The monthly Wine Focus discussions are now held in the main Wine Forum (above). The forum remains open as an archive, but please post comments and questions in the Wine Forum.
no avatar
User

JC (NC)

Rank

Lifelong Learner

Posts

6119

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:23 pm

Location

Fayetteville, NC

WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by JC (NC) » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:26 pm

Forgive the repeat from February while I check my collection for some more organic or biodynamic producers.
Picked up this wine and the BV Coastal Estates Sauvignon Blanc at the grocery store after they were listed among the best value wines for 2008 in "Wine Enthusiast." This one found more favor with me than the BV Sauvignon Blanc.
13.8% alcohol by volume, made from organic grapes, barrel aged in French and American oak. Retails for about $11-$13.
Medium straw color. Some oak on the nose along with green apple. Crisp apple/pear flavors in the mouth. Good acids--balanced. Crisp, tasty and food-friendly. I had it over several nights with chicken in white-wine sauce and saffron rice. I would consider purchasing again for a midweek wine.
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22550

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by David M. Bueker » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:00 pm

Thanks for getting us started JC. Bonterra has always been the standard bearer for organic from my experience. They were doing it when not many other folks were taking it seriously.

Now the whole organic farming thing is tres chic, so I wonder if they might slip off the radar (a sad thing if it happens).
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Bob Parsons Alberta

Rank

aka Doris

Posts

9672

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:26 pm

JC, I think Bonterra is going to get a good run here this month. I was in a local store (not my usual haunt) this morning looking at their organic shelf and this winery featured. Some of the wines looked pretty non-descript but did pick up a Zin from La Rocca, Sierra Foothills.
With tax structure here, $25/27 Cdn for most Bonterra wines now.
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10646

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Hoke » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:13 pm

Good note on the Bonterra Chardonnay.

The whole "organic/biodynamic" thing is tricky, so you guys need to be careful when discussing these wines. Terminology is going to be difficult.

Bonterra IN THE US is NOT an organic wine. It is wine made from organically grown grapes. However, it is made in the 'traditional' manner of winemaking, in that it uses sulfur (which is an organic ingredient). In the US organics and sulfites are conflated through the magical mystery of our government regulations, and the myths about sulfites are joined to the idea of organic wines.

Organic wines, in the US, are wines that are grown without use of synthesized/chemical herbicides or pesticides; in addition, the wines must not have more than 10 parts per million sulfites, and can have no added sulfites. In the UK the rules are different---there the wine can have up to 100 ppm sulfites and still be listed as organic wine.

So, again, Bonterra is 'made from organic grapes'.

To confuse the issue, all of Bonterra's vineyard sources are CCOF organic-certified. And the home vineyards (McNab and Butler, in Mendocino) are fully bidonamically certified as well. But Bonterra produces only one biodynamic wine as labeled: the McNab, a red blend---although I understand there is a Butler blend should Bonterra decide to release it.

To try to bring order from chaos---a difficult thing the way the regs work---you can think of wines of these types as

Organically Grown Grapes---but sulfites are allowed.

Organic Wines---no sulfites added and a naturally low level of residual sulfites.

Biodynamic Wines---dancing in the vineyard naked during the full moon (that was a joke).

On another issue: I don't know of any producer (well, no producer that's not become fanatical and unbalanced on the topic because of total lack of objectively) that claims that you can automatically "taste" an organically grown wine versus an non-organically grown wine. I certainly can't, and I doubt that most people could. You would probably be safe to say that you might be able to taste and identify wines made by certain producers who preach the organic philosophy, a la Coturri---but you wouldn't be identifying organic wines there; you'd be identifying the way Coturri makes their wines in the winery. And that is a very different thing indeed.

Nope, most organic growers will tell you that they believe that organic farming is all around better---for the sustenance of the soil, the quality of the fruit, and the effect on the environment and the people who are involved. And that better fruit SHOULD generally make better wine. But I seriously doubt any of the experts (real or self-proclaimed, and of the latter there are legions) would volunteer to taste through a lineup of random wines and say they could declaratively state which are organic or not.

