So, you might have heard that the “climate” is “changing.” It can be a pretty helpless feeling – but one thing we can do is make informed and conscious choices about what we consume. Including wine. Given modern agriculture’s contributions to the situation, maybe especially wine.
I mention Quivira a lot. The biggest reason is that their wines are fantastic, but they are well worth pointing out to anyone who’s growing concerned about where they put their money. Ecologically speaking, these guys are superstars. Biodynamically farmed estate fruit. Solar-powered facility. Steam-cleaning gear that uses 98% less water than conventional barrel sanitizing. Onsite farm. And yes, of course they keep bees. They’re also deeply involved in watershed management and creek restoration, and are great friends to trout.
All of which would be nice under any circumstances, but if the end product wasn’t really damned good wine, I wouldn’t be going on about it. Winemaker (he prefers the title “wine-grower”) Hugh Chapelle is a hands-on type with an ironclad commitment to quality and a certain delight in getting his hands dirty that’s impossible to fake. You’ll find a dazzling variety of elements in the bouquet of a Quivira wine, but never a nose of egomania with a long, lingering self-righteous finish.
While Quivira wines are well-distributed and not something you have to be in the CIA to locate, they have some more esoteric offerings that make their website a good place to meet your online shopping quota. Probably best-known for their Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, they also make a killer Grenache, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Rhone blends, and more. All spectacular, expressive, happy wines. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but none of these bottles are flibbertygibbets, either. They’re rock-solid, thoughtful, and thoroughly lovely. Aside from the Grenache, which I admittedly fetishize a bit, my favorite wine in a winery full of favorites is their more limited Sauvignon blanc release, named “Fig Tree” for the highly metaphysical reason that a large fig tree stands in the middle of the block. The first time I tried it, I figured power of suggestion was making me taste figs. That’s a note you find in Lagreins sometimes, and quite often in Grenache when it’s aged a little (which sadly will never happen to a Quivira wine in my house – they age in the car on the way home). But in a light-bodied white? So I have now done a totally blind side-by-side tasting of the two Sauvignon blancs. For those who think terroir is in your head, I’ll just say I correctly identified the Fig Tree in one sip. Because: figs! Along with the more traditional SB notes of lime and pineapple and stone and a teensy bit of grassiness. Sauv Blanc can be a thin, citric, rather forgettable affair sometimes. Not here.
So, this is wine you can buy with confidence that you are contributing to a wonderful, holistically-run, do-no-harm operation that is leveraging biodiversity and organic, biodynamic farming practices to get the most out of their grapes. If you’re local to, or traveling in, the area, it’s an extremely charming spot to stop and have a picnic, or just a glass of something tasty. And wherever you are, you can open these wines knowing you’re supporting people who are supporting the health of our increasingly fragile environment.
And yes, it matters. And as it turns out it also makes things taste good.