Global Organic Masters 2020: the results in full

While organic expressions only account for five per cent of the world’s wine output, there are incredible – and often affordable – bottles to be had in all categories, as Patrick Schmitt MW discovers. Read on for our analysis of the organic wine category and the results from this years’s competition in full.

There’s a perception among some consumers that going for organic may be limiting one’s options in the wine category. To some extent that’s true – organic wine represents less than 5% of global wine production, even though the agricultural method is in the ascendance. But as the 2020 Organic Wine Masters showed clearly, you can now find an organic version of every style of wine, including the mainstream categories. Indeed, we had organic Prosecco, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Australian Chardonnay, Provençal rosé and Rioja – to name just some of the world’s best-selling wine styles.

There’s another preconceived notion regarding organics, however, although it’s diminishing. This concerns an idea that the organic alternatives of best-selling wine styles are lesser versions. Again, this is something that this year’s Organic Wine Masters proved to be unfounded. The certified organic samples in the famous categories mentioned above were all outstanding, benchmark wines. Finally, there’s a belief that organic wines may be as good as equivalents made using conventional farming techniques, but are much less good value. Once more, this was shown not to be the case. Although we were tasting only organic wine, and therefore not comparing the category with equivalents made by conventional winemaking methods, because we assess so much wine through our Global Masters programme, we have a good sense of the quality-to-price ratio in all the key styles. And, to our surprise, organic wines are able to deliver a lot of wine for the cash. We had class-leading samples in this tasting at entry-point prices. Why should this be a surprise? Quite simply because organic farming techniques generally produce lower yields and require more labour, making an organic wine around 20% more expensive to produce, on average.

So, with that general assessment of the category as its stands today, let’s look at the highlights that led us to form the conclusions above.

Extraordinary value
Initially, the sparkling flights proved home to some of the most exciting wines of the blind tasting. If there were one type of fizz that stood out for extraordinary value it was Cava.

Somehow, this traditional method sparking wine, even when made according to organic strictures, managed to yield creamy, bready, fruity-tasting results at bargain prices.

So, where you see Golds for sub-£10 fizz, it’s because these wines were the best of their category, and therefore awarded the top medal relative to their peers. Whether it was the inexpensive wines from Cava Pata Negra, Cava Jaume Serra or Cava Contevedo, there was so much character for the cash, and it was organic. Such wines served as a reminder to us all not to forget Cava when asked to find inexpensive fizz for parties or celebrations.

Moving up the pricing scale, Cava again performed brilliantly over £15 with Vilaurnau’s organic limited edition version, although here too we had a deliciously fruity fizz, albeit in a more aromatic and gently sweet style, with Maschio’s Prosecco DOCG.

Over £20, and we had some interesting stars. One was a lovely baked apple-and pastry-scented sparkling from England’s Davenport Estate, while another was a top DOCG Prosecco from Masottina, and a third was a pink fizz, again from England, this time from the first-rate Oxney Organic Estate.

Going up further in price, we had remarkable organic Champagnes from Drappier, above all its Quattuor Blanc de Quatre Blancs, which employs the full four white grapes of Champagne, including Arbane, Chardonnay, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc. This makes this fizz particularly special, as it provides a home for the historic, near-forgotten grapes of Champagne, while supporting organic farming, which is a relative rarity in the region. It also helps that this high-quality output hails from the region’s most sustainable producer – Drappier is carbon neutral.

Among the still wines, starting with the cheapest whites, there was plenty to prove that you don’t need to turn your back on organic wines when you’re on a tight budget. While we did not quite reach the Gold standard under £10, we had plenty of delicious drops that we can recommend. Italy and Spain were notably strong sources of good-value organic whites, including those from the former’s Masso Antico, Corvezzo and Rallo, and the latter’s Bodegas Luzón. But we also had a powerfully scented and pristine Torrontés from Argentina’s Santa Julia.

