Organic Wines at Lloyd's
Jan 07, 2022
If we are to believe that the beginning of any true and great wine is always in the vineyard then our organic wine growers are naturally aiming to achieve this. They not only strive to produce high quality wine but are also committed to the preservation and improvement of the terroir where their vines grow. The growers are not permitted to use any chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides on their land and have to produce evidence to prove this for three years before getting their organic certification. They have to be dedicated to the process for the long term.
Instead of artificial intervention they rely on understanding and working with the ecology, climate and naturally derived products surrounding them. Some of our producers e.g.Christophe and Stéphane Vigneau from Vigneau-Chevreau and Patrick Mourlan of Bastide des Oliviers follow the cycles of the moon and work the land in synchronisation with it to plant, till and pick at the optimum moment for the vine and subsequently the fruit. Through a proactive management system of maintaining and nurturing the soils, the vines benefit through growing in a thriving and healthy vineyard giving the grapes more chance of becoming balanced and flavoursome and passing on subtle flavours of the land into the wine that they produce.
In the three years leading up to certification being granted the wine makers are audited to prove that they have adhered to the strict rules in place. Their wine can be labelled ‘in conversion’.
Using horse power to till the land at Vigneau – Chevreau, this aerates and maintains the integrity of the soil. The ‘Cuvée Silex’ takes its name from the flints found on the terrain and these add to the minerality in its flavour.
Most of the organic wine that we stock is handpicked, several vineyards pick at night as this is the optimum time to maintain the integrity of the grapes. At night the grapes are cooler so the skins are less likely to burst open, which would start the oxidation process, as well as preserving the freshness and aromas of the grapes as the enzymatic activity in the grape is more stable. Handpicking allows for strict selection and gentle handling, grapes being placed gently into the baskets from the vine to ensure their integrity, with only the best grapes being chosen to make their way to the press.
Many of the organic winemakers have small vineyards which produce small quantities of high quality wine. With no compromises being made during the winemaking process, the yield per hectare can be very small for example; Bastide des Oliviers produces less than 20 hectolitres or 2,666 x 75cl bottles per hectare, Castello Poggiarello, Collerosso 20 hectolitres per hectare, where a mass produced wine might yield 20,000 x 75cl bottles at 150 hectolitres per hectare.
The largest range we have from a single wine maker is the Castello Poggiarello Super-Tuscan range. Again the philosophy here is to produce a low and yet high quality yield per vine. This year for the first time we are able to offer ‘Sic et Simpliciter’2018, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which is only released from the best growing years using a selection of the best grapes. The fermentation of this beautiful wine takes place in clay amphora, each grape variety ferments separately and the blending takes part at the end before the wine is returned to the amphorae for a further 4 months, before fining in the bottle for 6-8 months. This wine drinks well with vegetable pasta dishes, pate and terrines and vegetable soups. It can also be enjoyed slightly cooled in the summer with lighter meals.
Clay amphora from Castello Poggiarelo
The Buchner Noir range from the Italian Dolomites was introduced to us by a friend and we cannot recommend it highly enough . We have four wines from them all names after female members of the family and the labels are continuous single line hand drawn portraits – this wine wins the Sally Lloyd prize for best label in this category! The bottles are 50cl and closed with a glass stopper – altogether unique in our range.
This wine has been matured in a specially designed barrel that the wine maker has developed. Known as ‘Aerius’, this oak barrel preserves the surface-to-volume ratio of a barrique, but provides for a much faster maturing process as it has two surfaces, an inner and an outer one, with maturation completing in 8-10 months instead of the traditional 12-18.
The Philosophy of Jean-Pierre Margan and his daughter Nathalie, from Chateau La Canorgue, is based on these principles
‘Protecting the environment and producing great wines as naturally as possible’
Sadly their stunning and bestselling wines are out of stock now until the 2020 vintage is available. Watch this space for more news on that......!