Wednesday, July 9, 2008



For its April 2008 issue, Weinwelt (Wine World) tested 395 organic wines.
Only 29 of these received 3 stars.

The Ribera del Duero DO, Roble from the Bodega Basconcillos, which we submitted for testing, was awarded 89 points and was judged to be a very good wine. It was described as follows:

"Extremely dense and juicy, with rumpot fruits, plums, a fine spicy roasted flavor, woody, but with fine tannins."

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




For its April 2008 issue, Weinwelt (Wine World) tested 395 organic wines.
Only 29 of these received 3 stars.

The Coteaux du Languedoc Gres de Montpellier 2005 "La Capitelle" from the Domaine de la Triballe, which we submitted for testing, was awarded 89 points and 3 stars and judged to be a very good wine. It was described as follows:

"Spicy, sensual, with a mineral backbone throughout (give it some air), demanding tannins, very strong!"

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



For its April 2008 issue, Weinwelt (Wine World) tested 395 organic wines.

The Clos de la Bergerie, Savennieres Roche aux Moines 2005, which we submitted for testing, was awarded 85 points and judged to be a very good wine.

It was described as follows:
"Somewhat irregular, must; forest soil, floral, sherry, but then with great mineral vigor..."

My comment to this description: It is not Nicolas Joly’s intention, to present that is comparable with any other wine.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



For its April 2008 issue, Weinwelt (Wine World) tested 395 organic wines.

The Clos de la Coulee de Serrant, which we submitted for testing, was judged to be an outstanding wine. Only one other white wines was judged as outstanding.

It was described as follows.

"The highlight from the forerunner of organic viticulture: Nicolas Joly's famous steep slopes have provided this incredibly firm, big fat scorcher, which with its mature, unconventionally earthy-spicy-walnutty heavy nature not everyone may enjoy."

My comments: While it is true that not everyone may enjoy this wine, it is a wine which expresses its origins, i.e. the varietal, the location and the naturalness of a great wine.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Environmental Study: Presented to the European Parliament on March 26, 2008, Part 3

"Probably carcinogenic"

Certain pesticides are suspected of causing cancer and being genetically harmful. There are however still large gaps in our knowledge on this subject. Testers did find substances in the ten German wines tested from Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse or Württemberg and in Austrian wines as well which are categorized as "possibly" or "probably" carcinogenic in the USA. However, in the European Union these categories have not existed up to now. In comparison, wines from France, Italy, Chile or South Africa were shown to contain pesticides which can cause cancer, even according to the standards of the European Union.

Since the substances found did not exceed the given limits, the consequences of this study are still being disputed in the European Parliament. Hiltrud Breyer, a member of the Green Party in parliament, said these were "alarming and shocking results." She called for stricter regulations in the current legal proceedings to ban especially dangerous pesticides. Christa Klaß, a member of the European Parliament for the Christian Democratic Union, issued a warning about drawing the wrong conclusions: "According to the present law, these wines are completely harmless," she stated. Should however these be a health risk, the European Union would have to consider stricter approval procedures.

The Pesticide Action Network did not want to go as far as to advise lovers of wine to give it up: "We don't want to tell anyone to stop drinking wine," PAN spokesperson Elliott Cannell said. However, he called on all wine-growers to decrease the use of pesticides considerably. According to information given by PAN, 20 per cent of all the pesticides used in Europe are sprayed on grapevines, although these only take up 3 per cent of the area used for agricultural purposes

Source: hda/AFP URL:,1518,543553,00.html

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Environmental Study Part 2

German Press Agency report on the environmental study presented to the European Parliament in Brussels on March 26, 2008.

Pesticides found in red wine: "Shocking" or "harmless", depending on the way you look at it.

A Spätburgunder from Baden actually contains residues of ten different types of pesticides: a real pesticide cocktail. However, the limits were not exceeded in any of the wines tested. Whereas the Green Party called for stricter laws, the government warned against causing a panic.

