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Apr 18

Biodynamic Tasting I: The Wines

Biodynamic Wines with Peter Koff, MW

The Party Source
, Newport, KY
Friday, April 13, 6-8 pm

There was a lot going on in the Biodynamic tasting we attended on Friday night. I’ve divided the information into two posts: Part I: The Wines and Part II: The Atmosphere. Let’s start with the wines, shall we?

Peter Koff (MW) began by telling us a lot about biodynamics in a short period of time. I took more notes than I can possibly relay here. I’m glad I researched biodynamic agriculture before I attended.
Biodynamics were first taken seriously in 1924 when Rudolf Steiner gave his series of lectures. Steiner taught the art of reconnecting with the land and understanding the rhythm of the earth. Biodynamics is the leading method today of farming organically. Winemakers using the biodynamic methodology believe that because they understand the rhythms of the earth, they can farm organically more efficiently. Because of the connection with the world of energy, Biodynamics helps dramatically increase the possibility of individuality in the wine – the terroir. Supposedly, many biodynamic wines are starting to transcend their grape, and instead, represent their terroir, or "somewhereness."

I get the concept of biodynamism. In fact, I wholly support it – the mumbo-jumbo and all. Why? Several years ago I had some complicated back surgery. After the surgery, I was assigned a physical therapist who combined traditional therapy with massage and cranio-sacral therapy, which works by aligning your chakras. Now that’s mumbo-jumbo. The thing is, it worked extremely well. Why? We reconnected with everything inside – my healing was emotional as well as physical. Combining the homeopathic and the traditional helped speed my healing. I think it works the same in wine. By taking advantage of the live energy in the earth, and reconnecting with the natural rhythms of the land, the vines are better nourished and thrive.

But I don’t necessarily believe the wines are worth more of my money. I do believe that when a winemaker is giving that much attention to the individual vines and soil, they have a better chance of creating an excellent wine. The wines we tasted were impressive, but none of them really blew my socks off. Or rather, I’ve now tasted excellent organic, biodynamic, and conventionally farmed wines. Not one has struck me as better than the rest. I would love to have a blind tasting, comparing similar wines and vintages in each farming method. That would better prove to me that a biodynamic wine might be worth the extra cost.

I really got a lot out of this tasting, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to attend. In the interest of fairness and such, I should probably mention that we were comp’d this tasting.

Wine reviews are after the jump.

Note – the wines we tasted were brought in especially for this tasting and we’re not yet sure where we can purchase them, or for how much.

Nikolaihof Gruner Veltliner Hefeabzug 2005, Wachau, Austria: Gruner Veltliner is the signature grape of Austria, although not always the best wine from that region. This wine used no oak, and was pleasant, with pears and minerals. It was a complex wine and had an air of quality I don’t often find in a white wine. It was almost creamy. (As an interesting side note, this wine was bottled with a screwcap.) I believe he called this one a "wine drinker’s wine." If we can find it, we might buy a bottle of this one.
My rating:   Kevin’s rating:

Domaine Weinbach Riesling Reserve Personnelle 2005, Alsace, France: This wine had a bit of apricot on the nose. It was very different from the Gruner Veltliner. The Riesling had a higher alcohol content, but it wasn’t obvious in the taste. It also wasn’t overly obvious that it was a Riesling, an example of the wine transcending the grape. However, did this grape taste like Alsace? I don’t know.
My rating:
Kevin’s rating:

Nicolas Joly Savennieres Clos de la Bergerie 2003, Loire, France:  Nicolas Joly is said to make the best Chenin Blancs in the world. This is a true wine-lover’s wine, but I considered it a food wine. In fact, I only enjoyed it when it was supported by the cheeses on my plate, including the blue cheese and the brie.  I prefer it when I feel like a wine can stand on its own as well as be enhanced by food. It tasted of dates and nuts (without the food). When tasted with the cheeses, it took on a pleasant tartness.
My rating (without food):
My rating (with food): 

Kevin’s rating: 

Leroy Bourgogne 1999, Burgundy, France:  This is an entry-level bourgogne, with the flavor of a light, young pinot noir. I thought it was fun just to enjoy the aroma of this wine. The taste was earthy and mineral-y, but light. It tasted better than a lot of standard pinots I’ve picked up. It had good acidity but not crazy fruit forward. This is another one we might buy if we can unearth a botttle.
Our rating:

Cupano Rosso di Montalcino 2003, Tuscany, Italy: There was a lot of cinnamon and violets in this  – both in taste and on the nose. The cinnamon sort of tingled at the back of the throat. I really enjoyed this wine, but I later found out it retails for around $50. In my head, it’s an excellent $30 bottle of wine, but not $50. Maybe my palate just isn’t refined enough.
My rating:   Kevin’s rating:

Grgich Hills Merlot 2003, Napa Valley, California: In comparison to a Chilean merlot we’d recently tried, this was much better. Still, I had high hopes for this particular wine and was rather disappointed. There was a lot of cherry in this wine, with a hint of green pepper on the finish. It was dry and tannic. To me, it still tasted like a regular California Merlot.
My rating:   Kevin’s rating:

Rozendal Farm Merlot, Cabernets 2002, Stellenbosch, South Africa: It was recommended to open this wine the night before drinking it (I wish I thought that far ahead). This wine was one of those that had a different nose from the taste. On the nose it was rather veggie, but it had a tight structure and pleasant taste (with no trace of those veggies). The vineyards are planted at 80% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, and 5% cabernet franc, which is similar to the blend of the wine.
My rating:   Kevin’s rating:

Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Les Varonnieres 2004
, Rhone, France: This wine came the closest to knocking my socks off. It had a light oak flavor, but was the best "rounded" wine of the tasting. I thought it was earthy, with a bit of minerals. It was the perfect wine to end the night, and I even think I tasted that elusive somewhereness. If this one isn’t priced out of our league, we might purchase this one as well, if we can find it.
Our rating:    

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Posted by Michelle at 12:02 am in Cincinnati, Knowledge, Local, Tastings, Wine Events, Wine Shops | Permalink | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Biodynamic Tasting I: The Wines”

  1. kraloyun says:

    Interesting and different.
    Thanks.

  2. coupon says:

    Important?…

    Is this really the latest?…

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