Wines that are as sustainable—

The morality of winegrowing may not be the first thing to cross your mind on the weekly shop. But if you’ve ever bought organic you’re probably aware of the environmental impact farming can have, for better or worse. Growing vines can be big business, but small growers promoting biodiversity are stewards of sustainability. And their wines can be mind-blowing.

Reducing herbicides and pesticides is widely accepted as positive for our environment in the long term and I’m meeting more and more winegrowers who see their landscape not so much as something to plunder for maximum profit but to maintain and sustain for future generations. The popularity of organic, biodynamic and Natural Wine (nothing added) is growing in the UK as Majestic’s Spain Buyer Julie Buckley explains, ‘Natural and Organic wines are all about uninhibitedly making the grapes sing – with as little interference as possible. It’s clearly something people want, in a recent vote 93% of nearly 8,000 Majestic customers voted yes to a natural wine in the range, but making sure you don’t compromise on flavour is key.’

Doug Wregg, leading light on the natural wine scene here in the UK and the mind behind the splendid range at lescaves.co.uk tells me, ‘Industrial farming, exploitation of natural resources (such as water), the creation of arid monocultures, and the way these negatively impact on our environment, is not a trade-off that we should make just to have cheap wine. Sustainability is at the core of ethical winemaking.’

Green credentials such as renewable energy and zero carbon footprints are important, but for Doug it all comes down to respect for nature. And the wines? Among the most characterful I’ve been tasting recently – thanks in part to massive attention to detail in the vineyard. They’re not all by default great, but the hit rate is on the up, which makes them well worth considering in your weekly shop.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

ITALIAN JOB: Grande Alberone Black Bio (14%) £7.99 aldi.co.uk. Deep and delicious, this organic Italian blend is online only from Aldi.

HEIGHT OF GOOD TASTE: Poste Restante Tempranillo 2017 (14%) £7.99* Majestic. Vivacious, tangy and juicy organic red from high altitude old vineyards. *Mix Six Price

GREEK LEGEND: Thymiopoulos Nauossa Jeunes Vignes 2016 (13%) £10.95 The Wine Society. Organic Greek Red, a real find that’s as light as Pinot, butch as Barolo.

FABULOUS FIZZ: Lanson Organic Green Label Champagne NV (12.5%) £47.95 Ocado. Beautiful zesty Champagne from an organic and sustainable vineyard.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Reserve de Gassac 2017 (13%) £10.99 The Dorset Wine Company. An absolute peach of a white wine, silky and sumptuous with summer at its core.

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 21st October 2018

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