Seems like the fashionable lifestyle of naturalists not only increased the popularity of organic food products, but also influenced the latest trends in buying wines. This festive season’s stats show that natural and sustainable beverages such as organic and biodynamic wines are highly sought after.
Many of you must have heard of organic wines, but I assume that far fewer will be familiar with the concept of biodynamics. I was surprised to learn that biodynamic agriculture (which include viticulture) is the oldest anti-chemical agricultural movement that even predates organic farming. In addition to special compost preparations without the use of synthetic chemicals, biodynamic viticulture follows a special holistic calendar which regulates the time of planting, pruning, and harvesting the wine grapes. In this holistic, homeopathic manner of farming, human interference is kept minimal to maintain the balance between the resonance of vine, man, earth and the stars – given to the belief that everything in the universe is interconnected.
It isn’t as “crazy” as it might sound at first though. The lunar calendar has been used for farming for centuries, and before the use of chemically manufactured composts and pesticides, wine growers were relying on compost prepared with natural ingredients to bolster their vineyards. Biodynamic wine growers go back to the basics. They observe the cycles of nature and place an emphasis on composting with natural ingredients (which include everything from manure and cow horns to yarrow blossoms, chamomile and stinging nettles).
The biodynamic calendar is divided into four categories: Fruit Days for harvesting the grapes, Root Days for pruning, Flower Days for resting the soil and Leaf Days for watering the plants. You can actually extend the idea of biodynamics into your drinking as well as recently people have noted the moon’s effect on wine tasting. According to the lunar calendar, fruit days are the most auspicious days to drink wine.
But which ones to try first? There are some stores who specialises in selling only organically grown, preservative free wines, but you’ll find a few at most bigger bottle-o’s as well. Dan Murphy’s, for example, lists an impressive selection of 76 certified biodynamic wines ranging from $15 up to $150 a bottle.
One of the highest rated of them is the 2012 vintage Gemtree Uncut Shiraz. Produced in McLaren Vale, this Shiraz gives you all the characteristics of the grapes from its healthy terroir. The ripe fruity aromas are strengthened by deep earthy notes from the French oak maturation, it’s a very well balanced red with fine tannins. Great value for just $17.80 a bottle or $16.90 if you’re adventurous enough to buy a case of six. Based on the reviews both by the experts and customers, you should just go for it.
If you are comfortable spending a bit more, for $27.99 ($26.60 in any six) you could try another red from the Barossa Valley. The Moppa Shiraz by Kalleske is an award winning 100% biodynamic Shiraz blended with a touch of Viognier and Petit Verdot. It features a deep aroma of blueberries with spicy and woodsy palate. This 2011 vintage is sold out at most places online, so it seems that you’ll most likely be able to get your hands on the last few cases at Dan’s.
For wine collectors or true followers of biodynamic agriculture, I would highly recommend the Diana Madeline Margaret River Cabernet blend labeled by the Cullen winery. Although this wine sells for $105 for a single bottle at Dan Murphy’s, it’s slightly cheaper than anywhere else I could find online. It is one of the only 21 premium wines which are rated exceptional by Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine. Scroll down Dan’s page on this excellent red for a detailed description on the flavour and characteristics by the experts at in the review section.