My opinion, anyway.
User avatar
User

Bob Parsons Alberta

Rank

aka Doris

Posts

9672

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:17 pm

I found this vintage yesterday so am intrigued. There was a CS on the shelf plus a Viognier. I am interested to find out the differences between say a regular bottle of CS and an organic one? Ooops, see Hoke has just addressed this issue!
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10646

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Hoke » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:28 pm

When you're comparing that bottle of Bonterra CS to something else, Bob, for the record, the Bonterra will be 100% organically grown CS fruit, and will likely contain anywhere from....say, 10 to maybe as much as 30% biodynamically grown grapes. But it will not be an "organic wine" as it will contain perhaps 50 ppm sulfites (I'm guessing, but it's probably a pretty good guess); mind you, that's lower than most other "conventional" producers.
no avatar
User

JC (NC)

Rank

Lifelong Learner

Posts

6119

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:23 pm

Location

Fayetteville, NC

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by JC (NC) » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:57 pm

Peju is the Napa winery whose name I was trying to recall. Their grapes are organically farmed. I see they have a recent release of a Syrah Rose' that might be interesting to try if I can locate it locally.
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22550

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:45 pm

Hoke speaks to the main issue I was trying to get at in selecting this topic, as well as (too briefly) touching on in the piece Robin chose to list as the introduction. Organic/biodynamic can mean many things, and in the USA there have been some seriously bad organic wines. But many producers are moving to organic/biodynamic farming techniques, and where we choose to draw the line on what is organic/biodynamic can be either a personal decision, a government decision or both.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10646

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Hoke » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:45 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Hoke speaks to the main issue I was trying to get at in selecting this topic, as well as (too briefly) touching on in the piece Robin chose to list as the introduction. Organic/biodynamic can mean many things, and in the USA there have been some seriously bad organic wines. But many producers are moving to organic/biodynamic farming techniques, and where we choose to draw the line on what is organic/biodynamic can be either a personal decision, a government decision or both.


Noble attempt here, David, but I think the problem you're going to run into repeatedly is you can't reliably say "considering all other things to be equal" where wine is concerned. Even if I put a mano a mano on of "organic wine" and wine without that designation...there's no way for the average person to know where the "organic" begins and where the hundred of other factors end.

On another board (no, not that one; I don't go there) someone commented that it seemed like most of the organic wine he'd been drinking was oxidized---and therefor assuming that perhaps that was indicating that oxidation is associated with organic viticulture/viniculture---when one may or may not have anything to do with the other.
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22550

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:58 pm

Hoke wrote:On another board (no, not that one; I don't go there) someone commented that it seemed like most of the organic wine he'd been drinking was oxidized---and therefor assuming that perhaps that was indicating that oxidation is associated with organic viticulture/viniculture---when one may or may not have anything to do with the other.


Well if it was Allemand sans soufre delviered in any month other than January (to the northern hemisphere) then I could understand it all being oxidized. :wink:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10646

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Hoke » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:04 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
Hoke wrote:On another board (no, not that one; I don't go there) someone commented that it seemed like most of the organic wine he'd been drinking was oxidized---and therefor assuming that perhaps that was indicating that oxidation is associated with organic viticulture/viniculture---when one may or may not have anything to do with the other.


Well if it was Allemand sans soufre delviered in any month other than January (to the northern hemisphere) then I could understand it all being oxidized. :wink:


I like the idea of this so-called natural wine, David....but right now it's a little inconvenient to have an urge to have a glass of wine and have to get on a plane, fly for several hours, then drive a few, just to enjoy that glass right out of the cellar. Admirable, perhaps even enviable, but inconvenient nonetheless. :D
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22550

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:28 pm

Hoke wrote:I like the idea of this so-called natural wine, David....but right now it's a little inconvenient to have an urge to have a glass of wine and have to get on a plane, fly for several hours, then drive a few, just to enjoy that glass right out of the cellar. Admirable, perhaps even enviable, but inconvenient nonetheless. :D


You are clearly not a wine hipster. :wink:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26857

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: WTN: 2006 Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay, Mendocino County

by Jenise » Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:13 pm

JC, we just had the 07. Compared to your 06, I'd say it's a bit riper, but it's more lavishly ripe than overripe, and quite well balanced with acidity. Lovely fruit, a nice cocktail wine. I'd buy again for $10.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign