I am beyond excited to welcome you to my new series Organic Wine Review with The Clean Dish’s first resident wine taster Nadia Hetzel!
Nadia is one of the baddest chicks in the wine business – not only does she have the most refined palate and a nose like a bomb sniffing dog, she also holds an engineering degree in enology and viticulture from a German university (so you know it’s legit. Excuse my bias).
In this series, we’ll be reviewing our favorite organic wines and Nadia will be rating them according to the 20 point scale system which I convert over to an easy 5 star rating system for those that aren’t familiar with a more elaborate rating sheet.
Why organic wine?
There are a lot of reasons for drinking organic wine. Let’s start with the most important facts:
Organic wine is made from 100% certified organic grapes that are free from genetically modified organisms (GMO) and grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides.
It’s a no-brainer; organic wine making (and organic agriculture in general) may not be perfect but it’s immeasurably better than conventionally produced wine. Look out for these organic certifications on your wine label, among others:
Don’t obsess about organic certifications, though. There are plenty of small wineries all over the world that practice sustainable, green agriculture and produce clean, organic wines. A lot of these farmers may not be able to afford an organic certification (or simply don’t see any need for it) but are generally more than happy and willing to disclose their farming and wine making practices and may even give you a tour!
For our first Organic Wine Review, I picked up one of my beloved whites from our local health food store: Frey Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($13).
Please note, this is not a sponsored post but an independent review of our favorite organic wines!
Frey is a family owned and operated winery in California (Californians just seem to have it all!) that produces wine without any added sulfites and synthetic preservatives. As I learned on their website, they have far more wines in their product line than those available to us in our local wine store.
My favorite part about Frey Vinyards is the fact that they follow a biodynamic method of farming.
Biodynamic agriculture goes far beyond organic farming practices and is one of the most fascinating, wholesome ways to grow crops.
The Biodynamic Association says:
Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.
Now let’s see what my favorite wine maker and The Clean Dish’s resident wine taster Nadia Hetzel has to say about Frey Vineyards lovely Sauvignon Blanc!
Organic Wine Review
Frey Sauvignon Blanc 2014
with Nadia Hetzel
- 4.4 / 5
Flinty with tones of rich honey, lemon zest, brioche, with hints of sea salt and shale.
Full bodied with reappearance of the bright lemon zest in the mid pallet, brioche, unctuous mouthfeel with great umami. Long finish.
No cellar manipulation here! The usual fresh mowed grass and gooseberry do not scream you down from the nose. Instead of the one trick pony Sauvignon Blancs that end in a citrus monotony (because they are all using the very same popular brand of pre-packaged freeze dried yeast) there are intricate notes of spontaneous fermentation which gives this wine an instantly layered complexity.
This drop is an enlightenment of unadulterated vinification. It is one of those rare wines that has my nose glued to the glass while I wax poetically about vines living in equilibrium with their environment. Having made wines in a conventional sense my entire life, I am experiencing pangs of jealousy as I think of those lucky bastards that are in the Rudolf Steiner party pool! My hats off to Frey and their lovely Sauvignon Blanc.
Scallops, sushi or grilled fish with pineapple salsa. Schnitzel drizzled with lemon juice and a side salad with a light vinaigrette. Organic baby romaine salad with cucumbers and a lime based vinaigrette.
Cross-cultural winemaker extraordinaire with a K9 sense of smell and an engineering degree in enology and viticulture from the University of Geisenheim in Germany. Nadia has worked in many prestigious wineries including the renowned Riesling producer Schloss Johannisberg and the first organic winery in Germany, Weingut Sander. Outside of the wine cellar, you are likely to bump into Nadia at an open air Bluegrass concert or a whiffy cheese tasting.