What To Drink Now: Earth Day Wines

I was on with the ladies of D: The Broadcast yesterday talking Green Wines….there are so many it was hard to get all the details out on air and really talk about all the great wines that are being made in a very green way these days. It is still a relatively new idea in the whole world of wine to focus on being Green, but we’ll also find many Old World wineries that have been farming their vines for generations organically. Though the process is better for Mother Earth and for you, the real reason a lot wineries have turned to a Green way of making wine is because producing a clean wine means you’ll produce a very vineyard driven wine, the key idea many winemakers gravitate toward these days. For us, it means delicious juice!  A few selections were sent for editorial consideration, most selections can be found around town at our various wine stores like Goody-Goody or Spec’s, or directly through their websites.

climber red2010 Clif Family Climber Bordeaux Blend – $28, Based in Napa from the family that brought us the Clif Bar. The winery was certified organic in 2009 and are currently moving towards being sustainable with processes in place like reducing carbon footprint by creating a green shipping program, they have a CSA (community supported agriculture) for their Napa neighbors, and steps in place that help both the wildlife and water preservation around their vineyards. This wine is a limited release blend of predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon from 5 vineyards including their prestigious Howell Mountain Cab vineyard. The juice sees18 months in oak creating a wine very old world inspired wine with ripe red cherry, plum tart and licorice notes, great for pairing with grilled beef and Colorado lamb.

2009 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon – $20, Based in Sonoma, 100% biodynamic and organic. The winery made a focused shift a handful of years ago to quality vs. quantity with very clean vineyard farming and production, mainly as Mike Benziger says because his family and children are working in their vineyards, as well as his workers. It benefits everyone to farm their property as clean as possible. An example of their biodynamic program includes their sheep scattered throughout the property who feed off of overgrown cover crop and naturally aerate and fertilize the soil. Without the sheep they would have to use machines and chemicals to do the same work, creating pollution. Result of all their efforts – fruit driven, balanced wines with expression and character.

2009 Lange Twins Midnight Reserve Cabernet Blend – $24, Based in Lodi, for five generations the Lange family has been growing sustainable wine grapes for over a decade on what was formerly the family watermelon farm. Key elements of their green efforts include the use of solar panels at the winery, water management, recycling, habitat conservation, including owl and bat boxes for naturally ridding pests in the vineyards.

La_Vendimia_nv2011 La Vendima Rioja DOC, $16, A blend of 50% Granacha Pais and 50% Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain this wine has been green farmed and harvested without the use of chemicals for the past 7 years.  Their focus on quality and low yields for their luscious wines makes this a must try on the to do list of wines.  A Joven wine, or a wine only aged 6 months or less in oak, this one is filled with layers of ripe fruit, wild flowers and spice, meant to be enjoyed young and served either at room temperature or even a bit chilled for beating the summer heat.

La Valentina Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo DOC – $13, Located near the Adriatic sea in Italy, the winery was established in 1990. They are certified no pesticides on their vines, only use environmentally safe electricity (no fossil fuels/carbon neutral) and other sustainable practices in the winery, all to ensure the clay rich soils produce representative, earthy and mineral rich wines of the region. Lush, intense fruit driven wine, this one aged 12 months in cement tanks and stainless steel as well as 20% in oak for a mineral driven wine with licorice, cherry and clove notes.

2008 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva – $35, The vineyards around this winery date back to 1051, winery established in Tuscany in 1846. Today the family owned winery started organic farming in 1985 with the goal to protect the land, which equals protecting the grapes and continuing a long legacy of high quality wines. This 100% Sangiovese is filled with nutmeg, violets, ripe red fruit and black pepper notes.