The study also showed that conventionally produced wines contained considerably more pesticides than organic wines did. Whereas five of the six organic wines tested contained no chemical residue, pesticide was found in all of the 34 conventionally produced wines, according to those who did the test.

The price was not a factor in these cases: pesticides were found in two bottles of highest-quality French wines which were priced at more than 200 euros. In an organic wine produced in Burgundy in France, which gave cause for complaint, the testers were able to trace the chemical residue back to the pollution of the fields located next to the vineyards

PAN, the organization who initiated the wine analysis, is a network consisting of more than 600 organizations worldwide who deal mainly with environmental protection. This study was supported by groups such as Greenpeace Germany.

Source: hda/AFP URL:,1518,543553,00.html

Erich Hartl

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Biowein Probierabonnement September 2008

Preisstufe 1 Probierpaket mit 4 Rotweinen zu € 35,75 abzüglich 10 % = € 32,18

Bordeaux, rot, 2006, Chateau Renaissance, € 8,50
Dieser schöne Bordeaux begeistert mit seinem fruchtigen Bouquet, das mit einem Hauch von Kirschkernen und Leder unterlegt ist. Im Mund ist er voll und mit zunehmender Reife weicher werdend. Seine gute Struktur und sein rundes Tannin gibt ihm einen festen, angenehmen Abgang.

Toro DO, rot, Vina Bajoz, 2005 € 9,55
Bio-Rotwein aus der authochtonen Rebsorte Tinta de Toro, mit tiefer, dunkler Farbe, ausgeprägt fruchtige Aromen, voller, kräftiger Körper, samtig weich und lang anhaltend.

Chianti Colli Fiorentino, rot, 2006, Tenuta San Vito € 8,80
Bio-Chianti aus der Nähe von Florenz von der Tenuta San Vito aus 100 % Sangiovesetrauben. Rubinrote brillante Farbe, frisches fruchtiges Bouquet, gefällig und harmonisch im Mund.

Touraine, Gamay, rot, 2006, € 8,90
Ein vorbildlicher Biowein aus Gamaytrauben mit großer Eigenständigkeit. Voll und fruchtig, zurückhaltend in der Säure, angenehm weich und rund im Mund. 17 von 20 möglichen Punkten vom Guide des Vins des Sommeliers.

Preisstufe 2 Probierpaket mit 1 Fl. Weisswein und 2 Fl. Rotwein zu € 49,55 abzüglich 10 % = € 44,60

Riesling Federspiel, Vom Stein“ 2005, Nikolaihof, € 18,50
duftender, feinblumiger, fruchtiger Riesling mit viel Rasse, feiner Weinsäure, elegante Rieslingnote, helle goldgelbe Farbe. Finessreiche Rieslingaromatik mit Steinobsttönen (Aprikosen, Pfirsich). Besonders fruchtintensiv mit viel Charme und Feinheit.

Côteaux d’Aix en Provence, rot, 2003, Domaine Les Béates, € 15,50
tiefe dunkelrote Farbe, Aromen von schwarzen Johannisbeeren, Brombeeren, gegrilltem roten Paprika, die sich im Mund wiederholen. Erfreulich offen und zugänglich aber kraftvoll.

Chianti Classico, rot, Buondonno, 2006, € 15,55
Eleganter Biowein mit Veilchen und Kräuterduft in der Nase, dezente Frucht mit komplexen Geschmacksnuancen, fein strukturiert mit mittlerem Körper.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Clos de la Coulée de Serrant – Nicolas Joly

The famous Clos de la Coulée de Serrant produces three white wines which are among the very best in France.

Coulée de Serrant AOC
Clos de la Bergerie, Savennieres-Roche-aux-Moines AOC
Les Vieux Clos, Savennieres AOC

A lot has been written about these, and they have even been mentioned on television. However anyone who has never visited Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, who has never seen the location of the vineyards, the vines and the soil, cannot compare these with conventionally farmed wine estates. It is located high above the Loire Valley, the best site with ancient vines on a steep slope, separated by natural barriers or walls (thus the name Clos) from anything which could have an adverse effect on the fruits of the biodynamic work being done there. The two other sites, Savennieres-Roche-aux-Moines and Savennieres, are right above this on a somewhat flatter terrain and are surrounded completely by walls. Everything seems very well kept, but natural and full of life, the soil is loose and well aired, the earth smells fresh, in some places it smells of mushrooms.

