Battle of Sauvignon Blanc organic wines

Posted on July 17, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

As part of our regular Wine Tasting schedule, we have hosted a pop up tasting or organic Sauvignon Blanc wines. 

Sauvignon Blanc is the hugely popular grape variety responsible for some of the world’s most distinctively aromatic dry white wines: Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, and from outside France, most notably New Zealand and up and coming Chile and USA. 

Why Sauvignon Blanc is so popular?

It is straightforward, obvious and easy-to-appreciate. Sauvignon Blanc addresses a demand coming from modern wine consumers who are more interested in immediate fruit than subtlety and ageing ability.

Aromas and Flavours

Sauvignon Blanc’s most recognisable characteristic is its piercing, instantly recognisable aroma. Descriptions typically include grassy, herbaceous, musky, green fruits (gooseberries), nettles. Yet in some cases tasters get notes of tropical fruit that are underlined by an exciting and refreshing citrus. 

Winemaking

There is an ongoing work to experiment with fermentation, maturation in oak, picking the grapes at different levels of ripeness to add nuance and pungency to the aroma and weight to the palate.

Oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc are much more rare but do exist - they need an additional year or two to show their best. France is on top of their game with ageing, yet there are some really interesting examples how US winemakers use oak with their Sauvignons. 

Sweet Sauvignons also exist - you do not need to go too far, simply refer to the most famous Sauternes where he plays a major part in the blend.

Influence of different climates.

In cold climates there is a risk that the grapes won’t ripen fully, so the wines will taste overly herbaceous and aggressive. Some critics call them simply rank. In hot climates Sauvignon Blanc can go overripe and resulting wines will taste flat, lose their refreshing ability and simply fail to impress.

Wine styles.

Loire style has been recognised as the more pure Sauvignon Blanc as anywhere in the world.

New Zealand style is intensely perfumed, more obviously fruity and can show as sweeter notes, but also asparagus and gooseberries.

Other regions picked up on this Kiwi rising star and started to copy the success. Chile, North America and South Africa show some progress in that direction. Chile is emerging very rapidly - they got this variety on the coastal vineyards and the quality is improving.

Our tasting samples

Sauvignon Blanc wine tasting event - samplesSancerre ‘Terres Blanches’ - French traditional appellations do not carry the name of the grape variety on the label. Organic by EU and French standards. Great with seafood, hot fish starters and cheeses.

Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc - Unfiltered New Zealand opulent Sauvignon Blanc. More tropical fruit and floral notes to express with refreshing citrus. More body and intensity.

Ventopuro Sauvignon Blanc - Coastal production from Chile. Restrained fruit and some vegetable notes that open up to more tropical notes further on. Elegance and delicacy.

iconThese three wines are available in case of 6 (2 each) with 20% discount - Members only cases.

Posted in wine tasting

Organic Stars in our wine list: Sedilesu Cannonau Sartiu 2012, Sardinia, Italy

Posted on July 05, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

Sedilesu Cannonau Sartiu organic red wine - Sardinian wine

We start to pinpoint some of our hidden gems for you in our, hopefully, regular column: 'Organic Stars'. It will outline some of note-worthy examples in our organic wine list.

Allow us to introduce you to a glorious organic red - Sedilesu Cannonau Sartiu 2012, Sardinia, Italy

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Meet David, our first Organic Wine Club member

Posted on July 03, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

We were so chuffed to being able to sell a case of 12 classic organic wines (mixed) to David L. on the first day of trading online! Afterwards, we've contacted them to ask a few questions and here is what our customers told us.

How would you describe your wine-buying habits up to now?

Chaotic, in a word. My partner and I both work in London, our jobs devour every waking hour and The Tube seems to steal whatever time is left. Consequently our wine buying is impulsive (either a lunch time dash or on the way home), rushed and incredibly inefficient. First impressions for us are everything - If it looks good it goes into the shopping basket!

What initially attracted you to a wine club?

