But that’s not to say every bottle of fancy-looking pet nat or pesticide-free wine tastes the same. Avid wine drinkers know that it’s not always easy to find a natural or organic wine their palate appreciates.
This has certainly been my experience. I care a lot about the industry’s impact on the environment, but I also care about spending $40 on a bottle of wine I don’t really like. One bad pick can have me running back to that familiar industrially farmed, chemically fertilised wine I know I like the taste of.
I’m committed to the path of natural and organic enlightenment though, which is why I said yes when an invitation to attend Voyager Estate’s virtual wine tasting and sustainable winemaking discussion landed in my inbox.
(For a quick refresher, organic wine refers to wine made from organically farmed grapes without the use of artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. Natural wine is wine farmed organically or biodynamically, with no additives and little human intervention in the winemaking process. Both use farming practices that protect local ecosystems and maximise the health of soil and vineyard environments.)
OK, back to the wine. Before I go on, let me just say this – I’m far from a wine expert. When I try wine the central concern is “do I like this?” Not, “how are those wet stone top notes?” So my best summation of this tasting experience is simply that the wines were really good. Some of the nicest I’ve ever had, and the kind of organic blends I would happily recommend to first-time (or seasoned) drinkers. To that point…
The tasting gave me renewed confidence in the state of organic wine, so much so that I reached out to our team to find out what their favourites were too. If an amateur wine connoisseur (but enthusiastic drinker) like myself could be so bold, here are six organic wines that we think are worth ditching the pesticides over.
This wine is predominantly made from certified organic and sustainably farmed gingin (a clone of chardonnay). It’s bright, light and full of sweet citrus notes – but in a subtle way. I’m not usually one for white wine but this is a smooth drop with just the right amount of sweetness and toastiness. Pairs well with ceviche or fish and chips, and I can imagine it goes down even better when drunk in the vicinity of a beach.
Paxton in South Australia’s McLaren Vale is a leader in both organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. If you’ve ever wondered what our CEO reaches for at the end of a long day, this particular blend of shiraz, grenache and mataro is it. This is a vibrant and juicy wine, with the more intense fruit flavours from the shiraz balanced out by the spicy liveliness of the grenache. A great bottle to bring along to a BBQ and also nice served chilled.
This was Voyager Estate’s first certified organic release of SBS, a classic Margaret River blend (the estate harvested its first certified organic grapes in 2020 and, by 2023, the entire vineyard will be fully certified organic). A whiff of this wine brings out a lot of fruits: lime, passionfruit, guava and mandarin. The tropical flavours come out on the palate but without being overly sweet or overbearing. Recommended pairing is with something like a caprese salad, light seafood or vegetarian dishes.
If you’re wondering what our deputy CEO kicks back with after hours, the answer is anything from Latta Vino. The grapes that went into this particular grenache are all farmed certified organic in the Pyrenees, a wine-growing region in Victoria. The wine itself is very light (approaching rosé level), fresh and delicious with no added sulphur. An extra tick for us is that it’s also vegan. Throw a glass of this one down with roasted vegetables or, according to this article, a chocolate pavlova.
I’m not just giving Voyager Estate a shout-out because it sent me free wine (although, thank you). I’m mainly just excited to find so many organic wines in the one place that I like the taste of. As a regular red drinker, this was my favourite from the tasting. It’s medium bodied with lots of sweet, dark fruit flavours, but it is also still nice and soft. Recommended pairing is a selection of hard cheeses, steak and chips or a roast dinner.
What would a round-up of wines be without at least one sparkling? Tamburlaine in New South Wales’s Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s largest producers of organic wines, first established in 1966. Its blanc de blanc sparkling is a light and refreshing wine with a persistent fine bead (this refers to the trail of bubbles in your glass and is an indicator of quality). It’s also vegan with no added sulphur. As a general rule, pair a bottle of bubbles with a good time and whatever food is being carried around a room on a platter.