The wine estate itself can really be called a chateau. The wine cellar is simple but serves its purpose. There are no centrifuges, filters or any kind of cold storage. This makes it clear what Nicolas Joly stands for: wines which are as natural as they can possibly be. Asked by the President of the Association of German Top-Quality Wine-Growing Estates how he obtained the characteristics of his wine, his answer was that this is done in the vineyard and not in the cellar.

Anyone who talks to Nicolas Joly personally about biodynamic viticulture will sense the enthusiasm, the knowledge, the commitment which he brings to his work. Quite a few wine-growers have found his philosophy of wine contagious and have switched over to biodynamic viticulture. It was gratifying to see how Joly’s young daughter, Virginie Joly, has become familiar with viticulture and with the work in the cellar as well so that she will be able to continue managing this beautiful estate when she succeeds her father one day.

But I haven’t said anything about the wines, and I don’t want to do. What I can say is that they are different from all the other white wines in the world. And you have to have drunk several bottles in order to understand them. Perhaps you'd like to find out for yourself?

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cooking with our Tuebingen Nobel Prize Winner

Not a day goes by on television without several cooking shows. Under the guidance of professional cooks, you can see politicians, actors or athletes with a cooking spoon in their hands, and it seems that these shows have a big audience.

I do however wonder if we shouldn’t cook more often ourselves? Cook with our friends, or just ask them over for a meal – not in a restaurant, but at home. But since we don’t want to be embarrassed by our lack of culinary skills we usually don't do it.

If this applies to you, perhaps you would like to try the cookbook written by our Nobel Prize winner from Tuebingen, Christians Nuesslein-Volhard. She has been enjoying our organic wines for more than 20 years and is a wonderful cook and hostess. In her cookbook entitled “Mein Kochbuch – Einfaches für besondere Anlässe” (My Cookbook – Simple Dishes for Special Occasions) she has written down her favorite recipes, which are guaranteed to succeed and which your guests are sure to enjoy.

You can purchase “Mein Kochbuch” at a bookstore or in our store, signed by the author.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The New Organic Wines from Spain have arrived!

We have been interested in Spanish organic wines for a long time, and finally we have found some new ones which fit in well with our range of wine, and are a complement to them.

Mondo de Yuntero, La Mancha DO, (Tempranillo), more reasonably priced in our store than anywhere else.
Mondo de Yuntero, La Mancha DO, (Cencibel, white), more reasonably priced in our store than anywhere else.
(These are wonderfully fruity everyday wines at amazingly low prices.)

“Fidelium,”, Navarro DO, our most popular Spanish wine – this is no longer a secret!
“Idomeneo” Navarro DO, an amazingly good wine, which is really worth the money!

Rioja joven, Navardia, a wonderful wine, for lovers of young wine.
Rioja Crianza, Navardia, intense, complex, mature.

Toro DO, Vina Bajoz, red, full-bodied, a silky smooth seducer.

Ribera del Duero DO, red, Dominio Basconcillos, the 92 points it received from the Winespectator indicate the quality of this wine.
Did you know that the most expensive and the best Spanish wines come from this region?

These are from Bodega Tosos – they’re not new, but they are new vintages, they are all very good and have received several prizes.

Carinena DO, “Lagrima Virgen,” white
Carinena DO, “Cordis Natura,” red
Carinena DO, “Lagrima Virgen, “ red, semi-crianza, barrica
Carinena DO, “Lagrima Virgen,” red, crianza

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Wine and Olive Oil - Bright and Dark Moments

Whereas the Chianti Colli Senese from Torre alle Tolfe has been high praised in the media (FEINSCHMECKER and VINUM), and as a result of this we were hardly to keep up with packing all the bottles for shipment, the olive harvest this year was barely sufficient for the owner's private consumption.

