The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

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4 6 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t ■cr are forecast to expand from $153 billion in 2013 to $252 billion in 2019, ac- cording to a communication from Demeter Association Inc., the sole worldwide certification agency for Biodynamic products. Interested seekers of Biodynamic products should visit Demeter's farm and product directory, now under con- struction at directory.asp. Perhaps even more excited about Biodynamic foods than consumers are some of America's top chefs. Probably the best-known chef who transforms his passion for local Biodynamic ingredients into culinary creations is David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, California. Many great winemakers believe that great wines are made in the vineyard, and Chef Kinch likewise believes that great meals are made in the garden. As he wrote in the introduc- tion to his cookbook, Manresa: An Edible Reflection, the care taken by Biodynamic practitioners in the garden or on the farm translates into terroir on the plate. On the East Coast, Chef Dan Barber of restaurant Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County, cooks with Biodynamic ingre- dients. Stone Barns is a working farm, ranch and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Barber's philosophy of food focuses on pleasure but also thoughtful conserva- tion that takes into account where food comes from, how it's grown and, in the Biodynamic spirit, the unseen forces that help create what we eat. Besides pleasing consumers and chefs, some Biody- namic growers may have an even-more-basic reason to farm the way they do. As David Byrnes of Yellow Barn Biodynamic Farm in Alfred Station, New York, says, "Our intent with our farm is to try to provide the purest food for our chil- dren." You can see David and his family in a short film put online by Whole Foods at ter/yellow-barn-biodynamic-farm. ILLUSTRATION BY JEFF COX Chef David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos. Bonterra 2012 Biodynamic Single Vineyard "The Roost" Chardonnay, Blue Heron Vineyard, Mendocino County ($40) Alcohol 13.5 percent; pH: 3.6. 100% Chardonnay. Almost bone dry with re- sidual sugar at 0.1 grams per liter; 16 months sur lie aging in 40 percent new French oak; 871 cases produced. These Biodynamic wines are Bonterra's flagship offerings, and this Burgundian- style Chard is no exception. Its golden color promises and delivers an appley nose, substantial body, depth of fruit, and creamy lemon curd and crème brûlée flavors. Bonterra 2012 Biodynamic Single Vineyard "The Butler," Mendocino County ($50) Butler single-vineyard cuvée from high above the fog line; 78% Syrah, 11% Grenache, 9% Petite Sirah and 2% Mourvèdre; alcohol 14.9 percent; pH: 3.67; 24 months élevage in one-to-six-year-old French barrels from a variety of coopers; 227 cases produced. The aroma is a chord comprised of blackberries, cigar wrapper, espresso and violets. Flavors of black fruits, anise, spices and something meaty are held in the tight grip of young tannins. It finishes with cherries and smoke. Bonterra 2012 The McNab, Mendocino County ($50) Single-vineyard cuvée; 74 percent Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, 3% Petite Sirah and 1% Cabernet Franc; alcohol 14.2 percent; pH 3.56; 24 months élevage in one-to-six-year-old French barrels from a variety of coopers; 231 cases produced. The Merlot in this blend is not shy, with rich flavors of black fruits, especially plums, herbs, chocolate and raspberries, plus a hint of forest floor and coffee. There's a suggestion of anise and roses in here, too. Enticing. After tasting, I asked Cichocki if these wines did indeed show terroir. "There's no identifiable marker yet," he said, "but these wines are authentic. What you get in the glass is entirely from here, with no outside inputs." He's right. If this beautiful ranch has a unique taste, it will emerge as the vines, the soil, the native flora and fauna, and the sun and the moon and the stars become one. After the vineyard tour, we settled down in the company's main building for a taste of its Biodynamic wines, a trio of bottles that included a Chardonnay from the 54-acre Blue Heron vineyard located along the Russian River near Hopland, the Rhône blend from the Butler Ranch and the Bordeaux blend from the McNab Ranch. Here's what I found.

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