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11 best organic wines: Sustainable white, red and sparkling vinos

Indulge in pinot noir, chardonnay, purato grillo or English dry white

Stacey Smith
Monday 21 September 2020 13:51
Sales of these ethically produced drinks have risen by 47 per cent
Sales of these ethically produced drinks have risen by 47 per cent

Organic September is a month-long celebration of organic food, drink, beauty and textiles. Now in its 26th year (although originally called “Organic Harvest”), there are countless benefits to choosing an organic product.

Not only will it reduce your exposure to pesticides but you’ll also be supporting a sustainable production system which is better for both wildlife and the planet.

Organic farms tend to have around 50 per cent more bees, butterflies and other pollinators visit them – reason alone to consider switching if you ask us.

The good news is, wine is another category where it’s possible to buy organic – a pretty selfless task if you ask us. From the health of the soil from which the vines are grown, through to supporting nature-friendly farming techniques – your glass of red has never been such a hot topic.

And we’re not the only ones to think so – organic wine sales are up 47 per cent, the fastest growing organic category, helping drive eight years of consecutive organic sales growth.

So, now we’re all on board with switching to organic vino, what to look out for? Although some bottles will helpfully display organic certification, more often than not, they don’t, making it pretty confusing when it comes to the checkout. Thankfully we’ve rounded up a delicious selection across white, red and sparkling styles that all come with full organic certification.

Although we’ve only included certified wines in our round-up, it’s worth noting that many smaller producers have practised organic or even biodynamic farming for generations but just haven’t had the time, money or inclination to apply for official certification. Although certain areas are very well-known for their fantastic organic vineyards, there are also plenty right here in the UK if you’re keen to further reduce your carbon footprint.

Aside from the health and planet benefits, it’s said that organic vines allow the grapes to showcase their true flavour profile, without any additional interference. So you can often expect a superior tasting experience.

And just in case you needed any more justification for going organic, it’s long been reported that this type of wine is less likely to give you a hangover. In fact, it’s the stricter measures surrounding the quantity of sulphur dioxide used in organic winemaking (the bit that causes those unwanted headaches!) which means you’re more likely to wake up feeling fresh.

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Francone Barbaresco DOCG gallina 75cl 15%

Winner of a prestigious Decanter gold medal, the Francone Barbaresco is produced following the “Green Experience” system – a new set of rules for eco-friendly grape-growing which aims to go one step further than current organic laws.

It makes a lot of sense to follow such strict rules, the vineyard itself is part of a UNESCO world heritage site and only 3,000 bottles are produced a year (which sounds like a lot but is pretty exclusive). Deliciously full-bodied, rich and complex with notes of violet and liquorice, we thoroughly enjoyed this now but it will happily age for another 10 years if you fancy stocking up.

Vincent carême spring 75cl 12.5%

We may be going into autumn but this bottle of spring by modern wine producer Vincent Carême is still well worth a try. Based in the Loire, the estate is fully certified organic across their 14 hectares of vines, with this sec style displaying crunchy green apple and fresh pear.

A cracking aperitif, for those that are used to their wines bone-dry, this slightly off-dry style might come as a surprise but we think the excellent freshness, stony minerality and light floral touch also makes it a perfect bedfellow for fresh shellfish.

Purato Grillo spumante 75cl 12.5%

Sicilian, organic, super-sustainable spumante. Made in the Vittoria area of sunny south-east Sicily, this easy-drinking fizz works perfectly as an aperitif but also with a variety of seafood dishes.

Carbon-neutral, vegan-friendly and with eco-friendly packaging, this little bottle ticks a lot of boxes. Of course, it needs to taste the part too – and with fine bubbles, subtle floral aromas and well-balanced acidity, we think it does just that.

Weingut DB schmitt frei korper kultur 1l 11.5%

If you’re after a wine you’ll remember long after you’ve finished the bottle – independent, online wine shop Forest Wines is a great place to look. Showcasing natural and organic producers, this little number is an unusual blend of grapes (huxelrebe, pinot blanc, pinot gris, scheurebe) made in the Rheinhessen region of Germany.

Taking the whole ecosystem into consideration, young winemakers Bianka and Daniel Schmitt follow biodynamic principles, a very natural way of winemaking that includes harvesting the grapes by hand. The lack of interference allows the grapes to speak for themselves, resulting in this extremely fresh style which has had a tiny bit of skin contact. With bags of personality and a long pronounced finish, it’s extremely moreish. Do take into consideration, the price is for a slightly larger than normal 1l bottle.

