Understanding the purity of organic wine
The demand for organic wines is continuing to grow and the rise in both the quality and the quantity of organic wines available in Australia is a factor in this growth.
Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about businesses and products as a whole being more sustainable and the ethical nature of farming, for many, has them turning towards organic wines as well.
Being organic does require a different way of thinking and farming for many vineyards as they eliminate herbicides and pesticides from their vines and work with nature and composts to create more natural ecosystems.
While more and more vineyards are going through the conversion process, there are many who are already there and some that have been organic for a long time.
One such winery is Champagne Lanson, one of the oldest Champagne Houses with a history over 250 years old, and one which was first imported into Australia in 1855. It is still a family-run House and one which has seen a lot of investment recently in helping its growers to become certified as sustainable and using traditional farming methods.
Lanson has always been on a quest for natural purity of fruit, being committed to the traditional winemaking method of avoiding malolactic fermentation. This commitment is reflected in the House style with refreshing mouth-watering fruity notes and a great ageing potential.
Chef de Caves, Hervé Dantan, said that while it’s not necessarily a more difficult style of winemaking, it does mean you have to be very patient.
“We age our Champagne for a very long time, more than other houses. For example Lanson Père et Fils (a non-vintage Brut) is aged five years on lees. This is a really long time. The law in Champagne says that you need to keep the bottles for 15 months and we wait five years.
“So it’s not that it’s challenging, it’s a tradition and we have to be patient. Lanson has always developed its wines like this and we will continue to do it this way.”
Dantan also says that while the House will always remain traditional, this does not stop it from being innovative and looking at different ways to create wines that still respect the Lanson style. In fact it was from this drive for innovation that the Lanson Green Label Organic Champagne was born.
Business Development Manager Charlotte Agard explains that this is in fact quite a rare wine.
“There are very few organics Champagnes and we would be the largest House to be producing one at this stage.
“In 2011 Lanson bought some organic plots, 16 hectares in total, and this is only produced from those extra vineyards which are truly certified organic grapes.”
Dantan did admit that making an organic Champagne was “very challenging”.
He added: “This is because we are in Champagne, and in Champagne the climate means we have a lot of rain particularly in our growing time between March and harvest in September.
“So our viniculture is very complicated, but it is possible and we have our certifications. The main problem is to avoid mildew, which is a problem because of the rain.
“It is difficult but it is also very interesting because we learn a lot about new ways for having cleaner viticulture. It has also helped us with the sustainable certifications for us and our partners and this is important because it is the future for Champagne to be cleaner and cleaner in the vineyard.”
Speaking about the wine Dantan said: “It’s a very interesting wine, 16 hectares, one estate for a limited number of bottles. The idea is not to increase the quantity, our organic Champagne will only be coming from this estate.
“On this vineyard we have Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The wine is 50 per cent Pinot Noir, 30 per cent Meunier and 20 per cent Chardonnay. It is located in the Marne Valley and this is a region where the wines are very fruity and with organic viticulture we have also managed to reveal a lot of saltiness and minerality. But the main difference between organic and non-organic is that you can express higher levels of minerality and this wine is a really good example.
“There is still a lot of fruitiness in the wine, pear and green apple but also sunflower and honey notes, so this is a wine that is really dynamic.”
To the eye the wine offers fine and persistent bubbles which give life to the rich amber gold and it is an ideal aperitif wine but can also accompany more elaborate fish or grilled meat dishes.
The wine is available now in selected retailers across Australia through Young & Rashleigh Wine Merchants, with a $95 RRP and is a perfect Christmas gift for those looking for a Champagne gift that hits the sustainable, organic and delicious notes.
Contact Young & Rashleigh Wine Merchants:
Phone : 02 9967 5900