I was asked for wine tips and thoughts by some people. And why not?
Especially because I had a revelation this summer. Credit to my cousin Sebastien Balard, a sommelier turned chef, and who runs two (independent) wine shops in the middle of nowhere (well, one of them is where I was born, so it is somewhere for me at least). Anyway, he has 1200 different wines, he knows them all (all French), he is passionate and knowledgeable and he converted me 100% to organic wines. I will strive to drink only organic wine from now on for a few reasons:
- best for the environment
- best for my health (have you ever seen this planes dropping s… on grapes… well, you drink it later)
- taste/depth unaffected
- price is the same
And icing on the cake: Organic wine does not give you headaches! It is absolutely unbelievable. You drink a full bottle and, yes you should not drive etc. but you will wake up and sleep completely fine. You can cycle a few hours later…
I need to detail some of the above points 3 and 4, which are not obvious and perhaps controversial.
I drink mainly red wine and I like very strong wines. My turf is Tannat, Malbec, GSM, etc.
I drink wines from all over, I just like it when it concentrated, full body, when I drink some wine and it is the wine who stops my conversation saying: see, I exist, I am here, I have a presence, a personality, you need to pause cause I am simply impressive and imposing.
Anyway, one could think that organic wines would not cut it. You can’t rival the depth of stuff that is full of stuff in order to make it feel full body… And maybe it is true, but I have a limited palate and I cannot tell the difference. When I drink a Chemin de Moscow from Gaida, or even better their villa mon reve, I cannot see what really beats that. There are plenty of wines that I like as much or maybe slightly better but the delta is negligible (for my level of palate precision) and see all of the above additional advantages of organic wines.
Now to the price. It is bound to be more expensive. It has to be, it’s basic economics. Yes, but.
What it costs to produce a wine influences the price for sure. A low-yield wine (think of ice wine) will be more expensive. But this is just part of it. A lot of the price will also be the brand. A fancy brand will command a higher price. Most of the fancy brands are not organic. Hence for equal quality, at a 20-50 euros price range for a bottle, your non-fancy branded organic wine will match in quality the fancy non-organic brand. At times, hands down. It is also a bit of a religion. Many organic wine producers do this because they believe this is right. They want to make a wine they will drink. Are these guys who are dropping tons of s… on their grapes drinking their own wine? Maybe, or maybe not. The corollary is that most of the people behind this organic wine revolution are passionate (and it is a revolution because it is totally not trivial to do this, it is easier to use chemicals, you need new techniques…). And passionate people price their wine sometimes differently. many of these small producers just price their wine so that most people can buy them because they want most people to taste the fruit of their hard labor.
And now of course you want some names. I just tell you what blew my mind this summer, but there are many more than these of course and most of these are small producers, so hard to get:
10 euros: puech auriol vila voltaire, XB
15 euros: peyres roses gaillac 2015 cuvee charles
20 euros: Gaida (Chemin de Moscow & their 100% cabernet franc), chateau de Lancyre pic saint loup, cote du rhones jean david cuvee les couchants
You can also just follow me on vinino.