While I don't necessarily consider myself a wine connoisseur, I do consider it a rare treat, so recently when I came across a few lists of the best organic wines to try on the market, I thought they would be worth sharing. On special occasions, I enjoy a small glass of red wine, but don’t drink wine on a regular basis. However, I do know the difference between a good and bad wine, and I certainly don’t want to buy a wine unless I know it doesn’t contain any nasty sulfites, fillers, chemicals, pesticides or preservatives. There is a good bit of confusion over the topic of organic wines because even grapes that are certified organic don’t necessarily produce an organic wine if certain additives are included in the final wine product. A wine can technically be labeled organic if it is 90% organic, but it can still contain up to 10% or inorganic additives like pesticides or fertilizers sprayed on grapes in the vineyard, or animal gelatin as a filler. This baffles me beyond all measure, so be sure you’re choosing organic wines that are USDA certified organic, or choose a wine that is 100% organically made, which means the wine is completely organic and not just made with organic ingredients. For the best organic wines among consumer ratings today, check out these tasty finds below. Let me know if you’ve ever had any, or if you have a favorite organic wine of your own!
1. Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine was rated as one of the best organic wines and one of the top 5 best organic red wines among the 2010 Heart of Green Awards Ceremony. It is made in Napa Valley, California, and is 100% organically made, though it does not contain the USDA certified organic label. The wine tastes of deep berries and chocolate flavors, according to Hall Wines staff, and has a background taste of allspice and anise. It costs roughly $40 and is available online at hallswines.com or wines.com.
2. Naked Merlot
If you love a good red wine like I do, give this top-rated Merlot a try next time you buy a bottle for yourself or for a friend. With its highly reasonable price tag of $13, this is one wine anyone can enjoy and know they are getting an organic wine that is also affordable. The 2008 version of Naked Merlot is described as a mix of of black cherries and berries, which sounds pretty good to me, what do you think? Naked Merlot is available at wines.com or Snoqualmie.com.
3. The Vegan Vine Red Wines
Maybe you’re not concerned with your wine being organic, but you do want it vegan. If that’s the case, then give this highly rated red wine a try. Though the wine is not certified organic, it is certified by the California Sustainable Winegrower’s Alliance, which is vegan and uses no animal products, pesticides or fillers in their wines. These wines are made with all vegetable ingredients produced without any chemicals whatsoever, and grapes straight from California. The red blend costs around $14 and the Cabernet Sauvignon costs around $16. You can buy both of them at wines.com if you’re interested in trying these critter-friendly vinos.
4. Parducci Sustainable Red Wine
The Good and Green conference, which is sponsored by The Daily Green and Good Housekeeping Magazine, featured this wine as one of the best of the best in 2011. The vintners of Parducci wines are known to take great care of their vineyards in Mendocino County, California. The vineyards have been made sustainable as part of the company’s core mission, and it is now the nation’s first carbon neutral winery, making it extremely eco-friendly. So, how does the wine taste? Well since this wine is produced without any chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers or anything beyond organic and biodynamic composts, it is rated as tasting extremely fresh to the palate. It is said to have a berry essence as well as a sweet, crisp, spicy complex. It costs around $11.50 per bottle, and no budget savvy, eco-friendly girl like myself can argue with that! You can purchase this fine, earth-friendly wine at wines.com or parducci.com.
5. Frey Vineyards Natural Red
For a mere cost of $9 a bottle, this organic and biodynamic wine is a must-try for me. Frey Vineyards pride themselves on using no added sulfites to any of their wines, and their red wine is said to be one of the best as it is “fruity and easy-to-drink,” according to The Daily Green. The basic red blend wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Carignan red wine varieties.
6. Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir
If you’re a Pinot Noir fan like me, which is the only kind I really like, then join me in putting this top-rated 2008 red wine on your must-try list. The Domaine Carneros winery first made their wine with organic grapes containing 11 varieties of pinot, which are all grown on their vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Valley, California. This wine is said to be “silky and elegant” by winemaker TJ Evans, who has 15 years experience with making Pinot Noir wines. The Daily Green showcased this wine in January 2011 and it has since been featured as a favorite among taste testers. It is said to have blackberry fruit essences, along with hints of sandalwood and cinnamon. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold with that flavor profile! At $36 a bottle, this wine would make more of a gift or special treat than a regular purchase. You can purchase this wine at wines.com if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself.
7. DeLoach Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé
This rose wine is rated as a top summer wine, which makes it perfect to try right now. It is bright, fruity and contains some hints of spice, but is mostly said to be remnant of strawberry and honeysuckle tastes, along with a slight hint of mulberry and vanilla. Yum! Sounds tasty to me! DeLoach Vineyards produce all their Pinot Noir varieties on 13 acres of land in California’s Russian River Valley, where it has been organically cultivated since 2003. The company bought the land after moving to the states, originating from France, and all their 2010 vintage wines, including this variety, are certified biodynamic. This special Pinot Noir Rose wine was the first one to hit stores in 2010 at a reasonable price of $20.
I may not drink wine on a regular occasion, but I do know I’m going to keep my eye out for these yummy tasting varieties! Do you like enjoying wine on a regular or special occasion? If you do, do you try to buy organic?