Biodynamics is an agricultural philosophy most often described as “Organics plus.” Though it’s not untrue- biodynamics does include organic farming in its sphere- this catchphrase really fails to capture the essence of biodynamics. We are currently offering a Biodynamics wine flight to help convey the value of Biodynamics.
So, what is Biodynamic? Essentially, it is a holistic method of farming that sees the farm as a cohesive, interconnected, living system. All of the elements of the farm are important, from the soil and water to the air and animals, all of which are constantly exchanging energy. The goal of Biodynamics is to support these transfers of energy to create a strong, dynamic, self-sustaining system.
This approach has been very successful when applied to winemaking. Throughout the first phase, grape-growing, vines are never treated with chemicals or pesticides, many crops and flowers are planted between vines to restore nutrition to the soil, and carefully-prepared fertilizers are applied in sync with the movement of solar system. Almost all grapes are picked by hand. During winemaking, minimal “manipulations” are allowed. This diverges from conventional winemaking, in which sugar, SO2, yeast, and preservatives are often added to create proper levels.
The results of these processes is wine that regularly outperforms its conventional counterparts. Biodynamic wine is simply much better at conveying the subtleties of location and vintage. I encourage you to come in and experience the Biodynamic wine flight and see if you agree. We have carefully selected four wines that express a wide range of styles and locations, all considered to be produced Biodynamically.
The flight’s white, Cowhorn Spiral 36, comes from Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon. Cowhorn has been producing Biodynamic wine for a decade and now produce 1500 cases of wines per year. In soil testing, the owners Barbara and Bill Steele found a strong similarity between their soil and that of the Rhone region in France, and so they decided to pursue Rhone-style wines. The Spiral 36 is a blend of 40% viognier, 30% marsanne, and 30% rousanne.
For the first red, we present you with Cooper Mountain’s 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir. The winery is located in Beaverton, a mere 10 miles from our restaurant, and has been practicing Biodynamics for nearly 20 years. Whatever expectations you may have about Oregon Pinots, release them. You have never tasted a Pinot like this. Unusually dark with a hint of mushroom and spice, this wine reminds me of a typical day in Oregon.
Next, we hop over to Italy with Agricola Querciabella’s 2009 Mongrana. This Supertuscan is from the Chianti region and is comprised of 50% sangiovese, 25% merlot and 25% cabernet sauvignon. This winery differs in its approach to “official” Biodynamics- they call their approach “stock-free biodynamics,” prohibiting the use of animal-derived products such as the fertilizers proscribed by the Demeter-certified Biodynamic brand.
Our flight concludes with a new favorite of mine, Numanthia 2009 Termes. The vineyards from this region of Spain, called Toro, have successfully resisted phylloxera for hundreds of years. As such, here you can find some of the oldest grape vines in Europe. The region is also incredibly dry, more suitable for growing garbanzo beans. The topsoil is sandy and arid, protecting rich, moist clay below. Because no irrigation is used, the vines must lodge themselves deep into the clay- sometimes up to 16 feet- to extract moisture and nutrients.