Both of us recognise that we need help! We have both, independently, asked around and done some research on wine clubs. They seem tailor-made for our situation. Suddenly we have structure to our wine-buying lives. We both ‘get’ the premise that you need to buy by the case. It makes sense. Instead of countless individual purchases every month, buying through a club means we go through the whole process just once. Best of all, these clubs deliver to your door. Having spent the week working and commuting, the weekend offers a chance to relax. Neither of us want to get in a car, especially in London, and spend hours stuck in traffic.

What attracted you to the Organic Wine Club?

Initially, it was for health reasons. We both like to keep fit, squeezing in a jog round the block most mornings and getting on the bikes at weekends. At the same time we enjoy a glass of wine and invariably our friends are involved!

The quality of wine consumed varies hugely. Both of us know that you get what you pay for and that quality is closely linked to how a wine is made. The average bottle of wine, we realise, is full of additives and, like many people, we are concerned what these may be doing to our health.

My partner was recently alerted to the benefits of organic wine by one of her book club (funnily enough over a glass of organic wine), and pillow talk that night consisted of an in-depth explanation of organic and biodynamic wines: their lack of pesticides in the vineyard, the omission of sulphur in the bottle, and so on!

Organic Wine Club logo
  I was startled to learn how global is the organic movement, how established it is, yet how much bad press these wines get. Organic wines, we thought, often taste nasty because they are unstable. Stability, goes the mantra, comes from these added chemicals. Neither of us know enough to tell the difference but we would like to find out more and judge for ourselves. Unfortunately, finding a decent selection of organic wines has, until now, been quite challenging.

We think Organic Wine Club will change all that for many.

What were your initial impressions of the Organic Wine Club?

Very positive. Life has been hectic recently, so we have not been able to take advantage of the various options to try before you buy that the club offers. If a window of opportunity opens up in our lives we are keen to join one of your informal in-store tastings. Fortunately their website, https://organicwineclub.co.uk, gave us various options to buy.

Different pre-mixed cases are available on their Club page. As, newbies to organic wine should have been a bit more modest, but no, we went for Classic mixed case. We were then amazed to discover we had become members! How easy is that? This was shopping at its most painless. We ordered at the click of a mouse, got on with our lives and waited for you to deliver to our door.

How do you think you have benefited from your club membership?

As we are so new to this wine club it is yet to be seen in full. Yet I can see a few benefits. Getting 10% on every case we buy, mixed or unmixed, is a good start.

What has really grabbed our attention is something quite different. Both of us travel a lot with the same airline and are used to being rewarded with airmiles. We are not, on the other hand, used to being rewarded with points for every £1 we spend on a bottle of wine. Such a simple idea and so effortless. After all, we are going to buy wine anyway, so this is a bonus. We have recently introduced a couple of friends to the club and been rewarded with even more points (500 per friend).

I remember as a kid my dad collecting green shield stamps. Then one day, armed with a stack of completed coupon books, he would redeem them for a lawnmower or some more engine oil! This is even better - you redeem the points for more wine. We will build up a useful little pot of points and then the fun part will come - redeeming all those points.

icon Comments from our staff: our loyalty programme is called Wine Drops, make sure you register an account and start referring. You can then get a very nice discount on your own wine when you decide to shop.

Is there anything else about our Organic Wine Club that interests you?

Yes, your offer to come to our house and give a tutored tasting is a great idea. Both of us are keen to learn more about organic wines and who better to inform us than the professionals? We could then progress to one of your wine education courses. I can think of quite a few of our friends who would be interested. I might even persuade my brother-in-law, a busy city professional who is cash rich but time poor, to join us. He knows a lot about derivatives but less than he thinks about wine!

So what would be your advice to those who haven’t yet tried organic wine?

Have an open mind and try them. Many of us like to push the boundaries so why not adopt that same adventurous spirit when we choose wine to drink? The Organic Wine Club is a good place to start.

iconComments from us: We are so grateful for our customer's willingness to share. A few steps you can take just now towards a better wine shopping: sign up for our newsletter and get a Free Delivery voucher; register an account and start referring friends. You will get a bonus from us as well (200 points for creating an account). Exchange that all for wine! Cheers

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Our first wine tasting: organic wines, customers and loads of fun at wine club!