Domaine Gigondan cotes du rhone reserve st just AOC 75cl 13.5%, six bottles

All of the wines stocked on Wine at Home are made using organic farming methods, minimal human intervention, natural or wild yeasts, minimal natural sulphur and use sustainable viticulture or conservation cultivation with many, also biodynamic. Domaine Gigondan is one of the very rare vineyards in France to use wild viticulture, whereby vines are grown without support, allowing them to take their natural bush-like form and forgo the usual pruning.

Needless to say, they use no chemicals of any kind but secondly, they are one of only two vineyards in France to pioneer the system of “hydro agly” – where rainwater is demineralised before being used on the vines, ensuring that the plants and soil retain their natural mineral and PH balance. Trust us when we say, you can taste the results in each sip. Delicately spiced with soft tannins – expect black pepper, blackberries and a herbaceous undertone. A versatile style that is also happy to be served slightly chilled, try it with charcuterie, pasta and lightly spiced dishes.

Bonterra organic chardonnay mendocino 75cl 13.5%

We love this certified organic chardonnay from Mendocino in California, which displays all the rich and buttery, slightly honeyed notes you’d expect from a wine from this area.

We could have been fooled into thinking we were drinking something much pricier. A real crowd-pleaser with white wine drinkers, as we move into autumn, we’ll be serving this with roast chicken and all the trimmings.

Bodegas castaño parcelas ecológico monastrell

Within the EU, Spain is said to have the largest area (100,000 hectares) dedicated to organic vineyards, making it a great place to start your organic education. If you’re a fan of wines from this part of the world, look out for the word ecológico on the bottle, which means organic in Spanish.

Showcasing this region's monastrell grape for what it can be – rich, deep, fruit-forward and earthy, there’s plenty of complexity to be found here, especially given the price tag. With a touch of oak ageing, we’d pair this with a hearty meat dish or even pepperoni pizza.

Tindall premium organic pinot noir 75cl 13%

An elegant pinot noir from New Zealand’s infamous Marlborough region, this wonderfully aromatic ruby red is bursting with red cherry and plum. Although the Tindall vineyard is well known for making premium sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, it’s the complex palate of this pinot noir that grabbed our attention. Sweet fruit is coupled with a touch of savoury spice, leading to a nice long, slightly earthy finish. Aged in oak, this is a well-rounded new world red, perfect for pairing with steak and a creamy mushroom sauce.

Castellore organic pinot grigio 75cl 12%

Proving that organic certification needn’t mean paying over the odds, budget supermarket Aldi comes to the rescue with a perfectly quaffable mid-week white made from Italy’s pinot grigio grapes.

Fans of prosecco are sure to enjoy the medium-dry nature, pronounced apple and green pear and delicate blossom and honeycomb. While we wouldn’t normally recommend spending so little on a bottle, Aldi somehow manages to nail this price point – and stylishly bottled to boot. Try drinking with light seafood pasta or salads.

Cortese nostru carricante terre siciliane 75cl 12%

Another Italian wine, this time from sunny Sicily made with the ancient indigenous carricante grape. Often blended, here it’s the star of the show, providing all the body and structure needed. It’s having a bit of a renaissance so we’d recommend looking out for this one made by winemakers Cortese (who have been happily practising organic farming for more than 10 years).

Offering crisp acidity, racy minerality and aromatic apricot and peach, this versatile white is great with goats cheese, grilled vegetables, fish and chicken, although maybe not all at the same time.

Davenport horsmonden dry white wine 75cl 11.5%

Like everything Abel & Cole stocks, this dry white wine from English wine producer Davenport is organic, with certification from the Soil Association. A blend of grapes including bacchus, ortega, faber, siegerrebe and huxelrebe, at just 11.5 per cent it’s perfectly light – a great day wine for sunny afternoons.

Although a small amount of the blend spent time in oak, there’s no taste of it – instead, it’s imparted a soft and creamy structure. Look out for an exciting sparkling version which Abel & Cole will be stocking in time for Christmas celebrations.

Quinta das maias branco 75cl 13%

A top Portuguese white wine to eke out the last of the summer, prepare to be transported to sunnier climes. We all too often tend to stick to grapes we’re familiar with – sauvignon blanc or chardonnay for example, however, this citrusy blend of malvasia and encruzado makes us question why we play it so safe – just look at the price! Super fresh, we need little reason to open this but it’s particularly good with roast chicken dishes and creamy pasta.

The verdict: Organic wine

If you’re after an award-winning organic red, the Francone Barbaresco is a gorgeous drop you won’t forget in a hurry. Prefer your wine white? The Weingut DB schmitt frei korper kultur from Forest Wines is a joy and despite the tiny amount of skin contact, is surprisingly versatile and easy drinking.

If you’re looking for the best places to buy wine, check out our round-up of the best online wine shops

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