Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Organic Estate Wineries Dominate The Daily Meal's Top 10 Wineries List for Second Year in a Row

The Daily Meal web site, an online web site focused on food and drink, has once again announced its list of the 2016 Top 100 Wineries in the U.S. based on input from 50 somms, chefs, restauranteurs and wine writers.

For the second year in a row, five of the top 100 are wineries with organic vineyards.

In the U.S., fewer than 3 percent of vineyards are organically farmed, even in fine wine areas. Five wineries with extensive organic estates in the top 10 means they're outperforming their peers with conventional vineyards significantly, since their numbers represent 50% (not 3%) of the top ten.

Overall, there were 13 wineries with certified organic estates on the list.

Of these, 11 made the 2015 list as well.

1. Ridge Vineyards
No surprise - this is one of the country's bests on almost any list. The Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet - internationally acclaimed, every prize in the book. The old vine Zins from its Sonoma vines - also top rated (and much more affordably priced).
Organic vineyard acreage: 277

2. Tablas Creek
This Rhone powerhouse in Paso Robles brings the cachet of the Perrin family of Chateauneuf du Pape to a limestone rich site in California's Central Coast. Plus, the Paso estate features a vineyard full of the Perrin's valuable Rhone clones.
Organic vineyard acreage127

4. Calera
Another Central Coast wonder created by an American vintner obsessed with finding just the right limestone soil - but in his case, it was for growing Pinot Noir. It's been acclaimed for decades - and justly so.
Organic vineyard acreage83

6. Heitz Wine Cellars
A grande old dame of the Napa Valley, Heitz makes acclaimed Cabernet and a very nice Sauvignon Blanc. Its Trailside Cabernet is not to be missed. (Nor the Martha's.)
Organic vineyard acreage: 275

10. Robert Sinskey Vineyards
A Pinot Noir powerhouse in Napa's Carneros region, Sinskey has prevailed over wine critics who "didn't get" its food friendly wines by appealing to chefs directly and finding receptivity there. It also makes a great Alsatian blend.
Organic vineyard acreage: 176

11. Turley*
Old vines and especially old vine Zinfandel rule here. They make more than 14 unique single vineyard wines from historic vineyards around the state. Visit them in Paso for the biggest selection.
Organic vineyard acreage: 150

23. QupĂ© 
California's best Rhone wines. The estate wines are Biodynamically farmed and made with native yeast and without additives (except sulfites to preserve the wine). It's a high wire act - making sure the terroir, the vintage, and the yeasts all sync up - and they do, producing stellar wines vintage after vintage.
Organic and Biodynamic vineyard acreage: 40

33. Spottswoode
Often charmingly referred to as the Grace Kelly of Napa, this pristine St. Helena estate is the product of the Novak family, who rose from a tragic death in the family to create one of the region's most renowned Cabernet brands.
Organic and Biodynamic vineyard acreage: 40

50. Neyers
All of its current estate wines come from certified vines (although future vintages will not). The Cabernet, Merlot and Left Bank Red are all from its organic estate and are highly recommended.
Organic vineyard acreage: 12 (through 2014)

55. Beckmen Vineyards
A leader in the American Rhone movement, the Beckmen's Biodynamically farmed Ballard Canyon vineyard is a thing of beauty, perched on the top of Purisima Mountain. You can choose from three different Grenaches or four different Syrahs, made from its grapes - that's how meticulous the Beckmens are.
Organic and Biodynamic vineyard acreage: 125

70. Eyrie Vineyards
The most famous Pinot Noir winery in Oregon, run by the descendants of those who brought the fabled Burgundian grapevine to its Northwest home. Try the white wines, too.
Organic vineyard acreage: 150

81. Bokisch Vineyards
The Lodi outlier for being both devoted to Spanish varietals and organic farming - neither of which are common among in this Central Valley region. Its wines are affordably priced, too. If you haven't tried Albarino, now may be the time.
Organic vineyard acreage: 84

88. Staglin Family Vineyard*
A Cabernet great among greats in Napa Valley, it grows its Cab on sites beloved by the great Andre Tchelistcheff, a giant among giants in Napa, for his own Beaulieu reserve Cab back in the day. Their wine philanthropy is admirable.
Organic vineyard acreage: 41

*Wineries that were not on the 2015 list (strangely enough) but were added to the 2016 list.

See the 2015 organic winners here.

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