Posted on July 03, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

Wine Tasting at Organic Wine Club

Just yesterday we have hosted our first wine tasting.

After being open for 3 full days we have received quite a few questions about wine tasting opportunities, so we have decided to host one straightaway. We are overwhelmed with support from local residents, members of business community in Worcester Park, bloggers and social media enthusiasts who have helped to spread the word! Cannot be more grateful for that.

What we have tasted with our visitors:

Domaine de la Colombette Barbejo - a fruity and vibrant white from south of France, Pays d'Oc.

Domaine du Jas d'Esclans Provence Cru Classe - an elegant and classy rose from prestigious Provence.

'Pure' Cabernet Franc 2013 from Pays d'Oc - a lighter bodied red that is fuller than your usual Loire style of this grape.

Tenuta San Vito Chianti DOCG - a classic Tuscan Chianti made from 100% organic Sangiovese.

We buy what you like. Influence our stocking decisions.

We have also began to permanently display a few wines that we do not stock, but would like to get an opinion about. If you like it, we will stock it. It is that simple. As we live in a shared economy, we simply want to be relevant and current based on our customer's feedback.

This week we have 3 bottles to try: a classy Haut-Medoc Bordeaux, a vibrant Pot du Vin from Pays d'Oc and an interesting white Picpoul de Pinet. Visit us to sample and let us know what you think please! 

It has been a lovely day. We are so pleased to help dozens of people to choose organic wines, so come in to have a friendly chat about organic wines.

See you soon.

Our next tasting is scheduled on Friday 8th July for our launch evening (4-8pm). Please RSVP by email and we are looking forward to seeing you! To celebrate our launch we still have a few organic wine cases (out of initial 80) left with a massive 25% off - have a look at our organic wine promo page.

 

Posted in wine tasting

Smart Wine Shopping at Organic Wine Club

Posted on June 25, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

 This short but valuable guide is to show you how to get the most value and benefits from Organic Wine Club.

Organic Wine Club - how to make the most of itLet’s start with the whole essence of what is Organic Wine Club. It is UK’s first wine club solely dedicated to organic wines. It offers delicious wines, variety of flavours to savour and explore. It is a club as it offers members-only exclusive cases and discounts up to 25%. We recommend to drink organic wine - these wines are healthier as compared to conventional wines. If you want to learn more about organic wine and other different types of healthier wines, read our guide on all things organic wine here.

Helping people to drink less but better wines is the ultimate wine & business mission.

Organic Wine Club expertly handpicks all organic wines that we stock and engages its members in decision making process - our customers are in control what we order and sell. Visit our store to taste some organic wine or give us feedback online please. 

So how to get the most value for money whilst still buying amazing organic wines that are better for you? Read the details below or download our 2-page short pdf file here.

1. Earn Wine Drops & get free organic wine on us

Wine Drops loyalty programme earn wine on us refer friends


Most important is to sort out an account with us. Many people buy without opening an account and they start to miss out on additional perks the same moment. Our advice is that you can sign up for an account with is without even buying organic wine.

Why? We run our loyalty programme called Wine Drops and it starts rewarding you from the moment of account creation. You get an introductory 200 points when you sign up, 1 point for every £1 spent and somewhat amazing 500 points for referring a friend. Just to illustrate, if you have signed up (200 points), referred 6 friends (they need to become a purchasing member), you will have 3200 points. That is £32 off a case of wine for you. Before you buy anything. Great tip, hope you will use it. Download our web leaflet about Wine Drops here.

2. News, Wine Info and Offers.

Next stop is to sign up for our newsletter. We want to keep all our visitors, customers and members updated about what’s going on - we publish dates for our free organic wine tasting events, special promotions and useful information about organic wines. Don’t worry, no spam or third party emails. We also keep these emails to a bare minium (1-2 a month). When you sign up, you will receive a voucher code for a free delivery. That is £8 saving too!

3. Special promotional organic wine cases.

You are almost there to make a wonderfully cost effective organic wine purchase. Organic Wine Club is constantly running welcome offers. If you stay tuned and manage to get a deal, you are up for a treat. Great discounts and also delicious wines are on offer. Make sure to check promotional page with the current organic wine offers.

4. Wine Club Cases. Become Organic Wine Club Member.

If the promo cases did not spark your interest or you’ve bought one and want more value then you should definitely have a look at the Wine Club Cases page. Membership at Organic Wine Club starts with buying any of Introductory or Classic organic wines cases.

Choose between mixed, just reds, just whites case of 6 or 12 bottles. They are already discounted up to 10% off retail prices. Remember, you will be accumulating Wine Drops as well. Yet it is not the main advantage - your membership with us assumes you get 10% off anything! It also includes an access to Members-only cases page, which gives you an additional discount of 10%.

You can also subscribe for regular deliveries and get additional 5% off.

There are no fees to maintain your membership and you can save up to 10-25% on pre-mixed member cases and also tailor your own case with at least 10% off. Contact us with your own requirements and we will be happy to advise on organic wine. 

5. Learn more about wines and healthier lifestyle.

Membership at Organic Wine Club is not just about discounts, it is about becoming a member of our organic wine community. Tasting events, educational sessions, wine tasting evenings with producers and social events are very popular at Organic Wine Club. Members join us for free pop in organic wine tasting sessions and themed tastings. Have a look at our Tasting page for the tasting schedule.

Living in a digital economy also means that we are active on social media  - please feel free to engage with us and fellow organic wine club members on Facebook, Twitter and more platforms.

Organic Wine Club benefits of wine subscription and membershipThere are so many ways how to get the most out of your engagement with Organic Wine Club. Make it smart - save money, get free delivery coupon, join the club, subscribe and learn more about wines you drink. We almost forgot - save Earth (just a little bit) and drink organic!

 

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Sulphite free wines - what, why and for whom?

Posted on June 18, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 1 comment

Sulphite free wines - what are wines with no sulfites?We have been truly astonished by our initial sales of sulphite free wines. It is such a pleasure to also find ourselves helpful to people who are suffering from allergic reactions on wine. Yet they do want to enjoy a glass or too!

Let's quickly get down to business here - what are sulphite-free wines (other spelling include no sulphite added wines or sulfite-free), why they are different and whom are they made for.

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Posted in sulphite-free

What are organic wines? A guide on organic wine its benefits

Posted on June 16, 2016 by Dimitri Safonov | 1 comment

organic vineyards

We are so happy to receive calls, emails and social media messages from you guys with questions about organic wines. We shop for organic food (or try to as it is not always available) in our preferred supermarkets, we know that it is grown without pesticides and without harmful chemicals, but what are organic wines? Let's get down to the point here.

Just before we start, don't you think there is enough confusion with wine regions and labels, and now there are organic wines, biodynamic wines, natural, fairtrade and more types of wine. How not to get lost?

Organic Wine Club is on the mission to introduce you to delicious organic wines that will be healthier for your than conventional ones, so you can drink less but better wines. Let us quickly outline the most important points.

So what are organic wines?

EU organic wineEU laws state that organic wine is made from grapes grown organically. Organic farming presumes that no harmful pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers are allowed to grow the grapes. Research has shown that grapes are amongst other fruit that store those harmful substances, hence it is increasingly beneficial for your health to drink wines made from organic grapes. It also generally means no artificial or synthetic preservatives were used, no colours added and no agents added to alter the taste. If you are wondering, organic also means nothing genetically modified.

There’s loads of restrictions when it comes to organic wine. So what’s permitted?

Organic wine permits naturally occurring substances: elemental sulphur and salt copper sulphate (Bordeaux mixture). Plant oils, seaweed, powders based on wild herbs do not enter vine’s sap or grape pulp and thus have no effect on the resulting wine. Organic farming focuses on the techniques that are focused on prevention rather than cure. Don't you think it is a way forward? 

