Many of my respected winemaking friends say that, while the benefits to the land of biodynamic agriculture are a major positive, they are equally motivated by its impact on the wines’ quality. Having tasted these wines over many years, I agree that converting to biodynamic methods has been better for the environment and produces better-than-ever wines.
Bonny Doon Ca’ del Solo Sangiovese, San Benito County 2005, $14
A fantastically food-worthy wine. Sangiovese, the grape in Chianti, is known for its mouthwatering strawberry fruit, zingy acidity and sandalwood spiciness. This one’s got all those qualities in spades.
—Suggested recipe pairing: Rigatoni with Beef & Eggplant Ragu
Marc Kreydenweiss Andlau Riesling, Alsace, France 2005, $24
The incredible depth of flavor in this totally oak-free, totally dry Riesling is surely the soil itself talking. The scent of starfruit, waxy honeycomb and Meyer lemon complements deeply concentrated lemon curd and grapefruit flavors, and there’s a long, nutty-creamy finish.
—Suggested recipe pairing: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Spicy Soy Sauce
Robert Sinskey Abraxas, Carneros, California 2006, $29
A fun and delicious, savory-floral blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer. Bursts of spicy-flowery, zippy citrus dance across the palate, creating a lively backdrop for food: especially salads, Asian and Southwestern fare.
—Suggested recipe pairing: Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad
Quivira Wine Creek Ranch Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, California 2005, $30
A fantastic Zin that's got the balance right: plenty of classic blueberries-and-chocolate Dry Creek Zin character, without excessive alcohol and oak. It's pure pleasure to enjoy the juicy fruit and spice, the underpinning of meatiness, and the long spicy finish, without going numb from the alcohol.
—Suggested recipe pairing: Sirloin & Portobello Stew
Grgich Hills Zinfandel Estate Grown, Napa 2005, $33
In my book this is one of the best Zins made in California. It is rich, chewy and layered, with complex scents of molasses, leather, black raspberry and spice. While it is delicious now, I believe it will age beautifully, too.
—Suggested recipe pairing: Grilled Buffalo Steak with Radicchio-Beet Skewers
Benziger Obsidian Point Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Mountain 2005, $60
A surprising juxtaposition of graceful and complex layers surrounding a powerfully concentrated core. Elegant and savory nose, with rosemary, thyme, wet brick and rust scents. On the palate it is surprisingly sleek-textured, with subtle cassis, plum and smoke flavors carrying through to the finish.
—Suggested recipe pairing: Coffee Bean & Peppercorn Steak
—Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson has a new online video wine course at andreawine.com.