Is organic wine more than a trendy gimmick? – Alistair Gibson

Tesco Finest Organic Finest Sauvignon Blanc
Tesco Finest Organic Finest Sauvignon Blanc

Organic September is a month-long campaign which aims to raise awareness of organic products – the brands, producers and farmers who produce them, and that of course includes wine.

Just because a wine is organic doesn’t make it good.

CerroLa Barca Cepas Perdidas A+B 2017, Extremadura

CerroLa Barca Cepas Perdidas A+B 2017, Extremadura

Indeed there is no doubt in my mind there are wines on the shelves which merely use the term organic as a sales tool.

However, there is clearly currently a huge interest in organic produce with Waitrose recently revealing sales of its organic wine have risen by 57 per cent compared to the same period last year and it has increased its range to include 54 organic wines from 18 countries.

According to the Soil Association, the UK organic food and wine market is worth £2.2 billion, with supermarket sales rising by more than four per cent – double the growth of the mainstream food and wine market.

Here are some organic white wine recommendations and next week I’ll highlight some organic reds to try during the remainder of September.

Reyneke 2015 Suavignon Blanc

Reyneke 2015 Suavignon Blanc

Tesco Finest Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Valle San Antonio (Tesco £9) is made for Tesco by Cono Sur, one of Chile’s most respected producers of organic wine.

The cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean is very apparent in this relatively elegant sauvignon blanc. 

There are notes of lime and grapefruit on the nose, followed by a zesty, lively palate with a nice mineral edge and a very fresh, clean finish. 

If you want something a little funkier then Cerro La Barca Cepas Perdidas A+B 2017, Extremadura (winebuyers.com £14.90) should tick all the boxes.

A + B stands for alarige and borba, two near-extinct local grapes from the Extremadura region of Spain.

The winery was founded in 2003 with a view to making organic wines from local grapes with minimum intervention.

Fermented in stainless steel at low temperatures to retain as much freshness and purity as possible, this has a heady bouquet of ripe tropical fruits such as apricot, mango and lychee with some orange citrus notes.

I love the fact it is made from almost extinct grapes, it’s a really interesting glass of wine and worked really well with some simply grilled mackerel.

Reyneke is one of the few organic and bio-dynamic estates in South Africa and I couldn’t possibly write about organic wines without highlighting this remarkable producer who has given me some of the most profound wine experiences of my career. 

Reyneke Organic Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016, Western Cape (Hermitage Cellars £10.35) is the entry point to the range and is produced from grapes sourced from organic vineyards from around the Western Cape.

It’s very fresh with gooseberry, lime and citrus blossom, the palate has some weight and texture from the semillon along with citrus and maybe a touch of asparagus.

Absolutely delicious and perfect with a crab salad or even a simple roast chicken – organic of course!