The olive fruit fly (Dacus oleae) attacked the olive groves during the months of September and October and laid its eggs in the ripening olives, which were then ruined by the maggots.

Unfortunately, these things happen in agriculture, especially ecologically-run operations. The company lost about 40,000 euros, and we have to look around for an alternative.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Organic Wine - 2007 Vintage on the Loire

Time passes so quickly, and thus I would like to give you some information about the quality of the 2007 vintages from those regions which we have in our range of wines.

As in many other northern wine-growing regions, 2007 was a busy and difficult year due to the wet, unstable weather, which did however improve considerably in the autumn, resulting in a relatively successful harvest.

Vigilant wine-growers such as Nicolas Joly, Guy Bossard from the Domaine de l'Ecu and Didier Barroulliet from the Clos Roche Blanche, who are used to working without systemic fungicides, were able to harvest a small amount of undamaged grapes in spite of the weather.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Bordeaux Organic Vintage

Time passes by so quickly, and I would thus like to give you some information about the quality of the 2007 vintages from those regions which we have in our range of wines.

Because of a fantastic autumn, wine-growers were able to save a vintage which many of them had already written off after a rainy summer. Those of our organic wine-growers who increased the leaves’ resistance to downy mildew during the vegetation period, who gave good foliage treatment and didn’t begin with the harvest too early but were however strict in their selection of the grapes were rewarded with a relatively small harvest of good-quality wine.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Chips in Wine

Wine drinkers are happy to pay more for wines aged in barrels. They are correct in assuming that the wine-grower uses his high-quality wines to produce these. These are often made from older vines which only allow for small harvests anyway or the yield has been reduced by cutting and selection. In the ideal case, they have more vigor, extracts and taste and thus can stand ageing in barrels better than light, more simple wines.

The final price for these high-quality wines is higher due to the costs of a barrel (225 liter oak barrel), which can be up to 1,000 euros, and each barrel can only be used 1 to 4 times.

Thrifty wine-growers hit on the idea of putting oak chips into the storage tanks instead of aging the wine in barrels. Doing this does give the wine a woody aroma, but there is no aging in barrels and thus no exposure to oxygen. In addition to saving money for the barrels, this avoids having the wine evaporate in small barrels. (the evaporated wine is call the wine of the angels).

These procedures are not damaging to one’s health, but they do deceive wine drinkers if the label indicates aging in barrels or if the winery, the price, the origin or the character of a wine aged in barrels may lead the wine drinker to assume that this has actually been done.

There are some rumors about the next step, which would be to eliminate the oak chips and to use synthetic oak aromas.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Domaine de Marcoux Wines are Top Internationally!

Whenever organic wines are given top ratings by recognized wine connoisseurs year for year, this is not just coincidence.

A large part of the credit for the quality of these wines must be given to Sophie and Catherine Armeniers, two sisters who have been doing masterly and loving work in their vineyards and in the cellar for 10 years.

You will however not be able to understand how valuable the vines (some of which are 100 years old), obtaining the lowest yields possible and the gentle pressing of the grapes can be until you have enjoyed the Marcoux wines.

Chateauneuf du Pape, red, 2004
92-95 of 100 points from Robert Parker (outstanding)
92 of 100 points from the Wine Spectator

Chateauneuf du Pape, red, 2005
90-95 of 100 points from Robert Parker (outstanding)

Chateauneuf du Pape, red, Vieilles Vignes, 2004
93-95 points from Robert Parker (outstanding)
94 of 100 points from the Wine Spectator

Chateauneuf du Pape, white, 2006
90-95 of 100 points from Robert Parker (outstanding)

Cotes du Rhone, red, 2005
89 points (above average)

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Better Wines – What is the Right Method?

Better quality due to smaller yields or must concentration – reverse osmosis – cryogenic extraction etc.?

Vines produce a large number of grapes – if this is permitted by the wine-grower. Since the quality of the wine is related to the crop quantity, quality-oriented wine-growers reduce the harvests in order to increase the quality of the wine. The smaller the yield per hectare or per vine, the higher the mineral content in the wine and the richer the taste and the aromas.

