Oenophile-with-a-conscience Scott Pactor opened his New York City organic and biodynamic-focused wine shop, Appellation, in 2005. He offers his top picks and tasting notes for his favorite "green" wines, widely available at wine shops around the country or from his online store, appellationnyc.com.
2004 Madonna Estate Napa, California; Carneros Chardonnay (organic)
Fruit-forward, full-bodied estate grown with citrus and yellow apple flavors. A well-balanced, versatile white, thanks to the cool Carneros climate and a judicious use of oak.
2005 Frog's Leap Rutherford, California; Sauvignon Blanc (organic)
Light, clean, and refreshing. This bottle is full of citrus, lemongrass, and mineral flavors.
2005 Nikolaihof Wachau, Austria; "Vom Stein Federspiel" Riesling (biodynamic)
A unique wine from the oldest biodynamic property in the Austrian appellation of Wachau. An almost perfect Riesling, with smoky mineral notes and good acidity. Try it now, or wait 5 to 10 years.
2005 Chono Maipo Valley, Chile; Carmenere (biodynamic)
Dark fruit and spice with medium-hard tannins. This grape was originally found in Bordeaux until its virtual extinction from phylloxera (an insect that attacks grape vines); the pest has yet to surface in Chile.
2004 Bonterra Mendocino County, California; Merlot (organic)
A premier example of organic viticulture: rich, full plum nose, slight jammy notes on the palate, medium-to-full tannins with a touch of wood.
2002 Heller Estate Carmel Valley, California; Cabernet Sauvignon (organic)
A bold wine with cassis, blackberry, and vanilla notes. The 14 percent alcohol is balanced by the expressive fruit and tannin.
Where to Buy
Curious to sample eco-friendly wines? Join an online wine club specializing in sustainable selections. Among the best: the EcoVine Wine Club (ecovinewine.com); the Organic Connection (fwbchicago.com); and the Organic Wine Company (theorganicwinecompany.com).
Not every state allows wine to be sent through the mail, so ask the clubs if they can ship to you. If you prefer to browse in person, find out if your nearest Whole Foods Market (wholefoods.com) carries wine, or head to one of these wine shops known for their selection of organic and biodynamic bottles from around the world. K& L Wine Merchants, San Francisco, Hollywood, and Redwood City, California; klwines.com. Fine Wine Brokers, 4621 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago; fwbchicago.com. Appellation, 156 10th Ave., New York City; appellationnyc.com. Prospect Wine Shop, 322 7th Ave., Brooklyn, New York; prospectwine.com.
Text by Jaime Gross