Monday, December 21, 2009

Laudum Eco Wine from Alicante

Laudum (meaning award in Latin) Nature is an organic wine produced by the Bodegas Bocopa, an association of seven bodegas in the Alicante region. Laudum Nature is made with manually harvested Monastrell, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes producing a dry red wine. Produced since 1998, Laudum Nature was the first organic wine in Alicante. They have 800 acres certified organic by the Comite De Agricultura Ecologica De La Comunidad Valenciana and the wine is considered of the Alicante D.O.

Laudum Nature is a deep cherry red wine and can be found very inexpensively in the wine sections of El Cort Ingles stores (2.99/bottle). The town of Petrer is just over twenty miles northwest of the sun-drenched city of Alicante, and almost ninety miles southwest of Valencia city. You can visit the winery by appointment. Bodegas Bocopa, Paraje Les Pedreres Autovia A-31, Km 200-201 (Elda Hospital exit), 03610 Petrer (Alicante); Tel: 966 950 489; Email:; Web: The store and office are open Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 2:00pm/4:00 to 7:30 pm, Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Envinarte - An Artful Wine Store in Valencia Spain

At the artfully stocked wine store, Envinarte, you will find lovely and passionate owner, Teresa Almeida. Teresa knows the history and taste of every wine in her store. She eloquently talks about her wine philosophy (in either Spanish or English). She is deeply aware of the enormous amount of work and spirit that goes into winemaking. She never says she doesn’t like a wine, but rather looks at wines as if they are art – which she believes they are.

Art and wine are subjective and so a person’s response to a wine is individual and depends on the moment in which they are experiencing it. Teresa discusses wines not in terms of liking or disliking, but rather what wines she finds interesting and compelling, understanding that these might change for her depending upon vintage and when and where she is tasting the wine.

Envinarte sells both organic and conventional wines, with an emphasis on Spanish brands. It is a lovely little store in the old part of Valencia near the Plaza de Virgen and up the street from the Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos), remnants of Valencia’s old walled city. Envinarte, c/ Serranos 6, 46003 Valencia; Tel: 963 913 930;; open Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 2:30 om/5:30 to 9:00 pm.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Natural Wines in Paris

If you are in Paris and don’t have time for wine tours out amidst the vineyards and Chateaus, take heart as you have numerous options for sampling wines right in the city of lights and love.

The small, atmospheric La Cremerie between Boulevard St. Germain and the Luxembourg Gardens is a wine store and bar specializing in natural and local French wines. Housed in an old 1880 creamery - hence the name - it has been a wine store for sixty years. La Cremerie, 9, rue des Quatre Vents, 75006 Paris; Tel: 01 43 549 930; Web site:; Metro: Odeon; open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm with special times for tastings.

More Than Organic, a site dedicated to information about natural wines from France including history, laws and distinctions, has links to what they consider to be the best Cavistes in Paris specializing in natural wines - so carry on in Paris with interesting natural wines at your fingertips.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pago Gran Casa - Organic and Natural in Moixant

Located in what is referred to as the Tuscany of Valencia, Pago Casa Gran is a beautiful, organic vineyard with about 250 acres of grapes, as well as olive and apricot trees. Owned by the Laso Galbis family for decades, the vineyard is hundreds of years old, with ruins of an old winery on part of the property. Today while the grapes are tended to in natural and traditional ways, including manual harvesting, the winery is modern and state of the art.

Pago Gran Casa makes their wines in the most natural way possible in favor of the flavor and quality of the wines. They use gravity not pumps to move and mix the wines. It helps that the owner is an engineer and has cleverly designed the winery with innovative equipment.

Native yeasts and a mix of local and foreign grape varieties – Garnacha/Grenache, Monastrell, Moscatel, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Gewürztraminer – are used to make the wines. Pago Gran Casa makes three red wines (vino tinto), Reposo, Falcata Casa Gran, and Falacat Arenal, and two white wines both called Reposo.

You can visit the vineyard and winery but you must make an appointment in advance and visits are only offered on Saturdays from 9:00 am  to 2:00 pm.