Methods of Reducing the Yield

The classic method of doing this is pruning the vines in late winter. It is at this time that the wine-grower makes his decision regarding the quality and the harvest in the fall. This is the method that organic wine-growers use!

If the quality of the wine is only defined by the sugar content of the grapes, wine-growers leave twice as many grapes on the vine than they plan to harvest and then remove the surplus grapes 2 to 3 weeks before the harvest. The remaining grapes then develop a higher sugar content. The minerals which have been absorbed through the roots are then however spread out among all the grapes. This does not really enhance the quality, it just increases the alcoholic content. The advantage of this method is that the wine-growers can reduce the risk of losing part of the harvest due to hail or storms and can lead the customer to believe that the quality of the wine is superior due to its alcoholic content.

Vacuum evaporation and reverse osmosis are modern methods of must concentration which are simpler, less labor-intensive and involve no risks. With both of these methods, water which the grapes have taken in during the period of growth is removed from the must. Up to now, this method has been used mainly by about 100 “high-quality Bordeaux-Grand Cru wines” producers, as well as by very famous producers in Italy, by wine-growers abroad and in individual wineries in Germany. These wine producers save themselves all the work involved in reducing the yield in the vineyards. In a must concentration, up to 20 % of the water is extracted, all the other components such as sugar and acids remain and increase their effect. This method does have its disadvantages if imperfect grapes or grapes which do not have the same ripeness are used. The concentrated and relatively high acidity level can be decreased by extracting the acids by physical means.

Those wine producers who really want good quality remain faithful to their maxim that “good wine originates in the vineyard.” In their opinion, the methods of must concentration are just a way of increasing profits. If this is done, wine as a product takes a further step away from its natural origins.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Meaning of the Term “Terroir”

The term “terroir” is used to create an imaginary link to the soil or the earth. If a wine is described as “characterized by the soil,” this means that the wine is typical of its origins and its natural habitat. However, this typicity can only be obtained if the cultivation of the vineyards and the grapes and the work done in the cellar are influenced as little as possible by artificial means, and this is the way things are done in ecological viticulture.

It seems to be completely paradoxical that on the one hand everyone talks about unique vineyard soil which is rich minerals and is said to produce distinctive wines, whereas on the other hand the vines are constantly being given artificial mineral fertilizers. In this way, the vines are trained not to take root too deeply in order to absorb the minerals in the soil; instead of this their roots are just under the surface, where they can absorb the artificial fertilizers they are given. A further negative effect is found in the wine-growing regions which have ideal weather conditions with long dry periods in the summer. The vines whose roots are close to the surface suffer because of the dryness, and this interferes with the growth and the ripening.

In spite of an ideal climate for wine-growing, the grapes are harvested with a low sugar content and a high acidity content. To compensate for this, sugar or must concentrate are added before fermentation or surplus acids are removed by physical means. Vines with deep roots can survive long periods of hot weather and droughts without any problems and produce fully ripe grapes with a high mineral content and a well-balanced sugar and acidity content.

It is not only for reasons of health that the repeated use of chemicals and synthetic herbicides, insecticides and fungicides gives cause for concern; this also effects the quality of the wine. Insecticides and fungicides have an effect on the outside of the plants and, if systemic methods are used, on the inside of the plants and the berries as well, since they can remain on them for up to 56 days. By the way, grapes are not washed before pressing. Thus, residue from sprays can get into the wine, where proof of them can be established if the wine is analyzed. In addition, spraying fungicides also destroys the yeasts which are found naturally on the grapes. Grapes grown in this manner can only be fermented using selected yeasts and so-called fermentation aids on a phosphate basis. This however means that the “terroir character” is lost. These wines all taste the same, no matter where they are produced.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Time for Organic Wine

It’s high time for organic wine, for real, pure enjoyment!

