Wines produced from biodynamically grown grapes are often described as being super-organic.
But that doesn’t really tell us too much about what actually goes on in a biodynamic vineyard, so I thought it might be useful to sum up a few of the key points.
To start out we need to think of biodynamics as an holistic philosophy rather than just a set of agricultural practices.
These philosophical principles were first put forward by Austrian philosopher–scientist Rudolf Steiner in 1924.
According to Steiner there are very strong links between the material and spiritual worlds, and it is with respect to these links that he drew up the foundations of biodynamic agriculture, such as paying special attention to the lunar calendar before doing anything in the vineyard.
Now I know this is all starting to sound a bit hippy and mystical, but one of the central principles is the view that the soil itself is an organism and therefore the idea of using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is completely out of the question.
It is to this principle that most biodynamic wine producers are attracted, and in fact many will distance themselves from some of the more kooky elements of the philosophy.
One thing is certain Biodynamism is here to stay and as more and more producers are gaining certification there are some wines of truly amazing quality being produced.
I have picked out a couple of great examples below.
From Alsace, Marc Kreydenweiss’ Andlau (€18.99) is a small production, estate-grown Riesling derived from slopes that are a continuation of Grand Cru land.
This white is delicate and floral at the moment but with tremendous underlying fruit.
It proves a dream of a Riesling and the perfect match for aromatic Cantonese or Thai cuisine.
Emiliana's winemaker Alvaro Espinoza is Chile's leading exponent of biodynamic practices.
His wines have tremendous purity and depth of fruit and none more so than the magnificent Coyam (€17.49 down from €20.99).
Rich and powerful but still softly textured, it's a bit like a Chilean Châteuneuf-du-Pape.
Try it with slow roast shoulder of lamb for a match made in heaven.