The main nutrient added to the soil is compost as it is an organic fertiliser. It allows slow release of soil minerals and nutrients by encouraging an array of living organisms, so in a nutshell it feeds the soil, not the plants.

It also means that vine roots penetrate deeper into the soil and thus said to make the wines taste more complex. Critics sometimes add that noticeable minerality of the wine is a sign of how well this wine expresses the soil and terroir.

What about vegan or vegetarian wines?

Don’t be surprised, a product that is made of grapes can be unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans. Winemaking process involves filtration and fining step, which can be conducted using animal based products: animal gelatin, a fishy isinglass, egg whites or a milk based casein. There are other methods available for that - gravity-based or an inert clay ‘bentonite’ usage. The latter is not perfect either as it can strip your wine of its light and delicate flavours. Natural wines are usually produced without filtration or any sort of clarification. 

So I take organic wines are natural wines, aren’t they?

Natural wines are the ones that are made without major intervention during the winemaking process. Natural wines are not necessarily made from organic grapes, and at the same time organic wines are mostly about the grapes and not what happens in the winery. The latter process is exactly how you should differ these two kinds of wines - organic is about the grape, natural is about what happens at the winery. 

One major difference here is the addition of sulphites - natural wines have no added sulphites, just naturally occurring ones. Organic wines will have less sulphites than conventional wines, but winemakers can still use them in minimal quantities (up to 100mg/l). Read more about sulphite free wines in our dedicated guides on wines made with no added sulphites (or sulfites, as some people spell it).

Is it over complicated about biodynamic wines?

Biodynamic is something different, yes! To tell you the story short, there was a guy Rudolf Steiner, who back in 1920s developed a concept for a holistic system of agriculture. It focuses on improving soil and plant health by using herbal and mineral composts. What is important that the interventions are made strictly during particular days, which are selected based on the movement and positioning of the moon and other planets. Some experts agree that this system is an origin of today’s organic farming. We have prepared a tasting report and a guide on biodynamic wines - head on to our News and Offers blog to learn more.

You have mentioned sulphite free wines. What’s important here?

Sulphites (sulfites) or ‘preservatives 220’ are additives that are used during winemaking process as preservatives against unwanted bacteria, but also to hide some faults, prevent oxygen from entering the vats and, as a safety net, protect the winemaker from accidental flaws. It became quite a common practice, yet some decide to minimise the amount of sulphites they add or, as with natural wines, restrain from adding sulphites.

Some are not, but still some minor level of sulphites occurs naturally in the bottle even though the levels are very low – should be maintained below 10 ppm (parts per million). Wine made with grapes grown organically normally calls for sulphites no higher than 100 ppm, so if you see ‘organic’ sign on the label it doesn’t mean that there are no sulphites, just the fact that the levels are lower. The wine will be labeled as ‘no added sulphites’ if there are none, or less than 10 ppm.

Please refer to our short memo on differences between organic, vegan, natural and strictly no added sulphites wines if you want to learn more. 

What’s wrong about sulphites?

They are quite aggressive preservatives that can give that ‘morning after’ headache, allergic reaction or in some cases more severe symptoms like fast heartbeat, dizziness, stomach upset. It can be even life-threatening for people with asthma. Most organic wines contain lower levels of sulphites, so if there are levels indicated on the label just check that it is less than 50 mg / litre for a red and less than 75 mg / litre for a white wine.

Why do some of sulphite-free wines do have 'contains sulphites' on the label?

All wines contain some amounts of naturally occurring sulphites, but in the no sulfites added wines these levels are very low - up to 20 mg/l. By law only the wines that contain less than 10 mg/l do not need include that information on the label. We have referenced all our organic wines and the ones that are listed as sulphite-free or no sulphite added have less than 20 mg/l of sulphites. People who suffer from intolerances (wine allergy, sulphite intolerance etc) start noticing the symptoms when concentration exceeds 45 mg/l only. 

