A biodynamic pair

Posted by Anita and Cameron on 01.17.07 7:57 AM

biodynamic wines (c)2007 AECAlways up for a challenge — and excuses to try new wines — we joined this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, focusing on biodynamic wines. I thought we might have a difficult time sourcing an appropriate bottle, so I was pleasantly surprised when the wine merchant at Plumpjack Wines in Noe Valley identified a dozen or more biodynamic wines for us, and another 20 or more bottles that were being produced using biodynamic principles, or by wineries that are in the process of converting to biodynamics.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any indication that the wine we ultimately chose from his options — a white from Domaine Tempier, the producers of our favorite rosé — was created biodynamically. According to information on a number of sites, Tempier is indeed a venerable (albeit uncertified) organic winery, but they only occasionally dabble in biodynamics… and one can surmise that their low-end $12 Bandol Blanc probably isn’t the wine they’re dabbling with. (I’m glad we’ll get to try it… but I’m cranky that it was misidentified.)

So, over to BevMo, this time with Fork & Bottle’s list of biodynamic producers in hand. Trust, as they say, but verify.

Wine Blogging Wednesday logoOur tasting notes:

Patianna Sauvignon Blanc ’05 Mendocino (California) – $14.99 ($18 winemaker’s list)
80% Sauvignon Blanc clone #1, 20% Sauvignon Musque

Pale champagne color; yeasty on the nose; watery and thin flavors, but with an incredibly long finish (with no unpleasant aftertaste); the merest hint of effervescence. Cameron felt the wine had a toasty nose, and found hints of shellfish and sour in the corners. Anita missed the classic dry melon/pear flavors she loves in Sauv Blanc — in fact, there was little fruit at all. It was hard to believe that this was a New World wine. Compared to the similarly priced Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc (our “house” white), we agree that the Patianna winds up sour and unbalanced.

Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche ’04 – $16.99 (€5.09 winemaker’s list)
80% Grenache, 20% Syrah

Straight out of the bottle and then in the glass, there’s a whiff of caramel nose, which doesn’t last, followed by a faint cherry nose and not much else, even when fully (over)warmed. Clear, medium-ruby colored. A lot of mineral tang at first, and though the wine eventually opened up, it never went far enough for us to really enjoy. Better with food than alone, not surprisingly. Fairly astringent for a 2-year-old wine. Thin, not a lot of complexity — it tastes like dried cherries and not a lot else. Trés French and not unpleasant, but seems over-simple and uninteresting compared to our usual array of $8-12 Cotes du Rhone options. Cameron would buy it again for something uncomplicated to drink in the summer…if we could get it for five Euros. Anita would use her seven bucks to try something else.

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Comment by fbm

oh this is a cool idea – let’s see if i can join the next round… and i wish there was some Beer Blogging Day…

Posted on 01.17.07 at 12:54PM

Comment by Anita

Ooo, beer blooging theme. I’d play, if you started.

Posted on 01.17.07 at 1:22PM

Comment by Jack

Pretty strange they’d tell you that a Domaine Tempier wine is biodynamic.

I have a bottle of the Patianna in my cellar…oh, well. The Bellruche I’ve loved in the past but this is not a wine I’d want to pay $16 for either. However, it goes for $10-$12 where I shop – even Whole Foods!

Thanks for joining in! I think you might score better with a $20 Alsatian biodynamic wine, next time you roll the dice.

Posted on 01.17.07 at 6:56PM

Comment by Anita

Jack, I actually thought that — that perhaps the differences would be clearer in a nicer wine. But I wanted to pick two wines that were similar (region, varietal and price-point) to what we often drink, so I was eliminating the tasting variables as much as possible.

I find that BevMo usually has pretty good prices on middlebrow wines, but perhaps I am basing that on my domestic wine purchases. Hmmm…

Thanks for hosting WBW this round, and for stopping by here.

Posted on 01.17.07 at 7:21PM

Comment by Culinary Fool

I tried the 2005 Belluruche and had a similar experience. Very non-distinctive and while I didn’t hate it, there wasn’t much to really draw me back.

Posted on 01.18.07 at 11:55AM

Comment by Anita

CF: I may have to re-evaluate my wine-buying habits — seems as though BevMo really stick you on imports, especialling seeing as how you got this wine for $10 in Washington, home of rip-off wine taxes/prices.

Glad — well, not really — to have a corroborating opinion. I still don’t think I’d like it, even if I’d paid less.

Posted on 01.18.07 at 12:28PM

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