All large-scale agricultural activities undertaken by man have an impact on our environment. Our planet is being ravaged by man’s activities and those that have been watching A Perfect Planet by the environmental demi-god David Attenborough, cannot fail to be shocked by the consequences. Happily, the message that this situation cannot persist and that something has to be done about it, is getting through to more and more companies who are in a position to react.
In the world of wine, more and more producers are taking up the challenge of significantly reducing their carbon footprint and consequently protecting their local environment. The move towards organic wine production is growing apace, reducing chemical pollution and simultaneously making pure and authentic wines. More and more producers are going several steps further, such as Vina Ventisquero in Chile, which I talked about in last week’s column.
Back in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sicilian wine producer Purato has taken sustainability to heart and is one of the leading producers of organic wines and sustainability in this region. Not only is their entire range of wines certified organic, but they are also vegan friendly and their products have been certified Carbon Neutral. Going further than most, the bottles are made from 80 per cent recycled glass, the cardboard cartons are 100 per cent recycled cardboard and the labels are made with paper from responsible, sustainable, sources. I’m not sure about gold medals, but they certainly deserve a host of gold stars!
So what of the wines themselves? I remember first attempts at organic wine production some 40 or so years ago, leaving me seriously unimpressed. But techniques have changed out of all recognition and both organic and biodynamic (a step further) wines can now be quite outstanding. Last week I was invited to participate in a Zoom wine tasting, hosted in Italy by Stefano Girelli of Purato. The event was a great success, with all participants, including myself, finding the four wines presented to be well-made, well presented and utterly delicious.
These are easy-going, easy-drinking wines, designed to appeal to wine drinkers across the board. The white was a blend of 60 per cent Catarratto and 40 per cent Pinot Grigio, light, crisp and refreshing. A rosé – yes rosé – was pale in colour, with an aroma of fresh strawberries, made from local Nero d’Avola grapes. Don’t reserve rosé wines just for the summer: they are equally delicious with a winter pasta dish or pizza. The other two wines were reds and very different in style. First was a 100 per cent Nero d’Avola 2019, ripe and luscious from Sicily’s number one grape variety. Dark berry fruits and soft tannins. The other was a fabulous wine called ‘Siccari’, made by the appassimento, centuries’ old technique, where the grapes are left to dry naturally prior to fermentation. Deep, ruby colour, the aromas and flavours of dark plums, black cherries and raisins are intense, with a voluptuously soft, rich velvety finish on the palate. Proof positive that investment in protecting our planet can pay dividends. All the above wines are priced competitively between £8.50 and £10 from Ocado, Budgens, Amazon and certain independents.