Sipping sustainably - Environmental, social and governance (ESG) in the wine industry: Navigating challenges for sustainable growth
ESG has emerged as one of the core strategies in the wine industry to integrate sustainability into business goals and achieve sustainable growth. Environmentally friendly winegrowing practices have gained ground as sustainable vineyards continue to amass popularity. Wineries and vineyards have warranted social and environmentally responsible approaches to ensure soil, community and industry health. It has been proven that an emphasis on pest management, energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management and supply chain can foster sustainable viticulture.
Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre, “Les Garennes,” Loire Valley 2018
A beautifully balanced, multi-layered wine, an excellent example of top-quality Sancerre. The nose entices you with intense aromas of grapefruit, ripe pear, and citrus blossom alongside a hint of smoke.
The palate is richly textured and powerful, with complex layers of ripe stone and citrus fruits alongside lingering flinty notes leading to an immensely long finish.
Frederic Cossard, Beaune Blanc, “Bressandes,” Burgundy 2018
The bouquet offers a lovely pure and quite exotic fruit ... rich and citrus infused with a sandy minerality underneath the ample fruit. On the palate quite rich for a white Cossard … it’s fruity, quite airy … with a lovely nerve. A very interesting wine with its richness and creamy textures.
Monthelie Douhairet Porcheret, Pommard, “1er Cru Chanlins,” Burgundy 2019
This classy Burgundy fans out gradually expanding aromas of dark spiced cherry, black raspberry and red currant in harmony with slightly smokey undertones that include forest earth and dark tobacco. Things seem more evolved on the palate where a rich mineral strain joins hints of tobacco and toffee to contrast more piquant notes of red plum, red currant and cranberry which freshen core flavors of dark cherry, red boysenberry and black raspberry. Rich yet firm on the palate and lingering nicely.
Domaine de la Janasse, Chateauneuf du Pape, “Chaupin,” Southern Rhone 2020
It mixes fragrant aromas of raspberry jam, cooked strawberry, licorice, dried thyme, cured meat and bay leaves. Full-bodied, broad-shouldered and polished, the 2020 Chaupin is wrapped in plush tannins, concluding with a distinctively savory finish lasting well over a minute.
Durfort Vivens, Margaux, Bordeaux 2019
Aromas of fresh blueberries, currants, crushed raspberries, tobacco leaves, lemon zest, cocoa and oyster shells. It’s medium-bodied with fine, precise tannins. Supple and silky with excellent freshness. One third aged in terracotta amphora. 90% cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification.
Sal da Terra, Albariño, Rias Baixas, Galicia 2019
This “salt of the earth” wine is the ultimate expression of Galician Albariño from its heartland in Rias Baixas; a wine as pure as glacial water, which glides across the palate without friction, like a blade on ice, offering delicate notes of mandarin, white currant, green fig and mirabelle plum. If you can imagine eating a nectarine while sitting in a rock pool beside the Atlantic, you’re already having your first sip.
Dominio del Aguila, Albillo, Vinas Viejas Blanco, La Aguilera 2018
The 2018 Albillo Viñas Viejas is a superb and elegant varietal Albillo Mayor produced in a very Burgundian way (but without malolactic). It has 13% alcohol and a pH of 3.04 and is medium-bodied with moderate ripeness; it's very spicy and has notes of toasted sesame seeds, hints of white flowers and fruit and a citrus twist. It fermented and matured in French oak barrels for 25 months. This is by far the best white from the region and one of the finest table whites from Spain.
Adega Damm, Ribeira Sacra, “Amandi Pombeiras,” Galicia 2019
On the nose, the Mencía releases a floral bouquet intertwined with strawberry, raspberry, black licorice, cherry sauce, and a hint of pomegranate. The aroma showcases its unique terpenoid subgroup, painting an evocative sensory picture. On the palate the wine surprises with a peppery burst, balanced by tart notes of sour cherry and red currant with high levels of acid.
Familia Nin Ortiz, Nit de Nin, Priora, Planetes de Nin Classic, Catalunya 2020
The superb 2020 Planetes de Nin Clàssic is very elegant and ethereal, the finest vintage for this cuvée from four hectares in Porrera, which in 2020, the year of mildew, was 69% Garnacha Tinta, 12% Garnacha Peluda and 19% Cariñena. The grapes fermented with full clusters and stems with indigenous yeasts in 3,200-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured for 18 months. Nicely perfumed and elegant, with fresh fruit, black cherry, and subtle mineral notes on the nose. Elegant with a long, soft and silky finish.
Torres, Mas la Plana, Cabernet Sauvignon, Penedes 2016
From a dry vintage, with Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted on deep alluvial soils, winemaker Miguel Torres describes this as: 'A very classic vintage of Mas La Plana.' Black fruit aromas – blackberry, blackcurrant – some blackcurrant leaf, coffee and dark chocolate hints. Complex, layered palate, with mouth-filling black fruit, plum, liquorice, very elegant tannins and well-integrated oak (18 months in French oak, 85% new). Very smooth and balanced, showing considerable freshness and finesse.
Venica & Venica, Sauvignon Blanc, “Ronco delle Mele,” Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2021
Dynamic and exciting, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc leaps out of the glass with aromas of apricot, Fuji apple, lemon zest, fresh bay leaf and crushed rock. The palate is textured, with a tension between fruity and earthy notes that evolves with each sip. Vibrant acidity and focused minerality keep the mind engaged and the heart happy.