Let’s move to the important factor of taste. Do organic wines taste worse?

Blind tests did not show any evidence to support or reject this. There is such a misconception that organic wines taste worse, because sometimes they can display some off-flavours or faults that normally would have been eliminated by sulphites.

Organic wines will not be much different from their conventional analogues, whereas natural wines could appear more cloudy, more rustic and tasting quite unusual – it all depends what you are in the mood for! If you explore these organic wines or even sulphite free wines that we've carefully selected for you, you are hopefully to discover many more interesting flavours

What are the benefits of drinking organic?

Common sense tells us that if organic wine contains less toxins (nasty man-made like pesticide residues and more), then it is better for you.

To go beyond your own health, you are also contributing to a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable environment.

We all know that red wine contains resveratrol, which is an antioxidant that protects against cancer, heart disease, is anti-ageing and may even extend your lifespan. You can imagine that pesticides can significantly decrease the potency of any antioxidant. In fact, the French government in 2012 officially released a statement that there is a link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease in agricultural workers.

In addition to that research from the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Southampton, University of Rome’s Clinical Nutrition, University of California at Davis and University of Newcastle showed that organic wines are richer in nutrients and antioxidants. Natural and sulphite free wines have generally lighter effect and better consumed by your liver.

There is an ongoing debate on wine, its benefits and harm, whether organic wines are better or not. Regardless of that, many people make a conscious decision to buy organic products not just to better nourish themselves, but also because they are being environmentally responsible. The choice is yours! Please note that you should be drinking responsibly, be it an organic wine or not, check drinkaware.co.uk for more facts and help.

Do organic wines cost more and why?

Even though in theory organic wines are not more costly to produce than their non-organic versions, the fact that something can happen in the vineyard that cannot be remedied by using additives and preservatives, winemakers bear a greater risk of simply producing no acceptable wine that particular season. That is why organic wines can cost slightly more. Our wines are currently placed in mid-priced to premium segments - between £8.5 and £40. Buying cases of wine online is another way to save a bit more  - explore our member benefits to save up to 25% RRP.

How do I know the wine is organic?


organic EU logoThere is an extensive array of certification bodies - they exist in different EU countries, North America and beyond. EU’s approved organic logo is green with a white leaf and stars around it. Producers are required to conduct a conversion process of 3 years and then follow a rigorous process of adhering to organic rules and regulations. Certified producers can then display that logo on their wine bottles.

In the United Kingdom Soil Association regulates how the country complies with EU legislation, whereas Organic Food Federation looks after a production. In principle, each country has their own rules (generally speaking quite similar, but procedures could be a bit different), so it is interchangeable within EU and can bear a uniform organic logo.


French organic logoSome producers follow the process but decide not to bother themselves with bureaucracy and paperwork, some decide that it is a bit costly for them as certification bodies also charge producers a fee to display a logo per bottle. That is why it can happen that the producer is organic but either is in the process of conversion or not certified by a regulator body.

Organic Wine Club - how do you select organic wines?

We personally taste every organic wine we then decide whether to sell it or not. Our wine experts with Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma assess appearance, aromas and flavours of organic wines based on their viticultural and winemaking details and make a decision.

It is important to answer whether the wine is exciting. We’d rather have a soft drink than a glass of a disappointing wine.

Wine is also assessed based on its food matches and how well it suits to different occasions.

Organic Wine Club is all about drinking less but better wines, so we also have a close look on the alcohol strength and generally do not sell still wines over 15.5% abv.

Even thought we take the greatest care to select the best organic wines, we cannot possibly rely just on our palate. We have plenty of experienced wine drinker and wine lovers as our customers so we have a permanent tasting display in-store to offer free wine tastings and collect feedback. Would you like to come over and have a chat with us about organic wine (or several)? Please do! We would be delighted to meet in person.

If you want to have this information saved and potentially shared / printed / whatever you want to do with it, we've prepared a handy downloadable pdf file, which you can download here: Organic Wine Club: What are organic wines?

Posted in about organic, sulphite-free