Earth Day Wine Selections

Earth Day is April 22 and it's time to start thinking of ways to celebrate.  What better way to enjoy the sustainable fruits of our Earth than with wine?  I have four wines for you, each from a distinct place which represent a deep commitment to environmental stewardship and community care, the essence of Earth Day!

- Protea Chenin Blanc ($14.99). I hate to start with my favorite but here goes.  This wine is amazing as both an easy drinker and possessing some mid-weightiness.  It has some acidity, making it great for food pairing, but the flavors are lush with honey and tropical melons.  Even cooler, the grapes are grown without training on "bush vines", sprawling about Franschhoek Valley all natural-like and growing some amazing fruit.  To take it one step further, the packaging is made to be upcycled and you'll be sure to argue not only who over who gets to keep the bottle but what to do with it later!

- Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay ($21.99).  Made entirely of estate fruit on the Chilean Coastal Range just 15 miles from the Pacific, bathed in sunshine and buffeted by cool ocean breezes.  Certified organic and biodynamic farming capture all the site has to offer.  A fabulous example of what the varietal can do when made in a classic style with preserved natural acidity and light oak.

- Loveblock Pinot Noir ($35.99).  The fruit is grown in the furthest southern reaches of the world of wine on the Someone's Darling Vineyard, which is accredited through New Zealand Winegrowers' Sustainable Winegrowing program (SWNZ).  Five clones of Pinot Noir are combined to make lovable, smokey and floral aromatics along with ripe berry and herbal notes.

- Tangley Oaks Merlot ($14.99).  This winery has a partnership with Lamanda Joy (Master Gardener) and is on a mission to preserve and strengthen communities across the US through community gardening.  That, along with the fact this wine is a great bargain from Napa Valley, makes it an Earth Day no-brainer.

Night Harvest

Night HarvestThis is a photo of a harvest worker in Chile, gathering grapes by spotlight under a midnight sky.  I recently received it from a friend of mine who works with Casa Lapostolle in Chile. 

The winery experimented with this practice for the first time last season with their Sauvignon Blanc at the Las Kuras vineyard in Cachapoal.  The experience was such a success, they decided to perform night harvesting in 2009 at all of their three estates!  This made quite a difference as the workers were cool and relaxed while experiencing quiet, soothing moonlit nights.  They also felt more in tune with nature, and able to enjoy work more.  The harvest started on February 25th, and ended on April 25th with the harvesting of Carmenere from Apalta.

The experience yielded not only a great work environment, but also a superior product.  When the grapes are able to cool down from the daytime sun, they can be picked at an optimum temperature.  They will not be sitting under a hot sun, heated up further from interacting with other hot grapes and hot air in gathering bins.  This would oxidize the grapes and release complex compounds, robbing them of alot of the aromas and flavors they can give the wine.  Only time will tell if the winemakers can take the juice and make a great '09 vintage, but they have an excellent start.  We will look forward to further updates from Casa Lapostolle in Chile.