Borgo del Tiglio, Collio, “Ronco della Chiesa,” Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2019
The 2019 Ronco della Chiesa is smoky yet elegant in the glass with flinty crushed peaches, nuances of sweet spice and wet stone. It’s silky and polished in feel with a lovely inner sweetness and a slight tropical tone to its fruit, yet the balance is on point. The 2019 finishes long and floral, leaving hints of melon. This is an interesting vintage of Ronco della Chiesa, a varietal Friulano, as it has a distinctive confectionary character, yet comes across as completely harmonious.
Girolamo Russo, “Feudo,” Etna Rosso, Sicily 2018
The Girolamo Russo 2018 Etna Rosso Feudo is an exceptionally delicate wine with a bouquet that is underlined by wilted rose and dried lavender bud. A tiny part of Nerello Cappuccio is blended into this primarily Nerello Mascalese-based wine. Feudo is planted to 70-year-old vines at 640 meters in elevation. The wine is super silky and smooth, showing none of the roughness or etched quality that you can sometimes get with an Etna red. Instead, this polished wine wraps evenly over the palate and imparts plenty of fruit typicity and volcanic character along the way.
Fratelli Alessandria, Barolo, “Monvigliero,” Piedmont 2018
The 2018 Barolo Monvigliero shows a beautiful signature of pressed violets, rose garden, white stone, crushed peppercorn and grilled rosemary. The wine is smooth and soft in texture, yet it feels stitched up and firm at the back thanks to the support it gets from those balanced tannins. This wine should hold 20 years or more.
Le Potazzine, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany 2017
Blackberry, black-cherry and mushroom aromas. The palate is full-bodied with slightly chewy tannins, but it remains polished and lively. Berry, earth and bark in the finish.
Massican, Annia, White Blend, Napa Valley, California 2021
A savory thread of saline and beeswax stays in the background of this fleshy white, with refreshing pear, white peach, yellow apple and melon flavors. Notes of dried ginger emerge on the finish, finding balance between power and restraint. Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Chardonnay.
Morgen Long, Chardonnay, Seven Springs Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2020
This wine offers up a beautifully gentle oak shading in its bouquet of pear, almond, chalky soil tones, chamomile, spring flowers and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and rock solid at the core, with lovely mineral drive and grip, zesty acids and lovely length and grip on the complex and very nicely balanced finish. This is a new oaky example of chardonnay that is also long on soil signature. Fine juice.
Wentworth, Pinot Noir, Nash Mill Vineyard, Anderson Valley, California 2020
This youthful, finely balanced wine offers a tangy, concentrated, moderately tannic expression, wrapping a rather firm grip around bright cherry and bold black-cherry flavors. With more sipping, it reveals subtle cinnamon, clove and toast nuances that should continue to integrate with the brilliant core of fruit.
Bedrock, Zinfandel, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, California 2020
The 2020 Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard is a standout. Readers who want to understand why Monte Rosso is such a special site will find that here. Soaring aromatics, strikingly pure fruit and refined tannins are all signatures of a special place and a special wine. Red-fleshed fruit, blood orange, mint, spice and lifted floral overtones grace this racy, flamboyant Zinfandel-based wine. Dollops of Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir and Tempranillo round out the field blend.
Larkmead, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2019
This is structured, complex, dense and lengthy, a celebration of dark berry fruit that is layered and velvety smooth on the palate. Tobacco, oak and dried herb accent it with ease, complementing and contrasting in myriad ways and landing on a sophisticated finish.
Willi Schaefer, Riesling, Graacher Himmelreich, Kabinett, Mosel, Germany 2020
So many fresh floral notes, plenty of orange zest, sage and a whiff of smoke. Juicy stone fruit and lively acidity, with very well integrated natural grape sweetness that you feel less and less as the wine flows over your palate into the delicate, wet-stone and rock-salt finish.
Prager, Gruner Veltliner, Smaragd. Achleiten, Wachau, Austria 2021
Intense and delicate nose of white peach, Asian pear and spring blossoms, with only a tiny hint of pepper. Ripe and succulent, with more than enough concentration, this is an exceptionally graceful and beautifully balanced Gruner Veltliner.
Sadie Family Wines, “Treinspoor,” Tinta Barocca Old Vine, Swartland, South Africa 2019
The 2019 Treinspoor, 80% whole-cluster Tinta Barocca matured in old foudre, presents a crisp, well-defined bouquet of blackberry, briar and wild fennel scents, gaining intensity all the time in the glass. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. Taut and crisp, almost pixelated in style, leading to a sensual, mulberry-tinged finish. Very elegant and refined.
Altos Las Hormigas, Malbec Appellation, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina 2018
Pretty, floral and crushed-fruit aromas with raspberry, blueberry, hibiscus and citrus zest. Olives, dried spices and gravel, too. Toasted oak. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, silky tannins and bright acidity. Wonderfully fresh and layered.
Penfolds, Bin 389, Cabernet-Shiraz, South Australia 2018
A blend of 57% cabernet sauvignon and 43% shiraz, this has a very impressively complete feel, a hallmark of the 2018 vintage wines, and there’s a myriad of characters with cabernet’s cedary and gently herbal notes sitting atop a core of rich red-plum and dark-berry shiraz fruit aromas. So integrated. The palate has a very silky texture, so plush and polished with a wealth of rich and intense dark-plum, dark-berry and blackcurrant flavors. The oak is completely soaked with ripe, fresh fruit. This is a great Bin 389.