Organic Masters 2018: the results in full

Judge’s views: Susan McCraith MW

It’s not nice realising you’re getting older but one compensatory benefit is that you have greater perspective. Years ago, maybe 20 or so, ‘organic’ used to be a slightly dirty word to describe wines that often tasted the same way: unclean, earthy, green. Whilst we buyers knew it was a preferable way of cultivation, we struggled to find wines that were good enough quality to put on our list.

Since then the situation has improved significantly as viticultural and vinification skills and technology have improved. Rather than finding one out of ten wines to be acceptable, this tasting proved that organic wines are pretty much on a par with conventional wines.

For me personally though I find the picture is not black and white. I don’t buy certified organic wines purely out of principle. Having researched this sector and visited many organic and biodynamic vineyards, I realised that each grower needs to adapt his or her practices to their individual vineyard and climate and in some cases a small amount of systemic product may be less harmful overall than spraying considerable amounts of copper. What matters overall is having a healthy soil with lots of lovely microbes and producing the best quality and most authentic wine possible from that plot. The passion that growers have for the soil is often reflected in the quality of their wines.

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