Pago Casa Gran, Carretera Mogente a Fontanares Km 9,45, 46640 Mogente/Moixent (Valencia); Tel: 962 261 004; Email:; Web:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Climate Change Even Impacts Wine

In one of their many campaigns highlighting the deleterious effects of climate change, Greenpeace France is bringing the message home to lovers of wine – by showing the effects of climate change on the precious French wine industry.

French winemakers have been observing warmer temperatures, translating to earlier harvest times, and sweeter, less acidic grapes, which all affect the final product. For a downloadable PDF version of the Greenpeace report on Climate Change Impacts on French Viticulture go to and then choose: changementsclimatiquesimpactsviticulturefrance (please note: the report is in French).

The Greenpeace campaign was highlighted at the recent Paris Independent Winemakers Fair (Salon des Vignerons Independents) held twice a year in late November and March, where over 1000 French independent vintners display their wares – a mere 6 euros gains you entry to this wine extravaganza. If you can’t make it to Paris, but want to experience the wine fair there are also events in other cities during other months – Rennes end of January, Strasbourg mid February, Lyon early March, Bordeaux mid March, and then Paris again at the end of March. Website for the Vignerons Independents can be found at:

Some of the independent vintners work with conventional grapes, others with organic. France has a dedicated and growing organic viticulture movement, with currently over 68,000 acres in organic grape production and an additional almost 33,000 acres in transition to organic. Wine industry professionals can learn more about these organic vineyards and wines at the “world trade fair” for organic wines, Millésime Bio.

The seventeenth annual Millésime Bio will be held January 25-27, 2010 in Montpellier, France. This is where wine buyers from around the world can sample a variety of organic wines in one place. Most of the wines – about 75% - are from France, with the remaining 25% from around the world with the greatest representation from Spain and Italy, with one or two samplings each from South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Romania Switzerland and the USA.

It would be a tragedy if France, or other countries, were no longer able to produce wonderful varieties of wines due to rising temperatures and other climate changes. Help keep the environmental impact of viticulture low by consuming and supporting organic vineyards and wineries - there are plenty and more available every day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chozas Carrascal Organic Pago in Requena Spain

The Chozas Carrascal winery is in the tradition of a Pago (the Spanish version of a French Chateau) with an old traditional house built in 1880, and a newly built winery, cave and tasting room adjacent, surrounded by almost one hundred acres of organic vineyards in the Utiel-Requena D.O.

The vines at Chozas Carrascal are big bush vines that are also trellised (usually vineyards use either bush vines or trellised vines). They were the first to bring this practice to the area in 1992 - it allows the plant density to be increased two-fold, ideal for a vineyard focusing on low yield but high quality.

The vineyard combines a variety of grapes, both native and foreign. The grape varieties grown are eight red and three white: Bobal, Monastrell, Tempranillo, Garnacha (Spanish for Grenache), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeo.

Delightful and informative Xesco, the master winemaker at Chozas uses innovative winemaking techniques to produce the nine signature wines of Chozas Carrascal including their own delicious Cava, produced the same way as Champagne with a second fermentation in the bottle, but due to the politics of the wine market, only Champagne from Champagne can be called such – it is often thought as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in fact it is closer to a brand name and can only be afforded to sparking wines from the Champagne region of France. Chozas Cava is delicious and a bargain at 11 euros a bottle.

Most of the Chozas wines are blends of the grape varieties with the exception of El Dulce made with only Garnacha and the Cabernet Franc made solely from Cabernet Franc. Seasoned wine drinkers will know that Cabernet Sauvignon, a very popular red wine and grape was developed by crossbreeding the white Sauvignon Blanc with the “black” Cabernet Franc. The less trendy pure Cabernet Franc makes for a delicious, dry, deep wine.

All the wines are fermented in traditional vats – the reds in concrete and the whites in stainless steel- and then aged in French oak barrels. Produced ecologically from the start, Chozas wines will all be fully certified organic as of 2010.

Chozas Carrascal makes for a wonderful visit. They have a magnificent tasting room, and the vineyards are impressive – and all part of the tour.

Chozas Carrascal, San Antonio, Requena, (Valencia); Tel: 963 410 395; Email:; Web: