Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wine Blogging Wednesday #29

The theme this month for Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Fork and Bottle, is "Biodynamic" wines. The details on Wine Blogging Wednesday are at Lenn's site, Lenndevours.

At first I wandered around the wine shop looking for a wine to take home tonight to review but most wines do not herald their biodynamic (or organic) status as it is in most areas not a market-moving theme. I do not live in Vermont or Northern California. The web-sites might proclaim their status as a biodynamic or organic producer (whether it is certified or just best practices), but the front label rarely proclaims this status.

Later in the day I was browsing some old posts on my blog when I linked to the Cullen Wines site where their header reads "quality, integrity and sustainability". Bingo, I had my wine for the night. I have the Cullen Wines "Red" and "Mangan River" in stock as I had purchased several cases back in late 2004.

"Cullen follows the maxim that states that great wines are made in the vineyard. Thus, prior to planting, extreme care is taken in choosing the best possible site.

The soils at Cullen are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateritic subsoils. The vines are dry farmed, helping to ensure maximum fruit quality, and are both pruned and harvested by hand. Low yields enable the flavours of the grapes to develop fully. The Cullen family philosophy is to put quality before quantity. Quality starts in the vineyard where the vines are dry farmed. Cullen Estate Vineyard has "A" Grade Biodynamic Certification with the Biological Farmers Association."

2003 Cullen, Ellen Bussell Red ($20) -- Margaret River, Australia. The wine is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (50/41/9) which is aged in used oak barrels for 16 months. Most of the fruit came from the Ellens Ridge vineyard, planted in 1996. As this wine is in the drink-now category, the closure is Stelvin. An aromatic nose, is followed by bright, elegant fruit and a medium finish, but is not overly complex. It is approachable with subdued tannins.

"To take this even further Cullen Wines are harvesting as much as possible using Maria Thun theory Basics. She suggests that the moon in a constellation has a favourable influence on the elemental relationship of fire which makes it better for harvest giving greater intensity and preservation of fruit flavour.The wines are mostly making themselves with little or no intervention. This means indigenous yeast, no additions of any kind, minimal oak use and fining.We would like to think that in both the vineyard and winery we are working with nature rather than trying to control it. This gives us the lands best and purest potential of expression being put into the bottle."

A complete description of their biodynamic practices is detailed here. I agree with the overall concepts of organic and biodynamic practices as it makes sense that what you put in the vineyards, like nasty chemicals, will eventually come out in the fruit and the wine. However, I am not so sure about the female cow horn and the moon in opposition to Saturn thing. I can say that the wines are very good and most likely will continue to be very good as they continue to take loving care of their land.


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