know that it is really easy to make this determination using something that most people have a daily experience with – drinking milk! Now I haven’t had a glass a milk in over 20 years but I am no stranger to the differences in consistency when it comes to dairy products. It was something that I wholeheartedly participated in prior to that 20 years.
Most people will agree that when drinking milk there is a distinct difference in consistency when it comes to skim milk, 2% milk, and whole milk. Skim milk, to most, has the weight and consistency of drinking a glass of water. 2% milk is slightly heavier/thicker and whole milk is the heaviest/thickest in the mouth. Knowing this simple fact is the key to determining the ‘body’ of the wine you’re drinking.
‘Light Bodied Wines’ are those that when you take a sip and move it around your mouth has the consistency and thickness of water or skim milk. It’s very ‘light’ on the tongue.
‘Medium bodied Wines’ are those that when you take a sip and move it around your mouth has a slightly heavier weight and thickness. They are the equivalent of drinking 2% milk.
‘Heavy bodied Wines’ are those that are thick and…well…heavy on the tongue. They are reminiscent of drinking whole milk or even heavy cream. They loom large in your mouth as far as thickness is concerned.
Now that I’ve learned this little comparison trick it’s been easy for me to identify the body of every wine I’ve been drinking with little or no need for second thought. It’s an immediate ‘knowing’ now which frees me up to figure out more about the complexities of the wine like the bouquet and aromas that want to be identified.
I also want to add that a wine can fall between those categories of ‘light, medium, and heavy bodied’ too. Like anything else there’s a scale where something can be mostly light bodied but bordering on medium and thus you might say that that particular wine is a light to medium bodied wine or a medium to heavy bodied wine.
Nothing is absolute. It doesn’t have to fall neatly into just one category. Just like a person can be primarily an introvert but with some extrovert qualities a wine can absolutely do the same thing. It’s a living and breathing thing just like you and I are and even though a particular wine may be described as a medium bodied wine it can still have some slight variations too.
So now armed with this new knowledge (I am assuming it’s new to you too…if not then forgive my assumptions here) I challenge you to get out there and start to get to know the body of your wines. Feel them, touch them, get to know them! 🙂
Most people already know that white wines are served chilled but most, like me, don’t know what that temperature actually is supposed to be. White wines should be served between 48-53 degrees F. This is usually the standard temperature that you’ll find in your refrigerator.
It’s also good to note that even though white wines are supposed to be served cold make sure you don’t serve them too cold. That can affect the flavors of the wine too.
Another good tip for white wines is to take them out of the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before you’re going to drink them.
If you’re serving a champagne, sparkling wine, or Prosecco it should be served between 40 to 45 degrees F. In order to get it to this temperature you may have to place it in an ice bucket filled with ice or put it in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to get it to that temperature. Of course, you should have had it in the refrigerator before that but the standard temperature in your fridge is not going to be cold enough to get your bubbly to the right temperature thus the use of the ice bucket or freezer stated above.
Here I would like to introduce you to a new series of posts called ‘Interesting Wine Facts’. This is where I will share a few interesting facts that I’ve learned about wines recently. So without further ado here’s fact #1.
FACT #1: Red wine should be served at a temperature of 65 degrees.
Most people have heard that red wine should be served at room temperature and never put in the fridge. The fact is that in the old days in European wine country that was indeed true and for the most part is still true however, ‘room temperature’ there is different then say here in Florida. If I serve my red wine at room temperature you’re going to get a nice hot wine most of the time.
The fact is that it is best to serve wines at their suggested temperature rather than some arbitrary, nondescript instruction of ‘serve at room temperature’. The actual serving temperature for most red wines is 65 degrees F. If you are in a cooler climate you probably can achieve that by leaving the wine at ‘room temperature’ but if you’re in a warmer climate it’s perfectly okay to put the bottle in the refrigerator for an hour or so, use a bucket of ice to chill it for 15 to 20 minutes, or any other method to get it to reach its optimal temperature. No one is going to take your head off for doing that especially if they really know their wines.
The color was bright, clear red/garnet and it swear I smelled cherries.
I found the flavor to be well balanced, mellow and light bodied with a slight taste of cherries, chocolate and could that be licorice? I don’t even like licorice but I swear I tasted it a bit and I didn’t mind. 🙂 This wine also had a slightly dry and long lasting finish.
Overall I found it to be a really nice, pleasant wine that would go with just about any meal particularly a vegetarian one.
We had this wine on New Year’s Eve with a few wonderful recipes that I found. We started off the evening with a Hot Spinach Red Pepper Dip from Allrecipes.com. The main course was a nice polenta dish called Polenta and Vegetable Bake from Eatingwell.com and later we followed it up with a desert that allowed me use some of the pumpkin flesh that I got by sacrificing my Thanksgiving pumpkin. It was a tasty Pumpkin Parfait from Cooks.com though if I were to make it again I would make it a little sweeter (not much but a little bit).
Buzz factor: I would give it a 4. It didn’t have that much of a kick but it was nice and mellow.
Likability factor: I gave it an 8. It’s a nice wine that didn’t give my other half a headache and it tasted really nice. We will probably get this wine from time to time.
So that’s it for today. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post on something I am sure will be really informative and change your life so don’t miss it…okay, I don’t know if it will REALLY change your life but it might, who knows? See you then.
I am not going to pretend to even know the slightest thing about picking wines to match specific foods. Currently I go with an innate knowledge and trust that it’s going to guide me to the right wine/food pairing. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This time however it worked wonderfully well if I do say so myself.
This Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region of Italy was the perfect pairing for the recipes I choose for Christmas dinner. Last week my good friend, Camille, of ‘Camille Cooks’ posted a recipe called Chicken with Cornbread Stuffing and Sherry Pan Sauce and she paired it with another recipe called Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole with Rye Crumb Topping and I was drooling with anticipation to try it. So I printed out the recipe and made my shopping list and headed off to the grocery store with only a vague idea regarding the wine I would serve with it. I was determined to pair it with a white wine which is very rare for me. (Hello, remember me? Red wine girl?)
After gathering all the ingredients need to make my fabulous dinner (I changed the original recipe a smidgen because I am a vegetarian so the chicken was replaced with a vegetarian version of chicken and I dropped the caraway seeds because I’ve never been fond of them. 🙂 ) I set off to the wine section to see if I could find not only a decent white wine to go with it all but I also wanted an organic wine. Yes, I am challenging myself now but that’s what it’s all about right?
You see my other half tends to get a really bad headache from wines and I was set on finding out if it could possibly be due to the sulfites in regular wines. Organic wines have little to no added sulfites. All that are in organic wines are the naturally occurring sulfites. We’ll get back to my other half and my experiment on him in a bit.
So in the wine section I found this bottle of Candoni Pinot Grigio 2009 from Italy. I know that in the past I’ve like Pinot Grigios better than any other white wine so I went with that. I figured for $12.95 what did I have to lose, right?
Well, I was really pleasantly surprised with this wine. I can only describe it as very crisp, clean, and citrusy which is exactly what our meal was asking for. It was a nice light wine that completely complimented our meal but it could absolutely stand on it’s own as well. (I had a glass on it’s own after the meal….you know….to test it…yes, that’s what I was doing….testing whether the wine could stand on its own. 🙂 )
Now the bottle says that the wine is ‘made with organic grapes’ which means that it might not be 100% without added sulfites but it’s pretty close. I was pleasantly surprised that this organic wine could be so good.
As for my other half, he did really well with the wine. He drank two glasses of it, which for him is a lot, and didn’t really get a headache. He started to get a slight headache many hours latter but I am not convinced it was because of the wine due to two things. One, he’s had a slight headache due to a stiff neck and two, it happened so much after the fact that I am not sure there’s a true connection. So I’ll just have to experiment on him again. I’ve already got a biodynamic red wine with his name on it in the good old wine rack so stay tuned for that.
Anyway my overall impression of this wine is that it’s really crisp, clean, and citrusy. It would compliment any meal with chicken, fish, or even a tofu or pasta dish with a lemon-butter sauce. It would also be a nice wine to serve with a cheese platter in my amateur opinion. I will definitely buy this wine again and for now I have to rate it as my favorite white wine. There I’ve said it! I really like this white wine!
Buzz factor: 5, it’s a nice light wine with a bit of a buzz to it but not overwhelmingly so.
Overall impression: A very nice white wine that I would be happy to have share space in my wine rack with my beloved reds.
Okay, so I’ve been noticing a lot of wines being labeled ‘biodynamic’ lately and finally my curiosity was piqued. I found myself wondering ‘What’s the difference between a biodynamic wine and an organic wine. To me the names are interchangeable but I decided to search to find the answer and, of course, share my findings with you all.
First let’s start out with the definitions for both organic and biodynamic wine.
An organic wine is one that is ‘produced without using conventional pesticides, petroleum or sewage-based fertilizers, bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. The farmers also emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water for future generations’ (USDA definition).
There are also three types of organic apparently so make sure you really read the label when purchasing to make sure you’re getting what you’re looking for.
Types of Organic*
100% Organic – Refers to wines that are produced with grapes that are certified 100% organically grown and do not have any added sulfites.
Organic – Refers to wines that have at least 95% of their ingredients from certified organic sources. These wines may have an additional 100 ppm of sulfur dioxide added to them.
Made with Organic Grapes – Refers to wines that have at least 70% of their grapes from organic sources. These wines may have sulfur dioxide
A biodynamic wine is a wine that’s 100% organic and doesn’t have any added sulfites as well. However there is a kind of ‘woo woo’ side to this type of farming. Farmers who make biodynamic wines follow the principles put forth by a man named Rudolf Steiner. Mr. Steiner was a 20th Century Austrian philosopher who created these principles in an attempt to balance farming with nature. Biodynamic farmers do things like make their own compost, watch the stars and planets to time what they do, and have chickens roaming the vineyards to eat the bugs rather than use pesticides.
Biodynamic is a great principle that is meant to work with nature rather than against it. It takes clues from nature to decide what the best things for the vineyard are at that particular time.
My take on it is this. If you want to drink an organic wine then make sure it is labeled ‘100% organic’ or ‘biodynamic’ because those two are basically the same wine. The only differences are some of the things that the farmers do to make sure that the farm is organic. Both have to follow strict organic standards in order to be certified as organic or biodynamic.
Do they taste different? Well, I don’t know. There! That’s my honest answer but I will be reviewing some organic and biodynamic wines in the future and I’ll let you know my humble opinion on it. Until then if you happen to try some please leave comments and let us know what it was, how it was, and all the fun little details.
Stay tuned for my next post on Sunday where I’ll be reviewing the next mystery wine. It’s a mystery because I haven’t decided which one to pick yet. Oh the suspense!