Ah, wine. It’s the drink which allows you to travel the world within the confines of a glass, and which offers more sensory wonder and delight by tasting the finest wine brands than perhaps anything else you can buy in a shop.
It’s been humanity’s constant companion (the white wines and red wine brands we buy today aren’t a million miles apart from our first dalliances with fermented grape juice, which took place up to 40,000 years ago) and yet it never stops evolving and improving, always seeking new heights of flavour and aroma.
However, wine’s greatest asset is sometimes also its greatest flaw. The sheer range and variety out there is as dazzling as it is confusing, as impressive as it is intimidating.
There are well over 1,000 commercially available grape varieties, and conservative estimates put the total number of wine grape varieties in the world at around 10,000. There are hundreds of thousands of different bottles of wine out there to try – more than anybody could manage in a dozen lifetimes.
Not to mention the fact that the same wine will vary slightly each year depending on the conditions of the vintage, and they will change over time in bottle. The variables are infinite!
With all those wine brands waiting for your corkscrew, it can be difficult to choose the best ones to give your time and attention.
Thankfully, here at Vintage Roots, we’re passionate about organic, biodynamic and natural wines, and we love picking out the best examples from around the world for you to try.
Wine brands for those long summer evenings…
When it comes to the summer months, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good bottle of wine.
The zingy, fresh, ripe fruit flavours, and zesty acidity, brightness and lightness found in the best white wine brands are the perfect foil to the midsummer heat, and – despite what you might have heard – there are loads of great red wines out there which are also ideal for summer drinking.
Lush, rounded reds which pair fantastically with summer barbeque dishes, bright, sunny reds which put you in mind of Spanish tavernas or Australian beach parties… there’s a whole world of great wine out there, made with the hotter months in mind.
We’ve trawled the world looking for red wine brands and white wine brands to recommend to you this summer, and each one has been made according to natural, organic or biodynamic principles, thus ensuring that those maximum levels of expression are achieved.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look through our top seven wine brands to try this summer – we’re sure there’s something out there that’s absolutely perfect for you.
If there’s one wine producing country which has massively impressed over the past few years, and has worked hard to forge a superb new reputation for itself, it’s Argentina.
In this Latin American country, the blend between the Old World and the New is the defining characteristic found in the finest wineries, with the boldness and pioneering attitude of the New World being bolstered and refined by Old World varieties, techniques, and attitudes towards excellence and elegance. One of our favourite Argentinian organic wineries, the beautiful and multi award-winning Domaine Bousquet, is a perfect example.
Set up in 1990 by Jean Bousquet, Domaine Bousquet was to be the latest venture in the family’s long and prestigious winemaking history. The Bousquets hail from the ancient French city of Carcassonne, and they sought out the finest high altitude Mendoza vineyards on which to establish their organic Argentinian estate.
The results have been consistently stunning, and Domaine Bousquet has helped further the case for organic viticulture in Argentina, blazing a trail for many others to follow.
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Soil Type: Sandy and sparse
Principal Wine Styles: Malbec, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
Our summer recommendation: Domaine Bousquet Malbec:
A beautiful array of dark fruit and spice characterise this gorgeous Malbec, which has plenty to say on the palate, yet remains fresh.
Time spent in French oak lends it a smoothness and roundness which is difficult to resist, and which opens it up to plenty of food pairing possibilities.
If you’re looking for wines which come with incredible and lengthy backstories which criss-cross the centuries, then northern Italy is probably the best place to start.
The winery of Giol has a particularly impressive history – the estate which is still in use today was founded in 1427, and has served its community and region consistently ever since.
Today, just like when it first began, the vintners of Giol make their wines using methods which put respect for the land and its sustainability first and foremost.
Indeed, all 25 hectares of land on the estate are certified organic, and the estate oversees every step of the vinification process to ensure that organic standards are stringently met.
Giol’s passion for natural, traditional methods doesn’t stop there, though; the grapes are hand picked, the yeasts used are local, and filtration and stabilisation are also kept to a minimum.
Region: San Polo di Piave, Veneto
Soil Type: Alluvial, gravel-based
Principal Wine Styles: Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Merlot
Our summer recommendation: Giol Perla Rosato Frizzante
Gently sparkling, with a plumpness and softness that makes it simply heavenly for summer drinking, this rose frizzante wine features a beautiful array of flavours and aromas.
Floral notes, red cherries and soft and juicy plums make this a really sunny day winner of a bottle.
When it comes to biodynamic wines, the Austrians are the originals, and perhaps the best. Meinklang is a beautiful, verdant, laid-back winery in eastern Austria, just south of Vienna.
They epitomise the holistic approach to organic and biodynamic farming – on their estate, you’ll find a wide range of fruits, arable crops, angus cattle and even an educational facility teaching people about the merits of their methods.
Their vineyards are seen as a ‘wine garden’ in which biodiversity, weeds and meadow flowers alike are allowed to flourish, giving their vines a distinctive and highly unique character.
As with most Austrian white wines, the bottles which come out of Meinklang (emblazoned with their iconic cow logo) are wonderful summer wines.
Crisp, bright, highly expressive and gorgeously straightforward and refreshing, they’re a marvellous example of what can be achieved when you allow nature to do the hard work for you.
Soil Type: Complex, limestone and slate
Principal Wine Styles: Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt
Our summer recommendation: Meinklang Gruner Veltliner
Gruner Veltliner wines are a crisp, vegetal-tinged delight, perfect for serving chilled on a hot summer’s day.
