Welly Wine: What’s the big deal about Organic & Biodynamic?

More expert advice from our resident wine critic, Charles Carron Brown, Head Sommelier of The Forest Side.

organic wine charles carron brown forest side cumbria

I few months ago I bought myself a book entitled “Monty Waldin’s Best Biodynamic Wines” and (as per normal when I buy a new book), it ended up on one of my many bookshelves for a while, lost and forgotten about….. until I had a spare day off and decided to treat myself to a cheeky pint at my local and took this book as reading material.  I was obviously blown away by the book as I finished reading the first few chapters in around 40 mins whilst enjoying my local ale on a warm summers evening.

organic wine charles carron brown forest side cumbria

The idea of Organic & Biodynamic wine is a concept that isn’t exactly new in the UK; many Sommeliers, myself included are adamant that this new ‘wine craze’ was the best thing to happen to restaurants in the UK.  After all these wines pair beautifully with locally grown produce in Michelin Star Restaurants up and down the UK.  However,  I can’t deny that the consumer base for this style of wine has yet to take off in the UK in the way that it should. Brits seem to not understand what this whole craze is about and why us Sommeliers in the UK are so obsessed by it all.  To clarify, organic and biodynamic are very similar as both are grown without chemicals and GMOs. The main difference between the two is that biodynamic farming uses different principles that add vitality to the plant and soil, whereas traditional farming typically deteriorates the soil.

“Wine is a luxury item in our diets, not a necessity, so there is an extra onus for wine to be grown in a way that puts something back into the earth it comes from. Leaving the earth poorer and our neighbours to clean up pollution from controlling weeds and diseases is unfair. The public rather than famers pay to clean this mess up. Cheap wine comes at a price after all” – Monty Waldin, Best Biodynamic Wines 2013

organic wine charles carron brown forest side cumbria

Since I moved to Cumbria just over 2 years ago, I have found myself living a much more healthy lifestyle – and that includes drinking more Organic and Biodynamic wine. These are wines that essesentially work with the environment in which they are grown instead of adding things to make them appear different to what they truly are. Now I’m sure a lot of wine makers would argue that the commercial viability of many vineyards means that they have to spray many different things onto their vines but it doesn’t have to be that way. We live in an ever-changing world that is obsessed with instant gratification and being able to get things as soon as the consumer wants it.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I would rather have something that tastes of its provenance rather than something that has been adapted to appeal to the masses.

So, in short, these wines are not tainted with chemicals or fakeness, work wonders with food and taste awesome…. What’s not to love?  I urge people to start broadening their wine horizons and try something new.  After all, you never know, you might just find your new favourite organic or biodynamic wine.

Here are a few that I personally enjoy –

Kydonitsa Barrique Jason Ligas 2015

Lusignolo Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Feudo d’Ugni 2015

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015

Reserve de Gassac Blanc

organic wine charles carron brown forest side cumbria

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