VinNatur Tasting Norway 2013

VinNatur reunites 140 natural winemakers from all over Europe who wish to preserve an environmentally friendly method of wine making which is constantly evolving towards maximum respect for the plants, the soil and the consumers.

VinNatur Tasting Norway 2013. On Tuesday, 19th November, sixty winemakers from Italy, France, Spain and Slovenia will meet in the exhibition spaces of the Manefisken AS for a wine tasting from 1.30 pm to 9.00 pm.

The entrance to the tasting area is free while the morning conference about “Natural Wine and human health”, which will take place from 10.30 am to 12.30 am, is opened only to journalists, bloggers and importers.

The event will be held at at Månefisken (Sagveien 23 A, 0459 Oslo, Norway)

VinNatur Tasting Norway 2013

El mal llamado «vino ecológico»

En los años 80 los agricultores y elaboradores de alimentos ecológicos eran gente con una conciencia, una sensibilidad, una visión respetuosa del campo y del medio ambiente que empezaron a asociarse para conseguir que sus postulados tuvieran una mayor repercusión. Los vinos ecológicos se suponía que eran aquellos que elaboran los propios viticultores con uvas de viñedos propios cultivados de forma ecológica. En el proceso de elaboración se respeta al máximo la autenticidad prescindiendo de los «avances» de la moderna enología intervencionista. Se empiezan a desarrollar a la vez la distribución de este tipo de productos, la celebración de ferias donde darlos a conocer y algunos sistemas de certificación pensando en atajar el fraude que se veía venir ante la tentación de colar como ecológico lo que no era, con tal de ganar ese margen de más que los confiados consumidores de productos ecológicos siempre han estado dispuestos a pagar por un producto de mayor calidad.

En los años 90 aparece la legislación europea (aunque no llega a definir el vino ecológico), los organismos oficiales y suboficiales, entra la gran industria a por plusvalías, es decir, van a intentar ir a por ese mayor precio sin dar más calidad, entre otras cosas porque gran industria es sinónimo de producción masiva y eso es incompatible con la calidad y con el respeto al medio ambiente y a muchas otras cosas. Siempre se ha justificado el sobreprecio en el mayor coste que supone producir en ecológico lo cual no es del todo cierto (los pesticidas o las semillas transgénicas son muy caras). La diferencia de costes está sobretodo en los volúmenes que se mueven, la sobreproducción, la logística, las economías de escala. Y por supuesto los costes sociales y externalidades que se pagan entre todos. Eso es lo que abarata costes.

En las dos últimas décadas continúa la convergencia entre el modelo insostenible y el ecológico, ya hay grandes empresas elaborando productos con etiqueta ecológica, grandes cadenas de distribución vendiendo productos ecológicos con las exigencias de volumen, precio y estandarización que ello conlleva.

En el año 2010, ante una realidad fraudulenta que consiste en vender como vino ecológico el vino que simplemente se ha elaborado a partir de uvas de cultivo ecológico certificado, la Comisión de la Unión Europea ha intentado promulgar una regulación para poner un poco de orden pero ha tenido que desistir por las presiones de gobiernos e industria.

Bruselas retira su propuesta de nuevas reglas para el vino ecológico por falta de apoyos

Bruselas retira su propuesta para regular los vinos ecológicos

La UE no regulará el vino ecológico

No hay vino ecológico

Los límites de lo ecológico

El hecho de que no exista una regulación no quiere decir que no existan vinos ecológicos, lo que pasa es que ante la perversión del concepto y en línea con lo que ocurre en otros países europeos, los productores fieles a esa filosofía hemos preferido llamarlos «vinos naturales» y fundar la Asociación de Productores de Vinos Naturales.

Vino Natural

The Quest for Andalusian reds | Spain Gourmetour

The key to making red wine in Andalusia, where it is not unusual for summer temperatures to reach 40ºC (104ºF) in the shade, is to protect the vines from the ravages of the heat. As a result, growers have sought out high lands where there are cooling breezes and the soils are acid and balanced. But this has led them to rugged terrain and steep slopes n areas such as the Alpujarra (Granada/Almeria), the mountainous parts to the north of Seville and the Ronda mountains (Málaga), which are gradually being planted again with vines. And most of these vine are red varieties.

Manuel Valenzuela was the first to establish vineyards at such heights, in a district called Costa-Albondón. Growers had previously been reluctant to go so high, resigning themselves to making rough, cloudy wines. He tells us his small vineyard called Cerro de la Monjas is at an altitude of almost 1,400 m (4,593 ft), one of the highest in Continental Europe. His home and winery, Cortijo Barranco Oscuro, is in Cádiar, Sierra de la Contraviesa, in the midst of the Alpujarras. He set out as a winemaker, some would say at great risk, using organic methods. He tried out varieties that were reminiscent of times past, such as the rare white Vijariego, which only exists in Granada and the Canary Islands. But he also tried his hand at some of the French and Italian stocks that are famous on the international wine-growing scene. His most representative wine is named after its altitude: Barranco Oscuro 1368. It is made from Garnacha, Cabernet (both Sauvignon and Franc), Merlot and Tempranillo. He also makes a Pinot Noir called Borgoñón. At this altitude, the grapes develop a surprising elegance and great personality.


