Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can you taste biodynamic farming?

Doe Ridge Vineyard in Oregon's Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The left half is biodynamically farmed while the right half is sustainable LIVE. Will there be a difference in the wines from these halves of the vineyard?

Can you detect any difference between wines made from biodynamicaly grown grapes as opposed to more traditionally farmed fruit?

Tomorrow a panel of 14 tasters will blind taste wines to answer the question. (Don't tell the tasters, but it will be a double blind situation.)

The idea for this blind-panel tasting germinated while I was dreaming up a dramatic finish to a biodynamic farming story I'm doing for Wine Enthusiast and Oregon Wine Press.

Here's the situation. One half of the approx 40 acre Doe Ridge Vineyard
is biodynamically farmed, the other more traditionally. It's one vineyard on the same hillside separated by a wooded ravine all in Oregon's Yamhill-Carlton AVA. So both parts have the same Pinot noir clones, the same geographic orientation, with vines the same age. The wines are made by the same winemaker, Laurent Montelieu. The only difference: one side is farmed bioD and the other sustainable. Wines tested will be from 2008 (the first year of full harvest) and 2009. While Demeter hasn't yet formally certified the vineyard, winemaker Laurent confidently says, "any day."

I want to thank Laurent Montelieu, winemaker & proprietor of Grand Cru Estate/Solena/NW Wine Company and Anthony van Nice, general manager at Four Graces Winery (owner of Doe Ridge Vineyard) for having the guts to allow us to do this impartial blind taste test.

What's your vote? Will they taste a difference? Why?

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