PINOT NOIR 2013
Los Carneros Napa Valley
Stunningly beautiful aromatics of tart cherry and fraises du bois. This wine is deceptive on first taste, seemingly light-bodied yet emboldened with incredible depth and length wrapped around a rich mid-palate. Lush red fruits (cranberry, raspberry, cherry) baking spice, orange zest and tea. Elegant with bright, mouth watering acidity and supple tannin, this wine screams for company and a great meal.
Can farming save the planet?
The hippies might’ve accidentally gotten it right. Who’d have thunk that the “turn-on, tune-in, drop-out generation” with a “back-to-nature” philosophy might actually hold the key to our future…
A not too long time ago, all farming was organic. People worked with what they had and good farmers instinctively knew the health of the soil was vital to quality crops. As the industrial revolution mechanized agriculture, farming became more like mining. Nutrients were stripped from the earth, soil tilled, pulverized, sterilized and doused with chemicals in an arrogant attempt to “improve” natural processes in the name of efficiency, production and economics. Today, modern “conventional” farming is now one of the biggest contributors to green-house gas emissions - but, instead of being the problem, it could be the solution.
The Paris Agreement of 2015 finally put climate change on the front burner. The agreement emphasizes reducing the release of carbon into the atmosphere through massive, disruptive changes in our habits and economies, but there was very little talk of methods to remove and sequester the carbon already released.
The most important idea is that we need to reduce “net” carbon in the atmosphere. This can be achieved by restricting greenhouse gas emissions (the most obvious is from burning of fossil fuels) but what if we found a magic filter that could remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it? Would you believe it already exists? “It” is called soil and, if managed correctly, can become a carbon sink, sequestering so much carbon from the atmosphere that we could actually achieve negative net atmospheric carbon if big agriculture would adopt what is being called “Regenerative Organic Agriculture.” Since I don’t have room to go into detail here, please read this white paper: rodaleinstitute.org/assets/WhitePaper.pdf
Just think about the ramifications… or lack there of. If governments provided incentives for “big Ag” to adopt regenerative agricultural methods and consumers demanded all products conform to these methods, then we might have a chance to reduce climate change and, at the same time, feed the billions of new humans that will inhabit the earth.
Most people think of organic agriculture as elitist and expensive, but it does not need to be that way. Most of the cost of conventional farming is deferred cost. We may not be paying these costs at the cash register but we pay for them later through local health issues from direct or indirect contact with potentially toxic chemicals and the global contribution of green house gasses. But not only does conventional ag add carbon through the use of heavy farm equipment, it doubles down on the net increase of atmospheric carbon as both mechanical and chemical tillage releases sequestered carbon from the soil.
If all farming were regenerative and organic, there would no longer be two strata of prices. Currently, conventional produce entices consumers at the register with low prices while organic sometimes gouges because it attracts the exclusive elite market. If all farming were organic, the forces of supply and demand would create a more competitive, level playing field where all organic food could be priced more affordably.
When you buy organic, you’re not just doing the right thing for your family, you’re doing the right thing for the planet. Just remember that your pocketbook is the most powerful voting tool in the free market.
Rich and Bright
If you’ve ever eaten a rich, fatty dish, you know how hard it is to keep going unless you have something bright to cut through the fat to refresh your palate. It could be pickles on a juicy hamburger or tartly dressed frisee accompanying duck confit. Most of the time, especially in Europe, a vibrant glass of wine with fresh, mouth-watering acidity does the trick. That’s what makes RSV’s 2013 Los Carneros Pinot Noir - with its bright, fresh acidity - pair so well with lush, rich pork rillette.
This Pinot Noir is not a shy wine. Continuation of the drought brought Pinot Noir clusters with small berries and thick skins to the cellar door. The 2013 vintage has a beautiful balance of bright acidity, supple tannin and wonderful perfume. It is guaranteed to refresh your palate after each bite.
A treat today, rillette was born of necessity by farmers and peasants who needed to preserve fresh meat harvested in the fall. Cooked and stored in fat to last the winter, rillette provided the fat calories and protein needed to fuel a hard-working farmer. Precious spices were added in small amounts, slowly releasing their fragrance to perfume the potted meat with more intensity the longer it rested under its mantle of fat. Rillette, whether made from duck or pork, is a delicious fatty treat served with the bright acid of cornichon, whole-grain mustard and, of course, a glass of Pinot Noir!
Until the Next Wine....
EAT: Pork Rillette
Lucky “13” - the vintage of 2013 was the second great vintage in a row. It was also another drought year. Less crop than the prior year with smaller grapes and thicker skins, this vintage of Pinot Noir was born with both beauty and brains.
A long, cool growing season with few anomalies, RSV’s CCOF certified organic Carneros vineyards produced balanced crops of fruit that took their time ripening. Each vineyard could be night harvested block by block without putting undue stress on the cellar logistics.
The cold grapes were waiting each morning at the cellar door, de-stemmed and allowed to ferment on natural, feral yeasts. Once dry, the wines were put to bed in 30% new French oak in the RSV caves where they rested for almost one year before bottling.
ロスカーネロス ピノ・ノアール 2013年