Organic wines suck. It's hard to hear if you're a proponent of sustainable agriculture. Trust me. It's hard to say. But, the Organic part isn't the problem. The truth is this: wines made without added sulfites suck. Sure, sulfites sound bad, but they have been added to wine, in some form or other, for as long as wine has been wine worth drinking. It's a preservative, yes. But even Whole Foods, that sells nothing else containing......sulfites in the store, sells wine made with added sulfur. Why? Because Organic wines suck.
Now, don't get me wrong. Please, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you
pooh-pooh wines made with organically-grown grapes. Organic viticulture is,
of course, incredibly important for the soil, for the planet, and (often)
for the wine. The issue here is that the USDA National Organic Program
sticks with the silly no-sulfite rule that doesn't allow vintners who grow
and process their grapes according to all other standards of organics to use
the word "Organic" on the front of the label.
So, how are you to find a wine made with sustainably-grown grapes that
doesn't taste like crap?
What you've got to do is hunt around the back of the label for the O-word.
You might see the words "made with organically grown grapes" or "made with
Organic grapes", but that's if you're lucky.
Robert Sinskey Vineyards is one of the largest and most progressive organic
vineyards in Napa Valley, but their newest labels are restricted by a tangle
of regulations to saying no more about their growing practices than this:
"Ingredients: Organic Grapes". It's nonsense really, all this labeling (get
me on another day and I might say exactly the opposite) but Sinskey's wines
are killer. You'll find them on the lists at The French Laundry and Per Se,
and all of Jean-George Vongerichten's spots. Or, at Sinskey's insanely
gorgeous website: ::Robert Sinskey
Our pick: The 2001 Los Carneros Pinot Noir, $30.
[NOTE: But please, if think you've got a great bottle of true,
USDA-sanctioned, big-O certified vino, do send me a bottle or two. I'd be
happy to blind taste it with my seriously wine-savvy crew. And if it's
better than bad, I promise to take back every word. Promise.] [by Tamara Holt]