A few weeks ago, with everyone's panties in a bunch about St. Patrick's Day and everything being turned green, I was inspired to start thinking about green wine. No, not like green beer, but wine that's produced organically, biodynamically or with organic grapes. So I happened over to Sam's Wines to browse their massive aisles to see what they had to offer.
Since more and more people are eating organic food, it's only natural they would also want to explore organic wine. Even Alpana Singh recently wrote a column breaking down the different organic wine classifications. So, if you're into going more au natural with your wine, check out some of these options from all over the globe, all available at Sam's in Lincoln Park.
2006 Santa Helena Seleccion Gran Reserva Pinot Noir, $14.99 -- most people think of Burgundy or the Pacific Northwest when picking out a delicious Pinot Noir but Chile is the undiscovered gem of wines these days. The country's Sauvignon Blancs and Carmeneres are quickly gaining steam and most of their wines are a great deal.
2008 Cono Sur Chardonnay Colchagua, $8.99 -- this wine may be young and could use a bit of aging, but is drinkable now. It's crisp and hardly oaky but what makes Cono Sur's wines appealing is its Carbon Dioxide-neutral shipping -- and their grapes are all organic to boot. Be sure to check out the other varietals, especially their Pinot Noir.
2007 Parrillada Syrah, $8.99 -- Syrah, from Argentina? You mean Malbec, right? Nope. Try this berry-filled, lush, smoky Syrah. Would be great to bring to Tango Sur to pair with their hearty Argentinean meats.
2004 Vieux Pourret St. Emilion Grand Cru, $23.99 -- this is a big wine, blended of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and yes, it's made of biodynamic and organic certified grapes. Dark fruit, cassis, spice, softer tannins, long finish and plays well with a lot of food.
2007 Domaine de Valescure Chardonnay Vin de Pays du Gard, $11.99 -- a great value Old World-style Chard. Sam's scored it 90 points and you'll be pleased with its pear and apple notes and slight tart flavor while you drink it with chicken or fish.
2006 Mirabile Nero d' Avila, $12.99 -- if you're looking for a light, fruity and bright wine to pair with pasta or pizza, look no further. This Sicilian grape will definitely put a smile on your face.
2007 Beckman Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec, $18.99 -- love a good Rhone blend? Then you'll flip for this Grenache (44%), Syrah (28%), Mouvedre (20%) and Counoise (8%) from Santa Barbara.
2007 Orleans Hill Lodi Syrah, $9.99 -- this wine is sulfite free -- so don't be surprised if it's lighter than you're used to but if you're a purist, this is one to check out.
On a totally different note, if you like Banfi wines, then you need to get to the Capital Grille this week for a special prix fixe meal. The restaurant chain has paired with Costello Banfi to introduce the winery's 2005 BelnerO Sangiovese di Montalcino. The five-course, $45 per person prix fixe (the wine is extra at about $65 a bottle) will feature creamy porcini mushroom soup, swordfish roasted in parchment paper, herb marinated, dry-aged tenderloin and black truffle mac 'n' cheese. Even if the food didn't sound so good, I can tell you that the wine is going to blow your mind: big, jammy, fruit forward, nice tannins, long finish.
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