Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why we became organic wine importers


Why did we decide to import and sell organic wines as early as 1983?

We realized what effects industrial agriculture had on the quality of its products even before we started studying the subject of wine. After numerous scandals in the food and wine industry, its disadvantages are more apparent today than they ever were before. Since we grew up in the country, where artificial fertilizers and chemicals were unknown, and later worked in the restaurant business, where we learned to appreciate good food and good wine, our decision to search for and provide only “honest, clean, pure wines” was a logical consequence of this.

In order to discover these “New Wines,” we had to leave the “roads most travelled by” in those famous wine estates which were known everywhere and above all we had to avoid mass-produced wines. During our trips to the countries in Europe which produce wine, which began in 1982, we found and are still finding wine-growers and wineries who produce wine the way we think it should be done and as a result of this:

Do not use any herbicides, chemical synthetic sprays and artificial fertilizers, since these not only help to destroy the sensitive biotope of the “monoculture of the vineyard,” they pollute the ground water and the wine as well with pesticide residues.

Strive for lower yields than those permitted by law, since the fewer the grapes that grow on a vine, the higher the content of vitamins, sugar, minerals and trace elements, which together create the fruit and the taste of a wine.

Do not carry out must concentration by vacuum vaporization, reverse osmosis or cryogenic wine treatment.

Do not pretend that the wine has matured in oak barrels by mixing oak chips in with the wine.

Harvest and select the grapes manually when they are completely ripe.

Do not use any chemicals and enzymes (to maintain or intensify the color, to increase the amount of the juice or to process rotten grapes), any chemical fining methods or artificial preservatives in their wine cellars.

Our wines are unique natural products, which reflect the “terroir” (soil, varietal, climate) perfectly.

Unlike other wine merchants, we offer our customers only those wines which were bottled at the original wine estate, since this means that we obtain the best wines from the wine-growers and the origins of each wine can be traced back to the winery which produced it.

Erich Hartl

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Chianti Colli Senesi from Torre alle Tolfe

Dear Friends of Organic Wines,

Organic wines are improving constantly, and so is their evaluation by wine experts, but they are not more expensive than other wines.

This applies as well to our Chianti Colli Senesi from Torre alle Tolfe, which was tested by the VINUM wine journal, and which you can purchase from us for Euro 9.50.

It received 16.5 points, which was the highest score of all and the first place among all the 180 Tuscan wines which were tested. This wine-tasting was organized by the Consortio del Chianti DOCG.

“A complex bouquet, spices, herbs, mineral components; tight, tart, fresh, expresses the entire typicity and spirit of the Sangiovese.”

Best regards from Tuebingen,
Erich Hartl

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What is kosher organic wine?

Dear Friends of Organic and kosher Wines,

the word “kosher” means proper or fit. The use of kosher wines is stipulated in Judaism for sacramental purposes, and for certain ceremonies a predetermined amount of kosher wine is drunk. Devout Jews however not only drink kosher wines, they also eat kosher food. The Jewish laws for the production of kosher products guarantee the hygiene and purity of the products which are produced exactly according to the rules of the Torah.

Kosher wine may only be produced by persons who keep the Sabbath. A rabbi checks all the working utensils (pumps, barrels, filters, hoses etc) to make sure they are in a perfectly hygienic condition and that they are sterile. They have to be accepted as “kosher.” Foreign substances or substances having animal origins may not be used.

It is not until the criteria stipulated have been fulfilled and confirmed by the rabbi in charge that the wine is given a seal by the rabbinate, which is on every bottle of kosher wine on the cork, on the capsule and on the label.

Since organic or ecological grapes contain no artificial fertilizers and chemicals and thus are free from chemical residue, they are suited perfectly for the production of “kosher” or pure wines. Organic wines are certified by independent testing organizations.

Many people who are especially sensitive (allergies, asthma, stomach) have told us repeatedly that they can’t drink “normal wines” any more, but they have no problems with “kosher wines” or organic wines.

Your good health!
Erich Hartl

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Organic Wine at the Slow Food Convivium in Tübingen

On October 6, we gathered together for a an evening of cooking and eating whose motto was “Southern Comfort”: Cajun – Creole – cooking. This was an ethnic motto, which took us on a culinary journey through New Orleans and Lousiana:

Crawfish remoulade (Creole) with fried green tomatoes (Cajun)
Petit Reserve Blanc, Vin de l’Herault, Marsanne 2006
Domaine de Clairac, organic wine from Weinhaus Hartl

Seafood crepes (Creole)
Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, rosé, 2006
Domaine du Vieux Chenes, organic wine from Weinhaus Hartl

Shrimp, okra and Andouille smoked sausage gumbo (Cajun)
Touraine AOC, Sauvignon Blanc, 2006
Clos Roche Blanche, organic wine from Weinhaus Hartl

Roasted quail stuffed with crawfish, cornbread dressing (Cajun)
Zweigelt Ried Richtern, 2005
Weingut Geyerhof, organic wine from Weinhaus Hartl

Bread pudding with Bourbon sauce (Cajun)

Dr. Hardin was in charge of the organization, provided the recipes and got all the ingredients, as many as them as possible were grown organically. I chose the appropriate organic wines from our assortment and brought them along. Thus we all had a clear conscience as we started to cook and enjoy. In memory of my short stay in New Orleans, I prepared the main course, roasted quail.