Let’s get away from the uniformity of standard international market-oriented wines, which you couldn't tell apart if the origin wasn’t printed on the label. It’s high time we rediscovered and started to enjoy the real, authentic wines which are typical of the varietals of the regions in which they are grown. Who says that only Merlot or Chardonnay can be grown and drunk everywhere?

Why don’t you try wines made from grapes which have not been sprayed with chemicals and synthetic fungicides, whose juice has not been chaptalized or concentrated before fermentation, which have only been fermented in their own yeasts and not in aromatized artificial yeasts or with the help of fermentation aids, and to which only a bit of sulphur (much less than permitted by law) has been added?

Why don’t you try our wines, which are grown using ecological, organic methods?

Erich Hartl
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mundo de Yuntero, Cooperativa Nuestro Padre Jesus del Perdon

Since the time of Miguel Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote and his servant Sancho Panza, life and viticulture have changed in LA MANCHA.

As far as viticulture and the quality of the wine are concerned, the changes in the past two decades were more radical than in some of the other wine-growing regions in Spain. You can see this quite clearly when you drive past the wine-growing areas and the villages. The vines are no longer isolated little gnomes in the middle of the countryside, they no longer grow rampantly and flatly on top of the soil; they are now in rows, attached to wire trellises, so that they can be cultivated more easily and more economically. This not only improves the wines from La Mancha, it also enables them to be sold at very reasonable prices.

The Cooperativa Nuestro Padre Jesus del Perdon, which consists of 700 wine-growers with a total of 3,600 hectares of wine-growing area, 100 hectares of which are farmed ecologically, is not one of the biggest, but certainly one of the most progressive in La Mancha. The vines grow in the best soil of the entire Manzanara region, above the Guadiana River, which runs underground but which comes to the surface now and then in the form of so-called Rudiera lagoons. This subterranean water supply creates ideal conditions for growing wine. The soil, which is rich in lime, is especially suited for growing the Tempranillo vine, which produces the best grapes.

Both the white and the red wines produced by Mundo de Yuntero are uncomplicated, the kind of wines you can drink every day, and which are also affordable.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 La Mancha Organic Vintage

Times passes by so quickly, and I do like to keep you up-to-date on the quality of the 2007 vintages from those regions which we have in our range of products.

Thunderstorms, hail and rain damaged and destroyed the grapes in some parts of La Mancha. This vines which were undamaged were however able to ripen and produce excellent wine.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Languedoc Organic Vintage

Since time passes by so quickly, I would like to give you a short update on the quality of the 2007 vintages from those regions from which obtain our wines.

Whereas the northern wine-growing areas had more than enough rain, it was in fact not excessively hot in Languedoc, but much too dry. This meant that the harvest at the Domaine de la Triballe was very small, but the quality was very good. These are red wines with a great deal of color, concentration and tightness and ripe, round tannins.

Please don’t forget this when we offer you these wines in 1 to 3 years time.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Rhone and Provence Organic Vintage

Time goes by so quickly, and the following is a short update on the quality of the 2007 vintages from those regions which we have in our range of wines.

The northern area of the Rhone (Hermitage, Croze Hermitage etc.) was completely ruined by rain in August, and it was not until September that the sun got the upper hand.

In the southern Rhone area (Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Luberon) and in the Provence as well (Les Baux de Provence, Cotes de Provence) it was generally much too dry.

This meant that the harvest in the north was too big, and too small in the south. The quality of the wine produced by the Chateau La Canorgue, the Domaine Terres Blanches, the Domaine du Jas d’Esclans, the Clos du Joncuas and the Domaine de Marcoux will be just as good as it was in the past years. You will be able to order the young wines produced by Jas d’Esclans, as well as the white and rose wines, from us from March/April 2008 on.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Ribera del Duero Organic Vintage

2007 Organic Vintage Ribera del Duero, Toro and Castilla Leon

Time passes by so quickly, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to update you on the quality of the vintages from those regions which are available in our range of wines.

You might think that these wine-growing regions, which are so close together, would have the same conditions and would produce the same results. However, the effects of microclimatic differences are stronger than you might think, and you can see this in the results of the harvests.

