Beyond Biodynamics: 6 Sustainable Wine Brands To Try
1/6 Vérité La Muse 2013
Who said sustainability has to feel austere? This merlot-dominant Bordeaux blend from Jackson Family Wines of California’s Sonoma County was created to rival Pomerol’s Pétrus. With its luscious red cherry and undergrowth aromas (and the knowledge that it comes from a low water-usage, largely solar-powered winery), it will make you feel simultaneously indulged and deeply virtuous.
2/6 Marco Cirillos 1850 Ancestor Vine Grenache 2016
Though known for shiraz, the Barossa Valley’s increasing focus on less thirsty grenache is an encouraging sign. This ethereal, silky, tart cherry- and raspberry-fruited Australian gem is grown in a vineyard so dry and sandy you want to run through it barefoot in a bikini.
3/6 Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017
There are few by‑the‑glass options more popular than the grassy, tangy sauvignon blancs of New Zealand’s Marlborough region, and this one packs serious sustainability cred. Yealands has used scale to support emissions-driven initiatives like burning vine prunings for electricity and developing wetlands around their vineyards to support biodiversity. Their cutest undertaking? Grass‑mowing babydoll sheep.
4/6 Grace Winery Cabernet Franc 2015
Growing grapes in the humid, stormy environment of Yamanashi, Japan, has its challenges. This long-established family producer worked with renowned viticulturalist Richard Smart to develop the Smart Japan system of vine cultivation to help it farm more sustainably. This franc’s aromas of smoke, sagebrush, bright red cherry and cigar with a lucent medicinal brightness suggest it has paid off.
5/6 Familia Torres Grans Muralles 2011
This Conca de Barberàblend incorporates native Spanish grapes long believed extinct, garróand querol (adding density and chewiness), with better-known natives garnacha, cariñena and monastrell. Torres is one of Europe’s largest vineyard owners, meaning its initiatives around sustainable energy, water use and transport have major impact. For example, it pioneered higher altitude vineyards and ancestral vines for climate change mitigation.
6/6 Taittinger Brut Réserve NV
One of the few fully family-owned champagne houses as of 2006, Taittinger has taken the long view by not only reducing the weight of its bottles to the recommended 835g but also by using 94 per cent recycled glass (versus 80 per cent for the region). Even Comtes de Champagne Rosé, very much a prestige bottling, is only marginally heavier. The wine style itself is future-ready, with a high proportion of pure, cleansing chardonnay lending it longevity (yes, Brut NV can age!).
For more of Master of Wine Sarah Heller’s recommendations, follow @sarahhellermw on Instagram.