Paula’s Wines of the Week – 14 September 2020

Paula’s Wines of the Week – 14 September 2020

Reusing weeds to grow grapes

Biodynamics is an organic method to grow crops, including grapes. Followers of biodynamic theory believe that by putting back into the soil everything nature produces, and I mean everything, vines can grow and wine can be made in harmony with the earth’s rhythms.

The theory states that infusions made with dandelion, valerian and chamomile flowers; water and cow dung must be sprayed on the vines.

These “teas” are a crude supplier of essential plant nutrients and are supplemented with the composting remains of cow horn and stag’s bladder stuffed with manure. Their great advantage to any grower is that they’re free. All the vineyard owner needs do is walk to an untended corner and pull up a few weeds and tidy up anything dropped from the cattle wandering about their vineyard.

This is my kind of gardening. Why spend hard earned cash on petrol driving to the local agri-merchant and on fertilisers supplied in uncompostable plastic containers?

Biodynamicists do have to spend some money on getting in crushed quartz stone to make preparation “501” – quartz dynamised with water (that’s stirred vigorously to you and me). Sprayed on grapes it helps to concentrate their flavour.

Quartz rock contains silica. Silica absorbs water – just think of those small silica-gel sachets found in new shoes that help remove moisture – and it’s very useful in taking excess moisture from over-rained on grapes that have become swollen and diluted.

Biodynamic grape-growing practice contains some sound gardening chemistry and common sense. If it didn’t surround itself with mumbo-jumbo words like “dynamising” and “life forces” it might have a lot more followers.

Paula’s Wine Reviews from

Co-op Old Vine Spanish Garnacha
£5.35 Co-op
4 star review
Great value and great flavours in this single varietal wine from the Co-op. Garnacha (also known as Grenache) gives complex aromas of cherry, blackberry and liquorice coffee. The flavour has a slight sharpness of redcurrant and blueberry which stops the fruitiness being too rich.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference French Languedoc White 2017
£6.50 Sainsbury’s
4 star rating
A blend of Grenache, Marsanne and Vermentino grapes results in a light peach and banana tasting wine.

Finca Las Moras Argentinean Pinot Grigio
Co-op £7
4 star rating
A really nice white wine at a reasonable price. Refreshing fruit flavours of peach, pear and apricot make a warm-weather wine.

Arbo Malbec 2018
£13.99 Averys
4 star rating
This Grand Vin de Bordeaux has attractive aromas of creamy blackcurrant and slightly smoky cherry. The taste is distinctly perfumed, with violets coming through strongly initially, followed by fruitiness and chocolate – it’s a bit like a liqueur choc but a bit lighter. A nice wine.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5 star rating (outstanding – the top rating given by
4 star rating (very good wine)
3 star rating (good wine but over priced)
2 star rating (a disappointing wine)
1 star rating (little to offer)

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© Paula Goddard 2020