In the latest podcast installment here on 1WineDude.com, I interview Alan York, an international consultant on Biodynamic viticulture and farming, who I met last year when visiting Benziger (one of Alan’s clients).
Alan is probably best known as the consultant who is overseeing the Biodynamics conversion of mega rock star Sting’s vineyard area in Tuscany.
Despite being fully immersed into the world of Biodynamics, Alan has a pretty laid-back, live-and-let-live approach to BioD farming in general. Except when it comes to talking about all-out attacks on BioD, particularly winemaker Stu Smith’s blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax.
Alan talks to me about his work with Sting, his views on the differences between Organically- and Biodynamically-farmed wines, how to explain Biodynamics to the layperson, and explains why he’s flummoxed that Biodynamics would come under attack in the first place (though he certainly acknowledges its inherent strangeness).
It should be another fun opportunity to discuss an always hot-button, powder-keg topic on the virtual pages of 1WD.
Next week… I interview Stu Smith himself to get the opposing viewpoint. Stay tuned…
1WineDude Radio: International Consultant Alan York Talks Biodynamics
Like most of you wine lovers out there, I’ve got an odd relationship with Biodynamic viticulture. What I mean is, I know what I think about Biodynamics – and that is, I’ve got no idea what to think about it.
On the one hand, I’ve tasted vibrant, stellar wines from grapes that were farmed Biodynamically. On the other, I personally have trouble believing anything from a guy who once said that the race of people from the lost city of Atlantis could fly using the power of burned seeds. That guy, of course, is Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher who invented the concept of Biodynamic farming. And, yes, he actually did say the thing about the Atlantean seed-powered hovercrafts.
So, I’ve decided to devote the next two Tuesday articles on 1WineDude.com to the topic – specifically, interviewing (as part of my 1WineDude Radio podcast series) two of the leading U.S. figures when it comes to BioD, both of whom are widely respected but sit on complete opposite sides of the BioD fence:
I’ll follow up with a wrap-up of impressions from YOU, the 1WD readers (with a few of my own sprinkled in). Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on BioD, BiodynamicsIsAHoax.com, Rudolph Steiner (or the Pittsburgh Steelers, or whatever)!
Hang onto your farming hats, it’s gonna be an interesting (and probably rather bumpy) ride…!
The words “Vinho Verde” conjure up a particular image in the minds of wine lovers: usually that of a tall green bottle of spritzy, refreshing and (usually very) inexpensive Portuguese white wine that rarely speaks to the soul but sure as hell speaks to a parched throat on a hot Summer’s day. It’s the kind of wine you buy by the case (and with some very good examples to be found well under $10 a bottle, you can afford it), toss into a cooler, and lug out for hot, sunny day picnics.
In essence, Vinho Verde can have a soft spot in the hearts of wine geeks (this one included), specifically because they’re wines for imbibing and not wines for contemplating.
Just across the border from Portugal’s Vinho Verde region – in Spain – however, you will find whites made from the same varieties (Verdehlo, Loureiro, etc.), made in similar climates, but that cost several times the price as a typical Vinho Verde. The message? The Spanish versions of wines from those grapes are just more… graves than their Portuguese counterparts.
It’s a situation that’s often left wine geeks like me wondering why the Portuguese don’t get a bit more serious themselves when it comes to Vinho Verde. Nothing against simple Vinho Verde of course (in fact I’d personally be pretty pissed off if those inexpensive quaffers dropped out of the marketplace), but why not add a few bottlings that take Alvarinho or Lourerio to a more thought-provoking level?
Why not get all graves on us?
Turns out that finding serious Vinho Verde is not a question of Portuguese desire or capability, but of production and distribution.
Because Vinho Verde is, in fact, trying to raise the profile of their wines to heights lofty enough to match the vines that grow up (and up, and up) the high trellises that dot the area (actually, the vines can be found growing up just about anything in Vinho Verde, the better to protect them from mold and mildew in the wet weather). And it’s not just still whites that are in their crosshairs – they’re also targeting reds and sparklers (of both color persuasions) – and if the wines of Afros are any indication, they’re on to something…
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