Anyone who is interested in these recipes and would like to try cooking the entire meal and to order the wines which go with it can get in touch with me.

“Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh!” (Jambalaya – On the Bayou)

Erich Hartl

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Organic wine is “naturally” better!

A few months ago, a couple came into our store just to look around, and then bought a couple of bottles of wine.

Noticing a German wine which showed clearly the “Bioland” (German organic farmers association) logo, they made some rather disparaging comments about organic wine and other subjects pertaining to healthy nutrition, quality, protection of the environment etc. We had stopped reacting to such antiquated ideas a long time ago, since our experience had been that it was no use getting into a discussion with people who are so adamant in their opinions.

In spite of all their reservations, they left our store with several bottles of organic wine, and since then they have returned many times, saying that they have never had such clean, pure and easily digestible wines.

The conclusion: organic wine is naturally better!

Erich Hartl

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Our organic wine in London

It’s a small world. You can now purchase our organic wines in London at Minkie’s Deli, 3 Unicorn House, Chamberlayne Road, NW10 5 RS London.

Erich Hartl

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A wine merchant's Christmas dinner

Oysters from Brittany and duck out of the jail

Although we are very fond of culinary delights, as wine merchants we never manage to prepare a lavish Christmas meals. This of course does not mean that we are willing to forego the joy that a good meal can bring. Due to lack of time we thus place more emphasis on the best ingredients possible rather than on complicated dishes.

As a starter, we had fresh oysters (Creuses from Brittany, which our daughter had brought with her just before Christmas.) Some of you may say “yuk,” how can you eat something like that. We enjoy them just as they are, without any lemon or spices. By doing this, you get the creamy, nutty flavor, a bit of iodine and salty water from the sea, especially when eaten along with a piece of dark organic bread with butter. The fresh, dry Muscadet de Sevre et Maine, produced by Guy Bossard, a Demeter wine-grower close to Nantes, paired very well with them, without overpowering the delicate flavor of the oysters.

The next course was breast of duck from ducks raised on the estates of the Rottenburg prison (a Bioland operation) who are able to move freely there. My wife and I share the jobs which have to be done. She does the shopping and I do the cooking. I took the ducks apart two days beforehand, I used the legs to make a confit de canard (for later), and I used the carcasses to make a duck fond. I left the breasts to rest until Christmas. I then browned them on both sides, seasoned them and put them into the oven to roast for 10 minutes at a low temperature, after which they were still pink. I served them with gnocchi and pesto. With this dish, we decided to drink a Cannonau die Sardegna from Meloni Vini, which is of course quite powerful, but smooth as well, and we thought it was ideally suited to this course.

Since we are not used to eating so much, we decided to do without dessert and concluded our Christmas dinner with an espresso made from our Ethiopian Bonga Forest coffee.

Erich Hartl

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Organic wine from Spain!

Organic wine from Spain!

Good News: the new Mundo de Yuntero tinto has arrived!

As good as it ever was – a typical young red wine made from the Tempranillo grape, fruity, wonderful cherry aromas, full-bodied, soft and harmonious.

And even better, it is as reasonably priced as ever.

Erich Hartl

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Wine sinks blood sugar levels

(from the German magazine “Spiegel”, No. 48, Nov. 26, 2007, page 151)

“According to a team of Israeli researchers led by Iris Shai at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva, one glass of wine per day is apparently healthy for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes. The scientists had about one hundred diabetics between the ages of 41 and 74 years, who had been teetotallers up to that time, drink either 1.5 deciliters of wine or non-alcoholic beer each day for three months. The wine drinkers' blood sugar level on an empty stomach decreased during this time by an average of one sixth, and the control group’s blood sugar level remained unchanged. One of the pleasant side-effects of the alcohol cure was that the test subjects said that they found it easier to get to sleep than they had before.”

If you drink wine for medicinal purposes, it should be healthy wine grown organically instead of wine produced using conventional methods.

Erich Hartl

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Diploma di Gran Menzione

Chianti Colli Senesi, Torre alle Tolfe

After several awards this wine has won in 2007, we are very pleased to inform you, that again
this wine was awarded with the

Diploma di Gran Menzione

at the Verona wine fair in April 2008

Erich Hartl

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