I’m pretty sure the fictional French red wine Olivia Pope drinks on Scandal is not organic. Most wines are not. But eventually she will come around to wanting a wine that does not have sulfites, artificial fertilizers and pesticides; especially since show creator Shonda Rhimes decided to say yes to organic food as discussed in her book Year Of Yes.
Do you like those elements in your wine? Probably not. However, while some people, many people have jumped on the organic food bandwagon, they do not always desire organic beverages.
First, it helps to understand what organic means in the context of wine. For a wine to be labeled organic and bear the USDA organic seal, it must be made from organically grown grapes and give information about who the certifying agency is. A wine in this category cannot have any added sulfites. It may have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million. The health effects or consequences of sulfites are debatable though a small percent of the population does suffer a sensitivity reaction to them. People who are sulfite sensitive can experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death.
Conventionally-grown wine grapes can be treated with synthetic pesticides, fungicides and insecticides. Organically-grown grapes cannot be treated with any synthetic pesticides, fungicides, insecticides or fertilizers. Contemporary society has normalized the belief that there are acceptable amounts of toxins – synthetic pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilizers that humans can ingest with no repercussions. It’s kind of like saying, “Hey, we know, say, rat poison is dangerous, but it’s okay to eat it in small amounts. It won’t kill you and you probably won’t get sick. However, over time the accumulation of rat poison in your body may cause cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. May cause your unborn children to have birth defects or Autism… But because our testing is inconclusive, you’re good until testing shows otherwise.”
Despite what the media says, I don’t find that small risk acceptable, not for myself or my children. But some people do, some people are fine with ingesting small amounts of toxins because the government regulatory bodies have deemed it acceptable. It’s all about personal choice really. But the trend in wine is to grow more organic grapes and produce more organic wine, which makes sense because wind drinkers typically prioritize taste, quality and the story behind the grapes.
People have been taught to gamble with their lives and the lives of their unborn children, because it makes sense financially to the companies cutting costs by using non-organic products.
But still, it’s hard right? With wine, you just want to enjoy the experience and order a glass of your favorite red, or buy the same bootle you had in the Caribbean It’s a bore, really to have to worry about Is it organic? Is it not? But unfortunately, these are the times we live in. Accessibility to organic wine is growing, and you can now find organic wine at WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s, speciality wine stores and online. You just have to do a little research and prep work.
And we’ll get you started with a list of the 7 best organic red wines on the market.
Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir 2012
Earthy and spicy with notes and flavors of raspberry and strawberry.
@AWomanReading says: This Pinot Noir is a well-made, inexpensive table wine perfect for the red wine novice or wine aficionado on a budget.
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2007
Big and bold, with notes of red fruit and leather and flavors of black cherry.
@AWomanReading says: Despite what Scandal would have you believe, popcorn is not best paired with red wine, an un-oaked buttery Chardonnay would be best. However, if you must, this elegant, earthy Italian wine paired with popcorn liberally dusted with aged Asiago or Pecorino Toscano plus sea salt and organic butter will probably keep you happy.
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Big and bold with notes of dark fruit, dried herbs and graphite, flavors of Bing cherry and blackberry.
Napa Valley, CA
@AWomanReading says: This big cab will pair well with curry chicken and potatoes or spicy BBQ chicken, a nice dinner or picnic wine.
Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2010
Big and bold with notes of cherries and blueberries, flavors of savory herbs.
@AWomanReading says: This is a red for the foodie with a well-developed palate and desires strength and lots of character in their wine. Would go well with a medium-rare steak or tangy ribs.
Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012
Smooth and supple with notes of red fruit, blackberries and spice, flavors of figs and cherries.
@AWomanReading says: If you’re just looking for an excellent glass of wine to drink. this is the perfect selection. Just close your eyes and enjoy the elegance of this red.
Cayuse Armada Syrah 2007
Big and bold with notes of smoke, meat, lavender and blueberry.
Walla Walla Valley, Washington
@AWomanReading says: Gift this wine to the red wine snob you love the most. They will be uber impressed.
Frog’s Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Big and bold with notes of cassis-currant, earthy flavors of cedar and black olive
Napa Valley, CA
@AWomanReading says: Our best recommendation for being like Olivia Pope, pairs well with a greasy gourmet burger.
Note: Be sure to decant this wine.