Monday, February 5, 2018

Bonterra Organic Vineyards A Sustainable Success

Bonterra vineyards have been farmed organically since 1987, long before organic products were widely available. Does care in the field translate to quality in the bottle? Read on.

Organic Wines, And Then Some

The growing of organic grapes is booming. Perceived by the public as being of higher quality, they are often in high demand.

Bonterra is the number one producer of organically farmed wine. Practices include using such “partners” as bees, chickens and goats to promote native plant growth, reduce pests, fertilize and reduce weeds.

Bonterra has a wide offering of organic wines plus a trio of wines from their biodynamic ranches. Biodynamic farming is a holistic view of agriculture with high awareness of the inter-connectivity between earth, plants, animals, humans, the moon and planets.

Taking A Sip, Naturally!

We’re big boosters of sustainability and environmental awareness. Since winemaking is an agricultural undertaking, it just makes sense to show care in the use of land and resources. For this reason, we’d have to tip our cap to Bonterra even if we never opened one of their bottles.

Thankfully, that scenario didn’t play out! As part of the Wine Studio education program, we had an opportunity to sample two Bonterra offerings: the 2015 Bonterra Merlot and the 2015 The Roost Blue Heron Vineyard Chardonnay. The Merlot carries a California appellation and The Roost hails from Mendocino County.

The Merlot has a full, round flavor of black cherries with oak and vanilla. It has small amounts of Petite Sirah and Malbec – always welcome additions – to give the bottle a bit of complexity.

Aging is in a combination of French and American oak, about 45% being new. The overall effect is soft tannins and a laid back elegance.This is a $16 buy that will please the crowd.

The Roost is a different sort of bird. The Blue Heron Ranch is farmed biodynamically. That takes the organic practices and adds on some metaphysical elements. The viewpoint is that all parts of the universe, including the vineyard, are connected as an ecosystem.

After those heavy thoughts, we were ready for some wine! Green Dragon had prepared stuffed chicken breasts served with butternut squash and spinach faro and steamed broccoli.
Only 200 cases (actually 400 half cases) of The Roost were produced. It sells for $40 and compares favorably to a high quality Sonoma Chardonnay.

The Blue Heron Ranch is cradled between the shore of the Upper Russian River and a Blue Heron nesting site. This is the coolest part of the area thanks to the river and a nightly coastal fog. Prime Chardonnay conditions!

In the glass it is an appealing light gold. Swirling in the glass releases aromas of citrus. Green Dragon doesn’t care for overly oaked Chardonnay and the Bonterra gained her seal of approval. While the wine was aged for 18 months in French oak, only 30% was new. The oak is there in balance with threads of lemon meringue and melon.

The Roost is an elegant Chardonnay. The care in the vineyard is evident in the glass.

Looking to couple your support for Mother Earth with a bottle of wine? Or maybe just looking for a tasty selection for dinner? Bonterra offers some excellent options.

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