jamie goode's wine blog

Sunday, August 17, 2008

carboNZero Riesling: what does it mean?

One of the bottles opened last night was a Grove Mill Riesling 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand. A very attractive, intense, piercing Riesling full of racy lime and grapefruit, with the high acid nicely countered by some residual sugar. A good buy at 8.99 from Threhser.

Prominently displayed on the label was the carboNZero logo, advertising that this wine was carbon neutral. But what exactly, in practical terms does this mean? And are we going to be seeing increasing numbers of wines sold on a green marketing ticket?

Grove Mill's website gives some more information. 'carboNZero' is managed by Landcare Research New Zealand. Grove Mill itself is a brand owned by the New Zealand Wine Company (NZWC), and they took three steps to achieve this certification. First they measured their carbon footprint. Then they tried to reduce it as much as possible. And the balance they offset. 'For NZWC we were able to purchase credits from a local carbon farmer, Ron Marriott, in the Marlborough Sounds', says the website. A 'carbon farmer'? I guess, if enough people are wanting to offset their emissions, then there's money to be made by planting trees on land you own.

When you see a wine company making a fuss on their label about their environmental credentials, it's easy to feel a bit cynical about their motivations. But the NZWC are doing this properly, and it's good to see that there's some substance behing the marketing talk.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Two Chileans: Carmenere and Climate Change

Two relatively inexpensive Chilean wines this evening. The first, a really attractive Carmenere, which is a variety that's beginning to show itself as one of Chile's best. When it ripens properly it makes lovely dark, smooth, textured reds with autumnal flavours and a subtly minerally crunch. The second is a Cabernet Carmenere with nice fruit, but whose most distinctive feature is its greenness (although we aren't talking here about 'greenness' as it is normally associated with Chilean wine). It comes with a neck tag that boasts 'CO2 emissions from the transportation of this wine have been offset'. You can read more about what Ventisquero, the producer, have been doing on this issue here. [On this website I found out that the cost of offsetting the flight for my recent Argentina trip is 25, which seems quite reasonable.]

Luis Felipe Edwards Carmenere 2006 Colchagua, Chile
A delicious, inexpensive example of how good Carmenere can be. Broad, richly textured, smooth dark fruits dominate, with a subtle minerally, spicy undercurrent that holds the interest. It's quite blackcurranty, but there's some darker, spicier depth to the fruit that I like. 86/100 (5.99 Tesco)

Yali Winemaker's Selection Cabernet Carmenere 2006 Colchagua, Chile
With a neck-tag announcing that the CO2 emissions of this wine have been offset. There's a subtle rubbery edge to the nose, which otherwise displays bright, ripe berry fruit, with a hint of plumminess. The palate has a savoury edge to the ripe berryish fruit, with a sort of bittersweet character. Quite attractive in an easy-drinking style. 82/100 (5.99 Majestic)

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