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Wines of the Week

Which Cabernet is right to drink for Earth Day?

By Wes Marshall, 11:00AM, Fri. Apr. 18

Easter is Sunday, April 20, and Earth Day is April 22. Given the feasts that a lot of families are likely to have this week, it seemed like a good time to find some good, earth-friendly Cabernets.

For folks who don’t follow the weird world of organic/biodynamic/sustainable/green titles for wines, I won’t try to get into the subtleties now. If you want a quick rundown on this complicated issue, check the Organic Wine Journal’s distillation.

The one issue that you should know about is that wines that are completely organic often don’t live long lives in the bottle or travel very successfully. That’s why you will often see the term “made from organic grapes” on a label. That way the winemaker can stabilize the wines. But, in any case, the following wines are all trying to do the right thing, not just snag a handy marketing term for their own enrichment.

Santa Julia Vineyards Organica Cabernet Sauvignon ($10) is made by Familia Zucardi in Mendoza, Argentina. Mr. Zucardi is one of the class acts in the world of wine.


Photo courtetsy of the winery
While I laud the man and the company for taking care of the land, I am even more impressed by the fact that he has personally built schools just for his vineyard worker’s children and he funds college scholarships for those who excel. I prefer to give my money to good guys. The wine is well made, not profound, just a good bottle of wine to put on the dinner table and enjoy with a roast.

Randall Grahm is another class act, although from a bit more skewed point of view. He is constantly looking for conventional wisdom that he can destroy. He is also a wordmeister of the highest degree.


Photo courtetsy of the winery
In describing his Bonny Doon A Proper Claret ($16 for a .759, $36 for a 1.5 liter), he writes “Randall Grahm, owner and winemaker, has expressed opprobrium, occasionally bordering on amused disdain, for this popular grape variety.” While I have a high degree of respect for Grahm’s knowledge of semiotics, implicature, semantics, and lexicology, it is difficult to understand how opprobrium and disdain could ever border one another. Nonetheless, this is another in a long line of off-the-charts successes for Bonny Doon. I often wonder if they make any bad wines at all?

One of my favorite biodynamic Cabernet producers is from Chile. Vinedos Emiliana makes Cabernet blends with prices ranging from the delicious Natura Cabernet at around $12, to Coyam, a glorious bottle of wine for $45, to , their top wine and a blockbuster blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and, Carménère for $90. They have a gorgeous operation that could only have been built because they are owned by one of the world’s largest wineries, Concha y Toro.


Photo courtetsy of the winery
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