In Ribera del Duero, the quality was very good, in Toro it was “only” good. The crop quantity in Ribera del Duero was average and in Toro “only” small.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Rioja and Navarra Organic Vintage

Time is passing by, and this is the right time to give you some information on the quality of the 2007 vintages from those regions from which we obtain our wine.

Our partners in both of the adjoining wine-growing regions in the north of Spain were happy to produce a high-quality wine, but were also a bit disappointed in the size of the harvest. The reason for this is, as I was informed by Miguel Martinez, that there was not much rain in the winter and the spring, the summer was dry but cool, and the wonderful autumn ensured that grapes were able to ripen slowly and evenly.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Organic Vintage in Piemont

Time passes by so quickly, and thus I would like to make sure that you are well informed regarding the quality of the 2007 vintages which we carry in our range of wines.

2007 was a very dry year in Piemont, comparable to 2003, but the temperatures were lower. Marina Marcarino told me that this led to an early harvest of perfectly ripe grapes, but the crop quantity was low. We can look forward to high-quality wines with a great deal of expressiveness. We will have to wait and see whether or not the prices will increase.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2007 Tuscany Organic Vintage

Time seems to pass by so quickly, and thus I would like to give you a quick update on the quality of 2007 vintages from regions whose wine we carry in our range of products.

This was a very consistent year, maybe a bit too dry. Those vines which have been cultivated ecologically for many years, such as those at the Tenuta San Vito, Il Palagio, Buondonno, Casina di Cornia, La Spinosa or Cerreto Libri and Torre alle Tolfe, which are not nourished by mineral fertilizers on the surface of the soil, have deeper roots and thus are able to obtain minerals and sufficient moisture. They do not suffer from “drought stress” if the summer is dry and hot and thus provide the best and most harmoniously ripened grapes, to which no sugar must be added for fermentation. We can look forward to some vigorous, harmonious and natural organic wines from Tuscany.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Not all organic wines are the same

Not all organic wines are the same – why does it always pay to purchase wine from the “pioneers” of ecological viticulture?

Every time a winery switches to ecological viticulture, it makes us happy, since this contributes to the increase in ecological viticulture and thus to the reduction of environmental pollution. If however this conversion to organic wine-growing is done at a time when grants for this are being given, this calls for a bit of suspicion. It often happens that these wineries stop their organic wine-growing a few years later. This is however not the only reason for us to be cautious in our attitude toward new organic wine-growers. Whether or not we as organic wine merchants decide to include wines produced from wineries who are in the process of converting to organic viticulture in our range of products does not depend on the reservations we feel alone. We know that the soil of the vineyards needs many years to recover from the consequences of “chemical viticulture”, and it is highly probable that the residue of pesticides will be found in those wines produced by “young organic wine-producers.”

The switch from conventional to ecological wine-growing

According to the law of the European Union, the time allowed for the switch-over is 2 years, but many organic farming associations insist on 3 years, and the Demeter association requires 6 to 7 years from its members. These requirements are easy to understand if you consider the fact that the chemical residue in the soil takes several years to decompose, and that even after a wine-grower has switched over to organic farming these chemicals can still get into the grapes and thus into the wine for several years.

If you think it is important to drink only "pure wines, " as I do, then it is best to buy your wines from wine estates which have been practising ecological farming for many years. But there are other reasons why...

Not all organic wines are the same

During the 25 years in which we have been working together with organic wine-growers and organic wines, we realized that real organic wine-growing can only be done successfully by those wine-growers who have very strong convictions. In addition, countless comparisons have shown the superior quality of those wines produced by the "pioneers of ecological wine-growing."

What is the explanation for this?

