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The Ethical Wine Shopper : Biodynamic Wine

Semillon grapes at Krinklewood The Ethical Wine Shopper : Biodynamic WineKrinklewood Wine The Ethical Wine Shopper : Biodynamic Wine

For most people I know, Biodynamic viticulture is only slightly more intriguing than the measles. When inquiring about a wine they want to know what it tastes like, how much it costs and if it will impel a sonorous, closed-eyed sigh of pleasure or simply quench their thirst. They don’t care if the vineyard was treated with a cocktail of fermented cow manure and would be unlikely to ask if the grapes were fully connected to the cosmic forces of the Universe when they were picked. And that’s fair enough. Biodynamics (BD for short) is a complex system of organic agriculture that in the context of a dinner party conversation may raise more yawns than eyebrows, but it is also arguably the most sustainable of all forms of farming. Not only does it embrace most of the organic ethos, one of the underlying philosophies of BD is to leave the land in better shape than it was.

A word of warning though, biodynamic wines won’t be easy to find. A lot of wineries use BD practices, but haven’t gone down the long and expensive path of attaining the official certification so it won’t be mentioned on their labels. The certified BD producers are restricted, only being able to use the fruit from their own BD certified vineyards, making their total production usually tiny.

Even if you have the energy for the hunt, and you’re willing to spend your hard earned on a glass of “thank goodness the day’s over”, you’ll still want your ethical purchase to be tasty. And as Chris Carpenter from Lark Hill recently told me, Biodynamics does not excuse bad wine. Lark Hill Winery in the Canberra region has been using biodynamic farming principles since 2002 for a multitude of reasons. Chris says the intention was to “make our farm a sustainable, long term and low-impact eco-system”, as well as achieving the best fruit by growing the healthiest vines. The beauty of BD is that more often than not, exceptional fruit quality is exactly the outcome and for this very reason. And naturally, the best fruit produces the best wine! So if you wish to push your sustainable living practices to the next level, seeking out some Biodynamic wine is not only an honourable pursuit, it may bring excellent results!

A legitimate place to start looking for wine with a low environmental impact is locally, both from a local business and a local winery. In this vain I dropped into Ultimo Wine Centre and Annandale Cellars to see what I could find from a geographically close winery, and came up trumps with Krinklewood wines. This Hunter Valley producer is a small family owned business, and has been certified Biodynamic since 2007. Other BD wines I’d tried previously had a prevailing theme of freshness and vibrancy, so I was very pleased to find that Krinklewood Wines maintained the theme.

The first wine was the 2009 Krinklewood Verdelho. This is a genuinely playful wine with a purity of spirit second only to the Dalai Lama. The serving temperature will change the view a little. Icy cold and this Verdelho is invigorating with racy citrus flavours and an unexpected but quite pleasant oiliness on the mid-palate. Let the wine warm up a little and the profile becomes denser and more tropical. You won’t find a full orchard of summer fruit here so best not to challenge it with complicated food. Instead, drink it on its own because it’s Spring and you’re feeling frisky.

The 2009 Krinklewood Semillon appears to be the Verdelho’s identical twin with its translucent lemon green hue. Wave the glass under your nose and the illusion hits the hand brake. This youthful character has a nose of lemongrass, green apples and slight asparagus pungency. I was equally fascinated by the palate of green apples and hay bales. This is a refined, understated and gifted child showing sophistication beyond its years when served with food. At a modest 9.8% alcohol and bone dry its perfectly partnered with fish, chips and sunshine.

The deep boysenberry tone of the 2006 Krinklewood Shiraz belies its age. Herbaceous aromas of white pepper, plums and sweet spice introduce a gloriously full palate. Think blood plums poached in cinnamon, cloves and aniseed held together with sweet vanillin oak and a touch of spice. With barely discernible tannin this is a fleshy juicy mouthful of goodness! Piquant wild olives accompanied perfectly, astonishing value at around $30 RRP.

As a footnote it’s worth mentioning that the service at both Ultimo Wine Centre and Annandale Cellars was exceptionally well-informed and helpful. Pyrmont has some great neighbours!

This article is written by Danielle Kennedy.

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