Moving over £10, there were some outstanding whites, including a typically pungent Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough’s Darling Wines, a peachy drop from Sicily’s Santa Tresa, along with a waxy white from the same Italian island, this time from Azienda Agricola Cortese, then a nutty, peachy classic Chardonnay from Australia’s Angove Family Winemakers.

Then, at the very top of the organic white wine quality pyramid in this year’s competition was an oily, barrel-fermented blockbuster from brilliant biodynamic stalwart Château Maris in Minervois. We’ve given top ratings to this producer’s Syrah and Grenache red blends in the past, but this year, it was the white wine that we sampled, and wow, it’s good.

Sticking with the more refreshing end of the tasting, following the fizz and white wines, we had a few organic rosés to try, with two proving notable, including a lovely fresh, pale, strawberry-scented sample from England’s Albury Vineyard, then a moreish and delicate white cherry-tasting pink from Provence’s notable organic-only estate, Château Léoube – a benchmark rosé that’s also organically produced.

Similar to the first part of this tasting, there was great diversity in the reds, and, also like the organic whites, at entry-point prices it was Italy and Spain that dominated among the medal-winners. Among these was a delicious cherry-loaded Negroamaro from Masso Antico and a range of first rate, powerfully tannic reds from Jumilla employing the hardy Monastrell grape, while among

the oak influenced bargain reds was a barrel-fermented Tempranillo from Spain’s Finca Constancia – a remarkable find for anyone wanting a red rich in red fruit and vanillin, but with little money to spend.

More great wines featured from Château Maris, complete with layers of red fruit and spice, while we also saw a pair of stars from Chile, both from two of the country’s top organic and biodynamic estates, Vermonte and Emiliana. Although quite pricy, I particularly recommend the latter’s underrated icon red called Coyam, which, unusually for Chilean fine wines, is dominated by Syrah, rather than Cabernet Sauvignon.

While the highest-priced reds also saw some great Monastrell-based wines from the aforementioned Jumilla – producers Alceno and Parajes del Valle – it was Australia that dominated the top scorers.

As you can see from the Masters, which are awarded for the very best examples of the category, it was Gemtree, Angove and Kalleske that wowed, representing the McLaren Vale and Barossa regions. Making such wines remarkable were very old vines, primarily Shiraz, that yielded concentrated black fruit flavours, with a peppery interest, and a cool minty edge. Not only that, but such characters had been complemented by the cream and cocoa flavours of maturation in barriques, to create something complex, indulgent, and, while delicious as a young wine, something with great ageing potential too. It was pleasing to think that such producers were doing great work capturing the essence of historic vineyards while managing them without the use of synthetic inputs. At the same time, these wines highlight the quality available from Australia’s old vine

Shiraz – while also representing relative good value compared with the prices of fine wines from famous European wine regions, along with those from certain parts of the United States.

While this tasting is only a snapshot of the global organic wine category, it does serve to highlight the range of bottles on offer in this sector, as well as draw attention to the greats championing this worthy approach to vineyard management and wine production.

White Organic Sparkling

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Jaume Serra Cava Pata Negra Brut Organic Penedès Spain NV Gold
Jaume Serra Heretat El Padruell Brut Organic Cava Penedès Spain NV Gold
Jaume Serra Cava Jaume Serra Brut Organic Penedès Spain NV Gold
Jaume Serra Cava Contevedo Organic Brut Penedès Spain NV Gold
Cantine Riunite & CIV Righi Pignoletto DOC Vino Frizzante Secco Biologico Emilia-Romagna Italy NV Silver
Anna Spinato Winery Prosecco Organic DOC Brut Veneto Italy NV Silver
Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Extra Dry Organic & Vegan Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Aldi Stores UK Organic Prosecco Veneto Italy NV Silver
£10-£15
Cantine Maschio Maschio Prosecco DOC Biologico Extra Dry Veneto Italy NV Gold
Vilarnau Vilarnau Limited Edition Penedès Spain NV Gold
Piera 1899 Pura Terra Prosecco DOC Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2018 Silver
Azienda Agricola Giol Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry DOC Treviso Veneto Italy 2018 Silver
Azienda Agricola Giol Prosecco Spumante Brut DOC Treviso Veneto Italy 2018 Bronze
£15-£20
Masottina Prosecco Brut Organic DOC Veneto Italy NV Silver
Ma SPA Vallate Prosecco Brut Organic DOC Veneto Italy NV Bronze
£20-£30
Davenport Vineyards Limney Estate Kent & Sussex UK 2014 Gold
Masottina Costabella Brut Biologico Conegliano
Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore
Veneto Italy NV Gold
Jasmine Monet Organic Black Mendoza Argentina 2019 Silver
£30-£50
Champagne Drappier Clarevallis Champagne France NV Silver
£50+
Champagne Drappier Quattuor – Blanc de Quatre Blancs Champagne France NV Gold