This bottle really packs in those distinctive, fresh citrus notes and white pepper finish that makes this wine style so popular when the days get longer. With its low alcohol level it’s a great option for a lunchtime or afternoon tipple.
The winemakers of the Guilisasti family have long been championing the unique terroir found in Chile. It isn’t difficult to see why: flanked by the majestic Andes and the Pacific Ocean, vintners with some vision and imagination are presented with a wonderful array of microclimates and landscapes to work with, and the resulting wines can be spectacular.
When Emiliana Vineyards winery was founded in 1986 by the Guilisasti family, the mission was a clear one: to produce characterful, elegant wines which were distinctly Chilean (yet with a clear Italian influence), and which were made from organic grapes, and using natural, and often biodynamic methods.
The scope of Emiliana’s organic vision is a vast one. Indeed, their 1,470 acres of organic and biodynamic vineyards make Emiliana the largest source of estate-grown organic wines on earth.
This isn’t about quantity over quality, though. The Emiliana label is one which has been critically lauded over the years, both for the flavours their wines express and the sustainable approach they have and will always maintain when it comes to their land.
Region: Maipo Valley and Colchagua Valley
Soil Type: Alluvial, coastal, rocky
Principal Wine Styles: Syrah, Malbec, Carmenere, Chardonnay, Merlot
Our summer recommendation: Adobe Sauvignon Blanc Reserva
This organic Chilean Sauvignon Blanc sets a new standard for this varietal, and ticks every box for what a summer wine should be.
Citrus notes harmonise with crisp gooseberry flavours on the palate, and come together in a sleek, racy wine which is going to be a hit in the sunshine.
The Italian region of Franciacorta has long been associated with wines of the highest quality, made according to traditional techniques and using the finest fruit.
The winery Barone Pizzini takes that a step further: they ensure that their Franciacorta sparkling wines not only reflect the traditions of this ancient part of the country, but that they also perfectly express the land on which the vines are grown.
In order for this to happen most effectively, the head honcho Silvano Brescianini decided in 1994 that Barone Pizzini would become an organic winery, thus ensuring that nothing would be lost through chemical intervention from the soil to the bottle.
All of Barone Pizzini’s wine brands are produced from the fruit of vineyards spread across some of Italy’s most prestigious appellations, which are handpicked and vinified using a range of unconventional methods designed to lock in all that natural expression.
Soil Type: complex and mixed, morainic soils
Principal wine styles: Franciacorta, Verdicchio, Sangiovese
Our summer recommendation: Pievalta Verdicchio Superiore
This beautiful and highly stylish Verdicchio from central Italy really hits the high notes with its racy, lean citrus flavours and bright, mineral sharpness.
Steely, bone-dry and with a curiously nutty hint, it’s going to be brilliant paired with any summery fish dish and salad!
When it comes to Spanish wine brands with a pedigree in organic wine production, Albet i Noya sits pretty highly on the list, and is widely celebrated for its pioneering efforts to spread enthusiasm for natural viticulture in Spain.
Based in the beautiful region of Penedes, which is famed for Spain’s famous sparkling Cava wine, Albet i Noya produce a range of classic Spanish wines, using an array of indigenous and imported grape varietals, as well as some inventive blends which utilise both together and bring out the best in each.
Region: Penedes, Catalonia
Soil Type: Sandy, clay
Principal Wine Styles: Xarello, Tempranillo, Sparkling
Our summer recommendation: Albet i Noya Brut 21
This sparkling wine from Albet I Noya is a wonderfully modern example of the classic Spanish wine style, blending Parellada and Chardonnay grapes and using the methode champenoise to achieve those elegant bubbles. Fun, sophisticated and delightful with all sorts of light bites and picnic favorites!
Fasoli Gino is a beautiful example of an Italian winery which continues to evolve, improve and change with the times, and continues to find new audiences with its stunning array of impressive wines.
Founded in Verona in 1925, it has (like many fine Italian wineries) been handed down through the generations, each of which has put their own stamp on what the winery is, and what the winery does.
In 1984, Fasoli Gino was certified organic, and in 2006, biodynamic practices were employed to help the vintners achieve ever higher levels of expression and excellence.
The belief of the winemakers is that not only do their practices help them reach greater levels of flavour and aroma in their characterful wines, but they also ensure that the land they work on, live on and love is treated with the utmost respect, and it will be in pristine condition for the next generation to come.
Beautiful, natural and always at the cutting edge of natural viticulture, Fasoli Gino is a jewel in Veneto’s crown.
Soil Type: Morainic gravel
Principal Wine Styles: Soave, Valpolicella, Prosecco, Amarone
Our summer recommendation: DOC Soave Pieve Vecchia
The fact that this Gargenega wine has been elegantly aged in oak brings a whole other level of sophistication to this full bodied organic white wine.
Creamy, juicy and rounded, and yet possessing a sharpness and freshness which balances everything beautifully, it’s a stunning example of modern Italian produce at its best.
Summertime is a time for spending days with friends and family, getting out of the house and enjoying life, and making the most of what nature has to offer us.
Having a great glass of wine while you’re appreciating the beauty of summer is fantastic way of getting in touch with nature – especially when those wines are organic, biodynamic, or made according to natural principles.
Here at Vintage Roots, we’ll be raising a glass to the sunshine… and we think that you should too.