Tohu Wines Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 2021
Marlborough, New Zealand, $ 15
Tohu Wines is registered with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ), an industry-wide program that certifies both vineyards and winemaking facilities. Currently, 96 percent of New Zealand’s vineyard producing area is certified by SWNZ, ensuring the majority of New Zealand’s industry is producing sustainable wine, from grape to glass. This certification is in accordance with Tohu’s core value of kaitiakitanga (guardianship in M¯andaboutri). This dry but fruity wine is pale yellow with chartreuse highlights. The nose is rich with ruby red grapefruit and starfruit. Tropical fruits, led by pineapple, abound on the crisp palate, intertwined with citrus zest. The mouthfeel is just lush enough to linger for a moment before gliding into a passion fruit-nectar finish. Dangerously easy to drink, this sustainably crafted sauvignon will easily slide from spring into summer.
Pair it with: tomato and feta cheese pasta salad, bay scallop ceviche, and lemon-caper sole.
Tilia Winery Bonarda, 2020
Mendoza, Argentina, $ 13
Tilia Winery‘s commitment to sustainability is evident throughout its operation. It begins in the vineyard under the careful eye of their sustainability vineyard specialist and continues throughout the winemaking process. Tilia is the first Argentine wine to carry the Bodegas de Argentina Certified Sustainable Seal on its label. As of the 2020 vintage, Tilia’s label showcases a graphic representation of its sustainability program.
Produced from 100 percent bonarda, the wine is dark cherry hued. Delicate notes of oak and vanilla dance atop a core of dark red fruits. The palate portrays black cherries and black plum sauce with a bold dash of black pepper. This wonderfully chewy wine finishes on a soft anise note. A rustic red that will likely be awarded an encore appearance at your table.
Pair it with: turkey and kidney bean chili, beef steak fajitas, and grilled portobello mushroom and smoked mozzarella burgers.
WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir, 2017
Willamette Valley, Oregon, $ 26
Since 1999, LIVE has certified wineries in the Pacific Northwest for their social and environmental sustainability, based on internationally accredited standards. WillaKenzie became the first LIVE certified winery in 2008. It is also certified by Salmon Safe, a peer-reviewed accreditation program that implements farming practices to maintain the health of West Coast watersheds, allowing Pacific salmon to thrive.
Garnet in the glass, this pinot noir is redolent of ripe raspberries, with vanilla overtones. The mouthfeel is soft, and the palate is suggestive of savory boysenberry sauce with a hint of allspice. Floral notes are evident throughout, but express themselves most prominently as violets with a touch of licorice on the finish. This silky sipper is superb for entertaining, as well as evenings alone.
Pair it with: roast pork tenderloin with raspberry sauce, oven roasted salmon filets with figs, and pappardelle with fennel ragout.
What makes a wine sustainable?
While there is no single worldwide (or even national) standard for sustainable viticulture, wineries that practice sustainability can apply to independent third-party programs for certification of their sustainable environmental, societal and / or economical practices.