Rosé Organic Sparkling

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Jaume Serra Cava Contevedo Rosado Brut Organico Penedès Spain NV Silver
£30-£50
Oxney Organic Estate Classic Rosé East Sussex UK 2016 Gold

Red Organic Sparkling

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Righi Lambrusco di Modena DOC Frizzante Semisecco Biologico Emilia-Romagna Italy NV Bronze

White Organic Still Wine

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Azienda Agricola Giol Pinot Grigio Veneto Italy 2018 Silver
Schenk Italian Wineries Masso Antico Passerina Terre di Chieti IGT Bio Abruzzo Italy 2018 Silver
Corvezzo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC Organic & Vegan Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Bodega Santa Julia Santa Julia Organic Torrontes Mendoza Argentina 2019 Silver
Aldi Stores UK Unfiltered Sicilian Cattaratto Sicily Italy 2019 Silver
Bodegas Luzón Luzón Verde Organic Blanco Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Schenk Italian Wineries Gergenti Grillo Siciliana DOC Bio Sicily Italy 2019 Bronze
Aldi Stores UK Organic Pinot Grigio Veneto Italy NV Bronze
Bodegas Corral Don Jacobo Tempranillo Blanco Ecológico Rioja Spain 2019 Bronze
Perlage Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Vinicola Tombacco 47 Anno Domini – Pinot Grigio DOC
Delle Venezie, Bio Vegan
Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Botter Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Bio – Uccellini Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
Angove Family Winemakers Angove Organic Chardonnay South Australia Australia 2019 Gold
Santa Tresa Rina Ianca Grillo Viognier Sicilia DOC Sicily Italy 2019 Gold
Viñedos Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Piera 1899 Pura Terra Pinot Grigio DOC Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2018 Silver
Bodegas Corral Vine Roots Garnacha Blanca Rioja Spain 2019 Silver
Ontalba Ontalba Sauvignon Blanc Jumilla Spain 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
The Darling Wines The Darling Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Gold
Angove Family Winemakers Wild Olive Organic McLaren Vale Chardonnay McLaren Vale Australia 2019 Gold
Azienda Agricola Cortese Vanedda Bianco Terre Siciliane IGP Sicily Italy 2017 Gold
Davenport Vineyards Horsmonden Dry White Kent UK 2018 Silver
£30-£50
Château Maris Brama Occitanie France 2016 Master

Rosé Organic Still Wine

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
£10-£15
Bodegas Carchelo Carchelo Rosé Jumilla Spain 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
Albury Vineyard Silent Pool Rosé Surrey UK 2019 Silver
£20-£30
Château Léoube Rosé Château Léoube Provence France 2019 Gold