If it is given very little organic fertilizer and well-cared for, as was customary before the "age of chemistry" and as it is still done by quality-oriented organic wine-growers today, a vine can live to be 100 years old and its roots can be up 25 meters long. This enables the vine to survive long periods of aridity and heat which will not have a negative effect on the growth or the ripening of the grapes. At the same time, vines which are allowed to grow in this manner can absorb the minerals from the soil in which they are growing. The grapes from these wines have an abundance of minerals (the extract in the wine) and when they are harvested they have a balanced ratio of acidity and sugar, which makes it unnecessary to manipulate the must or the wine (add or extract acid or sugar). These wines have a distinctive character, which can be traced back to the "terroir" (soil, climate, microclimate, varietal). These are wines whose quality is determined in the vineyard and not in the cellar.

Vines which have been treated with a lot of fertilizer for many years and are then switched over to ecological farming methods have roots which are not as deep, since the fertilizers they required were made available to them on the top of the soil. This means that the grapes, and the wine, will be lacking in quality and character.

This is why we prefer to collaborate with wine estates which have been farming ecologically for many years, some of them for 40 years, or in the case of Tenuta San Vito in Tuscany, for 25 years. These wine-growers are really the "pioneers in organic wine."

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Punset: Terroir – A Good Wine from Piemont

In the February 2008 issue of the VINUM Wine Journal, there was a large report on the PUNSET wine estate and its owner, Marina Macarino. This paid tribute to a wine-grower who has been producing high-quality organic wines for many years, and who has obtained the very top marks for these, in particular for her Barbaresco wines.

Barbaresco Campo Quadro 2004: 17 points from Vinum (as many as Gaja)
Barbaresco Campo Quadro 2000: VINUM – its complex, floral and mineral-smoky aroma, the refined tannins and the rare elegance and long finish tempt us to call this a “dream wine” and one of the best Barbareschi of the vintage
Barbaresco 2000: Wine Spectator, 90 points
Barbaresco Campo Quadro 2001, Eno World Wine Guide, 4 stars (excellent)
Barbaresco Campo Quadro 2001, Veronelli, 3 stars – 90 points
Barbaresco Campo Quadro 1999: Merum, 3 stars (excellent)
Barbaresco 2001 Eno World Wine Guide, 5 stars (top wine)
Barbaresco 2001: Decanter,*** recommended
Dolcetto d’Alba 2003: Wine Spectator, 84 points
La Dote, Langhe Bianco 2003: Wine Spectator, 85 points

I could go on forever listing the positive evaluations the Punset wines have been given. However what is important to know is that the Punset wines are really “wines with their roots in the soil,” real “terroir wines” from the best winery in Piemont.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Enjoy Organic Wines with All Your Senses

Organic wines provide true enjoyment, if you buy the right organic wines!

You can only trace the origins and the quality of the wine if it has been bottled by the producer, since it is only in the production of the wine that all the criteria for high quality organic wines can be fulfilled.

Quality means taste, but it also means harmony with nature, the environment and society.

Anyone who poisons the soil, abuses working animals or puts carcinogenic and unhealthy chemicals into food does not produce good quality.

A farmer who treats his fruit pickers or harvesters (Poles, Portuguese, Africans or Mexicans) like slaves in order to save money does also not produce good quality.

All those consumers who are not willing to pay the price for good quality are being antisocial and short-sighted.

This is why for the past 25 years we have been selling wines farmed using controlled ecological methods, which we only buy from wine-growers who we have known personally for a long time and whom we visit on a regular basis.

These wines are very easily digestible, contain very little sulphur and are neither acidulous nor expensive.

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Environmental Study Part 1

On Wednesday, March 26, 2008, an environmental study was presented in the European Parliament whose content was not new to us but does however confirm what we have known for 25 years. This is why we decided long ago to only drink and sell organic wine.

“Red wine often contains pesticides, no matter how expensive it is – wines from Germany, Italy and France often contain pesticides. This is the result of an analysis done by environmentalists. However, in no case were the pesticide limits exceeded.

Brussels – in vino veritas. The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) took this old Roman proverb literally and sent 40 different red wines to the lab to be analyzed. The result: Pesticide residue was found in 35 bottles. Of these, five were categorized as carcinogenic or possibly causing genetic changes, according the study presented in Brussels on Wednesday.”

Source: hda/AFP,1518,543553,00.html

Erich Hartl

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -