It’s the morning after, I’m up washed and feeling fresh as a daisy, thanks to the quality and purity found in the wines of Alpamanta. Being one of the first to leave, I may well be in the minority, but this I doubt.
This month we held our ‘roving’ Dublin wine club at Bijou in Rathgar. Andrej Razumovsky from Alpamanta in Argentina was visiting, so we roped him in to ‘de-mystify’ the various elements of biodynamic farming. Having tried to define Biodynamics in a succinct manor, I’ve resorted to the reliable Jancis Robinson for a clear definition:
*Biodynamic viticulture is, depending on your perspective, an enhanced or extreme form of organic viticulture. This controversial regime has produced some impressive results but without the reassurance of conclusive scientific explanation. It is based on theories expounded in the 1920s by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) for agriculture in general. Biodynamics sees each vineyard as a living organism which can be maintained in a self-sustaining way (see sustainable viticulture). The Earth is also seen as a living organism with diurnal and seasonal rhythms dependent on, and receptive to, cosmic cycles. Agricultural work is timed to coincide with these rhythms and biodynamic spray and compost preparations are used, at specified times, on the land or directly on the crops, to heighten their potentially beneficial effects. Although bordeaux mixture and sulfur are permitted to help control powdery mildew and downy mildew respectively, conventional agrochemicals and fertilizers are forbidden.*
In keeping with the theme, we tried various biodynamic wines from around the world. Below I’ve listed the wines and the general thoughts on each.
Alpamanta Natal Sauvignon Blanc Biodynamic, Mendoza 2010 €14.75 – Delicate notes of white peach and lemon citrus are deepened by a mineral linearity which has enabled this Sauvignon to retain it’s freshness and bite. A couple of clubbers suggested this was one of the best sauvignons they’d ever had!
Eco Organic Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley 2012 €13.00 – More up front then the Alpamanta, but clean very intense and buoyant.
Alpamanta Estate Chardonnay Biodynamic, Mendoza 2012 €19.50 – Some subtle oak gives this wine more depth and complexity. Though the vines are still young the minerality and vibrance of the biodynamic soil seems to shine through.
This production zone comes with a range of style and prices. This particular wine, showed just how delicate, yet complex the wines from the area can be. Garnet in colour, not deep, with a lingering sweet berry note on the slightly earthy finish. (One of Amelia’s favourite wines.)
Lucero del Alba, Biodynamic, Ribera del Duero 2011 €15.50 – Massively sweet red fruit, with hints of vanilla and sweet spice make this wine really appealing. As Harriet’s house wine for dinner parties it went down a storm.
Alpamanta Estate Malbec Biodynamic, Mendoza 2009 €22.25 – Dark chocolate and mocha on the nose, leading to a peppery leaness on the palate which gives this wine a linear complexity rarely seen in Malbecs below €25. Intense, brooding, this wine would be the Liam Neeson of the wine world.
Alpamanta Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Biodynamic, Mendoza 2007 €22.25 – Some age on this wine, has led to opulent raisined hints with that generous rich earthy note that New World Cabernet can achieve with age. Harvested late because of massive rains that year, the extra time on the vine has given us a really open, succulent wine. Whether this or the Malbec was the favourite of the night was 50/50, but the response to these seriously good wines was fab.
So to finish, just a quick plug for our wine club! You could say we’re a ‘not for profit’ organisation! Ticket’s cost €15, unless you join the wine club (sign up for newsletters etc – FREE), when it’s a tenner a head. We open lots of delicious wines, avoiding those which taste the same and offer little interest. Each month we use a different venue. It could be seen as a ‘Food & Wine’ club, as we offer tend to stay for supper afterwards and try to organise a special price for members. Last nights food was outstanding. The Bistro laid on canapés (pictured below) and we all stayed for a main (which was outstanding)afterwards. Sean very kindly let us open one or two more bottles which allowed the wines to ‘strut their stuff’ once matched with the likes of pork belly and seriously succulent sirloin steaks.
Depending on the venue’s availability, next month’s wine club will be on Wednesday 20th or Thursday 21st November.. hope to see you all there!
*Extract taken from JancisRobinson.com – Oxford Companion to WineGoogle+