They Taste Like Grapes and Earth

Organic wines are hot, according to Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, wine columnists for The Wall Street Journal. "They’re attracting unprecedented attention both from consumers and from today’s more skilled winemakers," says Gaiter.

In a recent tasting, this expert duo found they enjoyed the wines labeled "made with organically grown grapes" more than those labeled "organic." Says Brecher: "The best tasted like grapes and earth, period." They had a certain freshness and honesty about them."

Gaiter adds: "We discerned no overall difference in price and quality from conventionally made wines. We saw no reason to avoid these wines."

Vineyard/Vintage: H. Coturri & Sons Grenache 2004, Testa Vineyards, Mendocino County, California; $19.99
Comments: Simply outstanding, with intense tastes of tightly wound fruit and rich earth. This wine proves, dramatically, that even reasonably priced California wines can express terroir.

Vineyard/Vintage: Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay 2004, Mendocino County, California; $12.49
Comments: Fresh, light tastes, with some earth, some weight and some nutmeg, but primarily just good, fetching fruit.

Vineyard/Vintage: Brick House Wine Company Pinot Noir (Cuvee de Tonnelier) 2004, Willamette Valley, Oregon; $47.99
Comments: It even smells rich and thick. What an experience, with intense fruit flavors, layers of earthy complexity and even some chocolate and herbs. Quite young.

Vineyard/Vintage: Klaus Knobloch Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2004, Rheinhessen, Germany; $17.99
Comments: Light and dry, with plenty of underlying minerals and tastes of peaches, kiwi and grapefruit. Very clean, with some stature.

Vineyard/Vintage: Domaine du Jas d"Esclans Cotes de Provence 2003, France; $17.99
Comments: What rose can be: dry, steely, fresh, clean and great with food.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher write the weekly "Tastings" column in The Wall Street Journal, and have published four wine books.