The Quest for Andalusian reds

The Pure Pleasure Of Organic Wine | Absolute Marbella

Four hours drive from Marbella in the breathtaking mountain countryside of the Alpujarras lies Cádiar, home of wine maker extraordinary, Manuel Valenzuela. For 20 years he has been tilling his small vineyard on the craggy mountainside, trying to produce wine as it was made in this area centuries ago -organically. At last he has succeeded, and the world is beating a path to his door. When Manuel was a company employee in Barcelona, he had always dreamed of returning to his native Alpujarras to work with the soil and gave up the chance of heading up the company to realise his dream, buying an old vineyard with a bodega -literally blind because a thick mist that day prevented him from seeing what he was geting for his money.

Chemical Cocktail
Wine producers all over the world are never slow to say how many years their products have been matured, or what grapes they used to make them, but ask them what chemicals they add and their attitude changes. Claude Bourguignon, the French microbiologist, told the wine makers of Burgundy 20 years ago that their vineyards were as dead as the Sahara Desert. Decades of spreading pesticides to kill off insects, weeds and diseases and the addition of millions of tons of artificial nitrate fertilisers had left the soil without a worm or even an ant. The subterranean water supply was seriously polluted.

Regrettably this is the pattern throughout the wine-growing world. Ten of the main chemicals used are prejudicial to the health. The preservative sulphur dioxide cause allergic reactions, pesticides carbyl, mancozeb, benomyl and diciobenil are carcinogens, metam sodium and oxyluorfen can cause birth defects, dimethoate causes reproductive problems and methyl bromide, nerve disorders. One tonne of chemicals is used to produce 8.000 bottles of Burgundy, and the Production of mass-market wine accounts for nearly half the pesticides used on agricultural land.

Most people know someone who has had to stop drinking wine because it causes an allergic reaction. The good news is that it is not the wine at fault, just the added chemicals so organic wine is safe to drink and actually does taste better. Californian producers market it on that basis and if you try / a bottle of organic wine, rather like eating a naturally reared tomato or potato, you will notice the difference.

Happily for the wine drinker, there is now no necessity to take in harmful chemicals with the daily tipple as most countries now produce organic wine unsurprisingly the US is in the lead by a long way. Spain is not far behind. In 1997 there were 3,120 hectares dedicated to producing organic wine (vino ecológico or vino biológico, as it is known here) and a year later, the spread of organic vineyards had almost doubled. There are now at least 25 bodegas making organic wine and the number is increasing. Even those producers who have not gone organic have finally realised that killing off the soil and poisoning underground water supplies is counterproductive. They now use ultralight 4×4 tractors which do not compact the soil between the vines and new chemical sprays which avoid over-dosification.

Killer Almonds
When Manuel Valenzuela started, he admits he knew nothing about wine making and even less about organic wine making. Without the guidance of Manuel Carrillo and the backing of the Junta de Andalucía, he may have been battling against the elements even today, but he followed the advice offered and planted new vines, at the same time rooting out the almond trees on his land. «Almonds were planted fairly recently on a huge scale», says Manuel, «and practically all the local vineyards were destroyed in the process. But this has resulted in the desertisation of the hillsides, since almond trees encourage soil erosion, whereas vines hold the soil.»

In 1986, Manuel visited France and returned with a clearer idea of the sort of wine he wanted to produce. Using such grape varieties as cabernet, garnacha, tempranillo and a selection of local varieties, he began to concentrate on perfecting wines which were pesticide and artificial fertiliser-free.

His production is minuscule. No more than 5,000 bottles of the now famous Barranco Oscuro Tinto ’98 reached the market although within the next three or four years this quantity should double with future vintages. Manuel is building a new winery with a capacity of 300 barreis, to be inaugurated next month. «In my lifetime I will probably put down about 120 barreis» , he says. «That’s enough for me».

Other wines have been made with varying degrees of success. The Barranco Oscuro Brut is the only organic cava in Spain, made from the vigiriega grape and the hand-written label stands out on store shelves, where it sells for 1,250 pesetas -if you can find it. There is also a white wine but this, although quite pleasant, has been relegated to the back of the cellar.

A Cottage Industry
Ask Manuel how he markets his wine and you will get a blank look. If you insist, he will admit that buyers just turn up on his doorstep with pockets full of cash. The Germans are particularly keen on his wine, and several dealers regularly descend on Manuel’s finca and take back all they can load into their vehicles. A recent buyer complained that the labels did not mention that the wines were organically-produced, so Manuel fetched a roll of the official labels issued by the Junta de Andalucía and told the buyer to stick them on himself because he did not have the time.

In spite of the fact that his Barranco Oscuro has been well reviewed in the Spanish press, Manuel feels that he may vary the composition slightly for future vintages. Using tempranillo and a little garnacha, there is no doubt that the present mix is effective, but Manuel believes he can make it even better. It sells at 1,650 pesetas, ex-bodega and has been described by El Pais newspaper as the ‘glorioso Barranco Oscuro’. There is a more corriente red wine, made with tempranillo only, which sells at 850 pesetas.

As we loaded up the car with as much Barranco Oscuro as Manuel deemed prudent to let us have, we promised to return. Indeed, this would seem to be the only way of ensuring a supply of his wine, since although I am sure it is available in wine stores somewhere, Manuel was not much help on this topic.

If you visit Cádiar, consider staying overnight at the Alquería de Morayma. This is a small country hotel classified officially as a centro agro turístico, 85 kms from Granada and Almería. Double rooms start at a reasonable 7,000 pesetas and the excellent restaurant serves local Alpujarran fare with wine from local vineyards.

The Pure Pleasure Of Organic Wine (Absolute Marbella, septiembre 2000)
The Pure Pleasure Of Organic Wine (Absolute Marbella, septiembre 2000)