The finest wines almost always are farmed following the principles of organic viticulture, even if they’re not formally certified as organic wines. Why? Because it has been known for decades that the chemical inputs used in conventional farming flatten wine’s flavor and reduce quality potential. In particular, the multifaceted dimension of wine known as terroir — the French term for the taste of the specific place where a wine is grown — is muted by chemicals and industrial processing. That’s why fine wines must be made carefully, by hand in small batches. More and more wine drinkers look for organic certification, but it can be hard to find under $20 — except in South America. The wine regions of Chile and Argentina are blessed with geography that is so wine-friendly many of the chemical sprays that would be needed in places like Europe and California are unnecessary. This makes it far more economically viable to practice true organic viticulture. This lovely wine, from one of the northernmost wine valleys of Argentina’s Andean foothills, is a perfect example. The cool climate produces a brighter, tangier style of Malbec, packed with flavors of black raspberries and violets. And its organic farming leaves in the layers of earthy flavor complexity that chemicals can strip away.
Cuma Organic Malbec, Calchaquí Valley, Argentina. $9.99 (regularly $12.99; sale price through Sunday). PLCB Item #2050