In honor of Earth Day and the spirit of drinking responsibly, I recently attended a tasting at the Emeryville BevMo where organic, sustainable, and biodynamic wines made in California were featured. On the bus en route to this tasting, I was a bit unsure what to expect.
For starters, organic wines can often be, well, unpalatable. And biodynamic wines are seen by skeptics (of which there are many) as a superstitious European way of farming at best, and a science fiction level hoax at worst. Perhaps that is why the the two certified organic wines on our tasting list don’t even put that information on the bottle. All that being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the wines that we tasted, and quite impressed with BevMo’s commitment to sustainability.
The Frog’s Leap sauvignon blanc is a certified organic wine, an impressive feat for a major Napa brand with 130+ acres. This is a ‘cocktail’ sauvignon blanc, meaning it’s meant for sipping and not necessarily with food. It’s very ripe, with flavors of pineapple and peach, and has a round finish thanks to 10% of the blend spending some time in neutral oak.
The Vigilance label is a partnership between Lake County’s Shannon Ridge and BevMo. Bevmo has been involved right from planting, and all the wines under this label are sustainably farmed. This sauvignon blanc is a fantastic value (especially at the Club Bev price of $10.04). A much more acidic and herbal wine than the Frog’s Leap, I imagine the Vigilance pairing very well with most spring cuisine.
I’ll be the first to admit that I generally dislike the ‘California’ style of chardonnays, all butter and oak with no acid to back it up. The ZD is one of those rare examples where the California style works: you still get all those gooey butter and oak flavors you’ll expect from a Napa chardonnay, but there is enough acid left to make this a very well balanced wine. I liked it even more when I found that it is certified organic.
Another really well made, particularly well-priced wine from the Vigilance brand. This one is a zinfandel-based blend that is bright, juicy, and crowd pleasing. A perfect BBQ wine that just happens to be sustainably farmed.
A Sonoma cab that’s biodynamic, delicious, and under $20? Yep. Hoaxes aside, this is a delicious cabernet from Sonoma. It might not have all of the ripeness that people love in the cabs from it’s neighbor county to the east, but this Benziger has flavors of herbs de provence, dark berries, and subtle tannins.
In addition, BevMo also used the Earth Day timing to announce that they are accepting corks for their new recycling program. You know you’re never going to make that cork picture frame, so why not let those corks be made into something actually useful? Just bring them to your nearest BevMo.
By Victoria Gutierrez