Skagit Food Co-op blog:

CV, the wine guy

CV, the Wine Guy, talks Biodynamic Wines from Oregon

SVFC_CV Wine Guy_BiodynamicBiodynamic: adj. — a spiritual-ethicial-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition.

Biodynamic wines take the concentrated notice of terroir (the geography, geology, and climate of a wine region) to a whole new level. When grapes are grown biodynamically, the wine maker sees the vineyard as an ecosystem: not just the vines, but the soil beneath them — an organism in its own right — the air and water quality, flora and fauna in the area, the cosmos — all of these are growing together interdependently.

There is also the notion that farming can (should?) be attuned to the spiritual element of the cosmos, perhaps linking planting or harvesting in time with lunar cycles or planetary positions.

The immense and careful attention biodynamic growers pay to their vines can’t be anything but good, or, at the very least, interesting. If a wine is biodynamic, it is also organic (but still contains sulfites). Biodynamic wines are the best of the best. This week, we’re going to focus on biodynamic wines from Oregon. The two main varietals for Oregon are Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We talked last week about the flavor profiles and structure of Pinot Noir (and how well it pairs with salmon); let’s focus on Pinot Gris this week.

We have two biodynamic Pinot Gris at the Co-op: Cooper Mountain Vineyards (2011) and Montinore Estate (2013). and You’ll often find Oregon Pinot Gris described as crisp, lively, dynamic, with “notes of stone” — when they talk about stone, they are talking about mineral, they are talking about stone (rather than stone fruit). Something that has always resonated with me, when talking about a mineral flavor, is the smell of wet concrete — on a hot day, just after a rain. Can you imagine that smell? That is an intense mineral experience. You can actually experience that with some of these wines — that type of sensory respond to those flavors. It’s easier to put a fruit tag to a flavor — we’re used to tasting, smelling fruit, but it takes a bit of a nudge to understand what mineral is — it’s a more subtle thing. Finding mineral flavors in a Pinot Gris is something you could expect, and once you can identify that taste, you’ll think — oh, that’s mineral. Pinot Gris is paired well with salads, chicken, seafood, and other light meats. These are dry wines; there’s not going to be any residual sugar whatsoever.

Oregon wines are a bit spendier, and Pinot Noir is spendier across the board. But, the fact that these are biodynamic make them very interesting.

And now, for the wines:

Biodynamic Red:
Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011
Geographic Region: North Willamette Valley — Beaverton, Oregon
Price: $23.99
Alcohol by Volume: 13.1%
From Cooper Mountain’s website, they say: “[Winemaker] Gilles [de Domingo] strives to not make wine for the masses, but rather those seeking wines that have soul and are reflective of each passing vintage in the Willamette Valley. Wine is memory of land.”

Biodynamic White #1: Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Gris
Geographic Region: North Willamette Valley — Beaverton, Oregon
Price: $13.99
Alcohol by Volume: 13.1%

Biodynamic White #2
: Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2013
Geographic Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon and Central Range Foothills, Oregon
Price: $13.99
Alcohol by Volume: 13.%

From the Montinore Estate website: “Our close attention to each step of the grape-growing and winemaking process is rooted in the belief that exceptional wine is born of a sustained marriage of soil, climate and artful stewardship. ”


By: CV, The Wine Guy

CV, The Wine GuyCV is our resident wine guy and our newest cheese specialist. And he’s here to give you generous, succinct, friendly advice on wines (and cheese). CV is quick to say that he’s not a wine “expert” — he’s not the person to go to for fancy terminology — but he does know wine, and approaches it with robust energy and a desire to match wine with people, food, and experiences.