With the clean-eating trend raging in Singapore, surely it was just a matter of time before word about organic wines came into the mainstream. After all, it’s already taken Australia and the US by storm, because if there’s anything that modern gastronomy has taught us about food and drink, it’s that we can always consume better things – and there’s no way wine would be left out.
What are organic wines?
Back in the day, there was a time when grapes were completely harvested and processed by hand without the use of chemicals and technology. And the result? A much purer product that modern-day winemakers are trying to recreate. Generally, organic wines are made with organically grown grapes (obviously) and lack the presence of sulphites.
Within the category of organic wines, there are also biodynamic wines that follow a strict astronomical planting calendar that has specific days in the year for planting, harvesting, and so on, so as to extract the best flavours from the fruits while leaving a minimal carbon footprint.
Why you should drink them
Like your farm-to-table dining and mindful eating trend, organic wines are for one, much more sustainable. Regular wines contain chemicals that are ingested or washed out and could subsequently damage the ecosystem of the region. Some winemakers even opt to use less machinery for their wine-making process, in turn reducing the amount of emissions in the environment.
Taste-wise, organic wines are described to have a more delicate and softer mouthfeel. Some even claim that such wines have more ‘personality’, but that’s up to the drinker to decide.
Finding organic wines in Singapore
Today, plenty of bottles shops in Singapore, as well as restaurants and bars, are offering organic wines as an alternative to the usual stuff. Here are some of them.
Restaurants & Bars
The Black Swan
This CBD institution is a great place for steaks, and with every great chophouse comes awesome wines. Yang, the Head Sommelier, is constantly on the hunt for quality wines, and that includes organic wines like the Nicolas Joly, Savennières, Les Vieux Clos 2013 ($150), which features an angular acidity, tons of fresh orchard fruit aromas and honeydew melon flavours, and a Chateau Rioublanc Bordeaux 2012 ($15 glass/$70 bottle) – superbly balanced and fresh with blackcurrant and blackberry notes.
The Black Swan is located at 19 Cecil St, Singapore 049704, p. +65 6438 3757.
Cheek by Jowl
At any given time, Rishi Naleendra’s bold Cheek by Jowl has some 50 rotating labels of organic wines from Australia, South Africa, Europe, and the US on hand, from Loire Valley in France’s Vincent Gaudry le Tournebride Sancerre 2014 ($118++) to the BK Wines Gower Pinot Noir 2015 ($22 glass/$105 bottle) from Basket Range in Adelaide Hills.
Cheek by Jowl is located at 21 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069620, p. +65 6221 1911.
Le Bon Funk
It’s only natural (!) that Le Bon Funk love their organic wines. After all, their name indicates a preference for the funkiest bottles you can get. This is where Head Sommelier Josée Yeomans introduces an ever-evolving wine list that is quite literally alive, including a yeasty but refreshing Austrian Fuchs & Hase Pet Nat Vol. 4 2015 and Ici et La by Anne Sophie Dubois 2016 from Beaujolais. And to go with your thrilling adventure, dig into a communal dining programme by Chef-Owner and Burnt Ends alumnus Keirin Buck.
Le Bon Funk is located at 29 Club St, Singapore 069414, p. +65 6224 1490.
Open Farm Community
For a restaurant that bases its menu around sustainable produce and farm-to-table cooking, it’s no surprise that Open Farm Community has several organic wines on their list. The very pale-red Ochota Barrel – Pinot Noir 2015, hailing from Adelaide Hills in Australia, is elegant and pure with rich cherry nose and supple pepper notes, while the Wild Olive – Organic Shiraz 2015 from McLaren Vale, in full-on inky purple, comes lush and smooth with ripe berry aromas.
Open Farm Community is located at 130E Minden Rd, Singapore 248819, p. +65 6471 0306.
Gattopardo’s head sommelier Giedrius Lazutka hails from Lithuania, where he ran one of the most prominent wine shops in the country – and his passion? Boutique, biodynamic Italian wines like the Organic Barone Pizzini Animante Franciacorta DOCG NV ($128) from Lombardia and the Montalbano Terre Sicilliane IGT 2015 ($92) from Sicilia, among plenty of others on the Michelin-starred restaurant’s list.
Gattopardo is located at 36 Tras St, Singapore 079025, p. +65 6338 5498.
You can be assured that the folks here are serious about their natural and biodynamic wines. Opting to focus on small-batch winemakers, look out for the Omero Skin Contact Pinot Gris, a texturally lush and aromatic wine and the nutty CLAI Pjenušavo Sparkling Wine 2012 made by the godfather of Istrian wines, Griogio Clai – only three cases left!
RVLT is located at 38 Carpenter St, Singapore 059917, p. +65 +65 9388 1436.
The Straits Wine Company
Surely everyone knows The Straits Wine Company? The wine distributor has slowly worked towards the cause of sustainable drinking, and has a whole section dedicated to organic wine on its web store, including a Natural Wine of the Week promotion. Highlights from some 20 winemakers on offer include an Urlar Riesling 2013, dry-styled with lime zest, Granny Smith apples, and citrus aromas, and a Leeuwin Estate Siblings Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015 that parades tropical fruits, snow pea, and citrus.
The online retailer Bacco specialises in all sorts of organic reds, whites, roses, and bubblies imported from small-production wineries in Italy – from Trentino to Tuscany and Sardinia to Sicily. They have over 300 labels to choose from, which you can discover in detail on their web store, such as the pleasantly tangy Vin Dei Molini 2016 ($45) in light ruby, and a fine Brut Cuvee IGT ($78) with hints of toasted almonds, hazelnuts, and hay, both from Pojer & Sandri.
Shop Bacco Wines here.
With a curated assortment hailing from 11 wineries across Italy, Slovenia, and other parts of Europe, Sicilian Quintino Dellarosa’s new online wine service brings to Singapore fine and exclusive organic wines like the Morar 2003 Amarone Classico della Valpolicella from Valentina Cubi Estate, made in the Burgundy style, and Hérzu 2015 from Ettore Germano estate, a white wine appointed by the Italian Sommelier Guide as one of the best Rieslings in Italy.
Shop Dellarosa Wine here.
Want a drink within 60 minutes? BottlesXO delivers high-quality wines to your doorstep as quickly as 30 minutes. And that includes organic wines, of course. The labels are always changing, so it might be a TWR Pinot Noir 2015 (with hints of baking spice and plum) from Marlborough in New Zealand or a delicious French L’Oustalet Grenache and Syrah blend from the Rhône Valley.
Shop BottlesXO here.
Brown Bag Wines
All the wines sold at Brown Bag are biodynamically farmed, and they only source for wine growers who believe in the same idea – that people should consume wines made with pure and minimalistic methods. So if you want clean and expressive wines like the deliciously complex and fresh Valdonica Mersino 2015 ($39) or rare Alex Koppitsch Authentisch Rot No. 7 2014 ($46.90) with notes of dark cherry and black pepper spice, this is it. They even have a weekly subscription Wine Bag delivered personally to your doorstep!
Shop Brown Bag Wines here.
Launched by Australian entrepreneur Rob Lockett, the wines at Benchmark are all personally selected from small, high-quality and highly-praised vineyards in Australia, the US, France, Italy, and New Zealand. Organic options include the vegan-friendly Paxton ‘The Guesser’ Organic White Blend 2016 ($29) from one of Australia’s most respected wine growers from down under, and Battle of Bosworth ‘Puritan’ Shiraz 2017 ($32), bursting with soft tannins and fantastic with a juicy steak.
Shop Benchmark Wines here.
Top Image: Brown Bag Wines