Red Organic Still Wine

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under £10
Schenk Italian Wineries Masso Antico Negroamaro del Salento IGT Bio Puglia Italy 2019 Silver
Bodegas Viña Elena Pacheco Monastrell Organic Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Juan Gil Honoro Vera Organic Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Bodegas Luzón Luzon Verde Organic Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Bodegas Luzón Verdecillo No Added Suphites Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Bodegas Luzón Verdecillo Organic & Vegan Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Bodegas Carchelo EYA Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Finca Constancia Entre Lunas Organic Moon Wine Castilla-La Mancha Spain 2018 Silver
Les Vignerons de Tutiac Tutiac ZRP Bordeaux France 2019 Bronze
Viniberia Carta Roja Pura Organic NSA Monastrell Jumilla Spain 2019 Bronze
Bodega Santa Julia Santa Julia Organic Malbec Mendoza Argentina 2019 Bronze
Aldi Stores UK Exquisite Collection Organic Malbec Mendoza Argentina 2018 Bronze
Aldi Irl Toro Loco Organic Red Utiel-Requena Spain 2018 Bronze
VSPT Wine Group Alpaca Organic Red Central Valley Chile 2018 Bronze
Bodegas 1890 Pata Negra Apasionado Organic Jumilla Spain 2018 Bronze
£10-£15
Angove Family Winemakers Organic Shiraz Cabernet South Australia Australia 2019 Gold
Bodegas Corral Don Jacobo Crianza Ecológico Rioja Spain 2017 Gold
Bodegas Corral Honoro Vera Organic Rioja Spain 2017 Gold
Bodega Santa Julia El Burro Santa Julia Malbec Mendoza Argentina 2019 Silver
Ego Bodegas Finca Bacara – 3015 Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Ego Bodegas Goru Organic Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Ontalba Ontalba Monastrell Syrah Jumilla Spain 2018 Silver
Ego Bodegas Talento Eco by Ego Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Bodegas Corral Don Jacobo Tempranillo Ecológico Rioja Spain 2019 Silver
Viñedos Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère/Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley Chile 2018 Silver
Viñedos Veramonte Veramonte Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Chile 2018 Silver
Angove Family Winemakers Organic Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia Australia 2018 Silver
Angove Family Winemakers Organic Shiraz South Australia Australia 2018 Silver
Cono Sur Organic Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley Chile 2018 Silver
Santa Tresa Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG Sicily Italy 2018 Silver
Viñedos Emiliana Adobe Cabernet Sauvignon Central Valley Chile 2018 Bronze
£15-£20
Château Maris Savoir Vieillir Occitanie France 2019 Gold
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso DOC Sicily Italy 2018 Gold
Bodegas Alceño Alceño Organic Jumilla Spain 2018 Gold
Viñedos Emiliana Salvaje Casablanca Valley Chile 2018 Silver
Gemtree Wines Uncut Shiraz McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Silver
Angove Family Winemakers Wild Olive Organic McLaren Vale Shiraz McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Silver
Azienda Agricola Cortese Sabuci Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG Sicily Italy 2017 Silver
Chateau Maris Les Planels Occitanie France 2017 Bronze
Viña Tarapacá Tarapacá Gran Reserva Organic Wine (GROW) Maipo Valley Chile 2017 Bronze
£20-£30
Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Vineyard McLaren Vale Grenache McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Master
Château Maris Las Combes Occitanie France 2017 Gold
Viñedos Emiliana Coyam Colchagua Valley Chile 2017 Gold
Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Gold
Parajes del Valle

Bodegas y Viñedos

Terraje Monastrell Jumilla Spain 2018 Gold
Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Silver
£30-£50
Kalleske Wines Kalleske Greenock Barossa Valley Australia 2018 Master
Gemtree Wines Ernest Allan Shiraz McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Master
Gemtree Wines Obsidian McLaren Vale Australia 2018 Master
£50+
Kalleske Wines Kalleske Eduard Barossa Valley Australia 2017 Master

About the competition

The Global Organic Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business, and forms part of its successful Masters series for noble grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; major wine styles, from sparkling to fortified; and famous regions including Rioja, Champagne and Tuscany. The competition is exclusively for organic wines. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Organic Master. This report features the medal winners only.

Please visit the Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

Read more

TOP 10 AWARD-WINNING ECO-FRIENDLY WINES FROM THE ORGANIC MASTERS 2020

One Response to “Global Organic Masters 2020: the results in full”

  1. Pam Strayer says:

    Not a single entry from the USA?

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