5 Great Bottles: Eco-friendly drinking with organic wines

Everything seems to be going green these days--reds and whites included. David Anderson, vice president of France 44, recommends five great wines made from organically or sustainably grown grapes.

"The whole category is part of the green revolution," Anderson says. "A lot of people are rightly concerned about the quality of the wine and the food they consume."

Organic certification, Anderson explains, is an extensive and expensive process that deters most wineries from seeking certification. That said, certification comes in two categories: wine made from organic grapes and 100 percent organic. Both certify completely organic ingredients, but the latter also stipulates organic wine production.

Organically grown grapes are spared pesticides, fungicides and other chemical fertilizers. "It's good for the soil and good for the environment," Anderson says.

By the way, it's good for the wine too. Wines made from organic grapes are reputed to have greater flavor, distinct regional character and, at times, cost-savings.

1. Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bouzeron Aligoté Doré, 2006. (Retail $29.99)
An organically grown white wine hailing from Burgundy, France, that Anderson says he picked for its uniqueness and popularity. Similar to a Chardonnay, the Aligoté Doré grape is the only other white grape permitted to grow in Burgundy.

2. Atrea Old Soul Red, 2004 (Retail $26.99)
This organically grown red wine is a blend of zinfandel, syrah, and petite syrah from Mendocino, California. Anderson says he recommends the Old Soul Red because Saracina Vineyard owner, John Fetzer of the Fetzer family, knows wine.

3. Lageder Pinot Grigio "Benefizium Porer", 2007 (Retail $27.99)

4. Natura Carmenere (Retail $11.99)
This Chilean red is organically grown and certified. Anderson says the Carmenere resembles Merlot but with a fuller body, which is a product of longer growing season.

5. Shenandoah Vineyards Zinfandel, 2007 (Retail $13.99)
An all-American organically grown and certified red wine from Amador County in the foothills of California that Anderson says is an example of Zinfandel done right.

The organic, sustainable push is a result of the wine industry attempting to reduce its footprint, Anderson says. "It's taken off like a rocket in the last five years - even more so in the last two or three."

Do yourself and the world a favor. Sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine au natural.

France 44 is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is located at 4351 France Avenue S. and can be reached by phone at 612.925.3252.

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