There will be no wine before its time!
I was just a toddler when Orson Welles sang the praises of Paul Masson’s wines on television commercials “We will sell no wine before its time” and for whatever reason I have never forgotten that tag line. Could it be that subliminal message that was responsible for me becoming a wine lover, probably not, but it sounded good anyway. Being a busy working mother of two I hardly ever have a spare moment to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine, not only that but frankly there’s not always room in the budget for it. However, keeping up with my commitment to be more local, organic, and/or sustainable and seizing the opportunity to enjoy the rare glass of wine. I decided to see if there was a difference taste wise between wines produced organically and their non-organic counterparts.
I already had a bottle of Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel left over from my last wine buying excursion over 9 months ago, so the challenge was finding a wine similar in price that toted the label organic or claimed to use Sustainable Farming methods. After doing a basic search for organic wines I then narrowed my search down by region, looking for one that was at least produced by a winery located on the east coast. I found a few small vineyards out of New York State but when I inquired about their shipping policies I found that they only did local distribution. I then looked at a few small west coast vineyards. One thing I quickly realized during my research is that the vineyards using organic and sustainable farming methods were relatively small and only produced a certain amount of bottles each year which makes sense and is usually the norm when it comes to organic and sustainable food production. There were quite a few California vineyards to choose from and after checking various websites I decided to go with Cline Cellars located in Sonoma. Quite honestly it really was a toss up between Cline and one other vineyard but since I was able to order the Cline Zinfandel quite easily through Wine.com that is what pushed me over the edge, and the price was definitely right at $10 a bottle.
Once I received the Cline Zinfandel, I set out to do my taste test, taking out two all purpose balloons and a small plate of dried fruit, with a lovely local goat cheese I put both wines to the test. The verdict, they were both wonderful, both wines had flavors of ripe full fruit with a good level of tannins and both wines I felt would pair well with a variety of different dishes including some lighter spring dishes. I was hoping to really taste a distant difference but unfortunately I did not. Maybe my palate is a little dull from lack of wine drinking, I’m sure someone else would probably be able to taste something else. So what’s my final conclusion you may wonder, well even though there was no overwhelming difference between the two wines now that I’ve discovered Cline Cellars I won’t be going back to the other, not that I have anything against the folks at Bogle. They’ve served me well for a lot of years but Cline Cellars really represents where I am at this time in my life and my sensibilities.
But I want to hear from you guys has anyone done any taste tests of their own? Do you have any other good organic wines for me to try?
Next Time: Navigating my way around the fish counter. Wild-caught or farm-raised, what’s readily available?
Heather Jones is a wife, mother, freelance food writer, and graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown, and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant Tabla. Heather resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Food Movement and believes that education is the key to making a difference.