Bottling a climate
I should warn you, dear reader, that the article today will be more about a cause than details on the wines themselves.
Wine is about 85 per cent water and we are told that our brain is composed of 73 per cent water; our lungs ring in at 83 per cent.
Our whole world is 71 per cent covered by a combination of oceans, ice caps, rivers, lakes and glaciers. Surely our discarded plastics could not threaten the vast oceans that account for over 96 per cent of the total? Sadly, that is not the case.
I see the damage that we are doing to the sea and hearken back to an 1854 letter purportedly written by Chief Seattle of the Susquamish tribe: “The president in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the land or sky? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
“Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.”
I think of him staring out at the foggy, but pristine, Pacific from his home in Oregon — the chief would not be happy with eight million tonnes of plastic waste being dumped in our oceans each year.
However, there are many today that are concerned and we have just begun a relationship with such a group, which offers the following reminder: “The greatest threat to our oceans is the belief that someone else will save them.”
For me, wine is basically climate trapped in a bottle and our oceans are great modifiers of this. Sea Change is a range of ethically-sourced, environmentally conscious wines with minimal packaging, labels utilising recycled grape waste and raw materials from forests that are certified “eco-friendly”.
Closures are carbon neutral and made from plant-based materials using 100 per cent renewable energy. Unnecessary capsule covers are not used. More importantly, one quarter of a Euro per bottle is donated to ocean support conservation through direct partnerships with key ocean and marine-focused charities.
When you want to produce a range of very quaffable and reasonably priced wines, what do you do? The folks at Sea Change went to Château Canet in the Minervois region in the heart of Languedoc-Roussillon. Need I even say that their winery follows the guidelines of sustainable viticulture?
I will let them tell their story: “We believe that good wine is the result of a combination of good terroir, the proper tools and a talented winemaker. The 19th century cellars of Château Canet, have seen many changes over the past decade as viticulture techniques evolve. Our goal is to create the very best wine, taking the fullest advantage of our terroir and the knowledge and techniques available to us.
“Our cellars have the capacity to house up to 10,000 hectolitres of wine, between concrete vats, stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. This is equivalent to just over 100,000 standard cases of wine. All the vats and tanks are thermo-regulated in order to control the temperature before, during and after the fermentation. This allows us to create the perfect structure and balance between body and fruit in our wines.
“The location of the Canet winery at the heart of the domaine surrounded by the vineyards offers a huge advantage to the winemaking process at harvest time. Once harvested, the grapes are delivered immediately to the cellar for pressing, in perfect condition, avoiding lengthy transportation over bumpy vineyard roads.
“When the grapes arrive at the winery, we use a cold maceration or skin contact maceration technique prior to vinification, allowing the grapes to ‘stew’ without fermenting at a low temperature. In this way, we are able to extract a lot more of the juicy fruit and create great structure and body in the wine, without harsh and often bitter tannins. During the fermentation that follows, we monitor our wine closely to ensure that the transformation of sugar into alcohol goes smoothly. We steer when necessary, but otherwise we let nature run its course.”
We have brought in three Sea Change wines to test our market and initially they are available in our Burrows Lightbourn stores; ocean-loving staff at Discovery Wines will also feature them. The cost of each is $17.35 and please remember that quite a generous donation on each bottle will go to a most worthy cause!
We have just had a tasting in my office and our overall opinion is that they are very “user-friendly” and easy to enjoy. Their Sea Change sauvignon blanc is fruity, dry and soft.
The rosé might fool you on the nose, as it gives clues to a certain sweetness, but it is not. Syrah grapes offer us fruity aromas of raspberry and strawberry and make for an ideal summer sip. The red is merlot and, like the others, it is a soft and easygoing wine, this time with hints of cherry, chocolate and tobacco.
I would suspect that our “little rock” has more miles of coastline per square mile of land than any other country. The sea is literally in our blood. Let’s do our best to preserve the vastness that surrounds us and totally controls our climate that I understand is documented as being more conducive to human habitation than many others in the entire world.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm
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