About 15 years ago, a friend brought an organic wine to a dinner party I was giving. He explained to me that in addition to being made from grapes that are grown organically, organic wines don't contain any added sulfites (some sulfites occur naturally as a result of the fermentation process). Since I try hard to use organic products as much as I can afford to, I began to look for organic wines when I went shopping.
The choices were few and far between. Wine-industry people I knew seemed to hate the organic wine. They'd say, "Organic wine is awful! No winemaker in his or her right mind would make a wine without sulfites!"
Recently, however, I've seen more organic wines appear on the shelves, and I decided it was time to explore this topic in greater depth. So I visited the Boston Wine School to talk to Jonathon Alsop, the school's founder and executive director, who kindly created a personal magical mystery tour of organic wines for me.
He set out a plate of cheese and bread as well as a small dish filled with shards of dark Taza chocolate to accompany the wines. We sat down and began our tasting as is traditionally done, moving from lighter selections to darker ones. First, though, Jonathon gave me a brief primer on organic wine.