Sunday, 1 December 2013

Review: Organic Wine from Vintage Roots - The Organic Wine People (Competition Ended)

Vintage Roots The Organic Wine People

'Tis the season to be merry and there is nothing like a good quality wine to get me in the merry mood. I am not a big drinker but I do love wine and for me quality is better than quantity. A few years back I discovered that some of the normal wines out there aggravated my skin condition of rosacea, and that a bottle of red would send me into Father Christmas rosy cheeks in no time, so I was keen to see if organic and also 'no added sulphites' wine would be better. I am pleased to say it is and so I was introduced to 'Vintage Roots - The Organic Wine People'. I was happy to find such a great selection available from this company which also has a great working ethos which I will go into in this post.

Who Are Vintage Roots?

Vintage Roots is a UK based organic wine company which started out in 1986 when the founders were assisted by the Enterprise Allowance Scheme which helped these budding entrepreneurs get their passion off the ground. And what a great passion to have - organic wine! 

From no experience to travelling around France compiling their first list of organic wines, travelling in a battered Citroen 2CV with a tent, to now showcasing some 300 organic wines,  dozens of beers, ciders,spirits, liqueurs, juices and chocolate. They took their passion and expanded it. Winning the Decanter accolade for Best Specialist Independent Wine Merchant really puts this company top in my eyes for both their ethos and their passion for organic wine.

In my communications with them, and watching their videos HERE , I feel very enthused about this company and I am glad to share what they do.

Why Go Organic When Buying Wine?

Firstly it's good to understand what organic actually means in terms of wine. 

Organic wines are made from grapes which are cultivated without recourse to synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or fertilizers. 
To produce a quality wine it is imperative that the base product is sound and we believe that organically-grown grapes have a head start because they are not in a cycle of chemical dependency. ~ Vintage Roots

So organic grapes are grown in the way nature meant plants to grow, with nutrient rich soil, with worms and all the natural components of a healthy soil turnover - full of life. Organic farming encourages biodiversity where all species and plants flourish in perfect balance with the surroundings and the environment, unlike chemical-based farming methods, which strip the nutrients from the soil, and pollute the grapes thus having a negative effect on the wine itself. I feel that my body senses this when drinking non-organic wine, as my inner sensitivities go haywire, producing bright red cheeks and sometimes acne from drinking red wine that is non-organic.

Vintage Roots also sell a range of biodynamic products, and this really made me smile as I love the teachings of Rudolph Steiner.

Vintage Roots on Biodynamic Farming:

Biodynamics - the extra dimension
Firmly rooted in the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, biodynamics goes one step beyond organics by looking at the vineyard within the context of the larger environment. Homeopathic sprays and herbal preparations are used along with estate-made composts to increase soil fertility and strengthen and protect the vines from pests and disease. Lunar cycles, earth rhythms and astrology are also employed to ensure that activities in the vineyard are correctly timed. In short, by employing biodynamic principles the grower is aiming to harmonise the rhythm of the vine with its capacity to bear fruit. Increasingly, internationally-renowned estates are using this approach to make better wine with great success.

If you like the sound of biodynamic wine, this looks a fantastic selection to try it for the first time.


Not only does Vintage Roots sell great wine, it also educates in an easy to understand way. I am not majorly knowledgeable on different wine variations but they make it easy to understand even for a novice like me.

For example this video helped me understand one of my favourite wines made from the Pinot Grigio grape. I did not know the difference between Pinto Gris and Pinot Grigio but Vintage Roots explains it so easily below.

Wine Tasting - My First Experience Of Organic Wine

For this blog post Vintage Roots were kind enough to send me some wonderful wine to review and taste. I was keen to not only try organic wine but a good range of grapes and some without added sulphites. At the moment they have some great festive offers on their organic wine HERE and some of the wines I am sampling are also in this list.

Now I must warn you, I am not a wine connoisseur, so my descriptions are from my own interpretation and taste-buds. It may seem comical but I had a lot of fun testing these wines.

The Millton Vineyards Riverpoint Viognier / Organic White Wine

Millton Vineyards Riverpoint Viognier Organic White Wine

* Gold * - Soil Association Organic Food Awards 2013

Keywords : Biodynamic / very smooth / peachy undertones / low acidity / medium dry / New Zealand wine.

This is a delightful wine, extremely smooth and even as a novice I can taste the peaches, and to me, an almost vanilla-like velvet feel as I sip this wine. A beautiful golden colour in the glass; a perfect wine to serve along white meat and fish and vegetarian food.
Glass Of Organic White Wine
Perfect For:

Parties, dinner, summer events, weddings and romantic evenings.
The Viognier was harvested by hand, fermented in small stainless steel tanks and old French oak barrels. The aromatic delight of Viognier is enhanced by partnering with foods high in Umami flavours, which also give a perceived impression of 'saltiness'. A fine thread of residual sweetness intensifies the overall appeal as an aperitif with aged white cheeses. ~ Vintage Roots

Feelings After Drinking

Skin is fine, no reactions, feeling very pleasantly relaxed.

Mont'albano Prosecco Vino Frizzante 

Mont'albano Prosecco Vino Frizzante

Keywords : Organic / Light / Lemony / Floral / Fresh / Clean / Refreshing / Italian wine/ suitable for vegans.

Glass of Prosecco White Wine
I have to admit I thought I was not a sparkling wine fan. I now understand it is probably because I have not had good sparkling wine or good Prosecco. I was very surprised that I wanted more than one glass, but it is very refreshing and light in flavour and the fizz is not overwhelming as is often the case.

This wine is a soft, very friendly Prosecco, not too dry, not too acidic.

The colour is a brilliant straw-yellow, with a floral aroma suggestive of apple, pear, and lemon. In the mouth it is velvety, dry and rich.

Perfect For:

This makes it very drinkable, ideal as an aperitif, and as an accompaniment throughout a light meal, such as fish, chicken and especially summer salads.

Absolutely cracking organic Prosecco from north east Italy. Packed full of upfront lively lemon sherbet flavours with fizz! A great apéritif not only thirst quenching but refreshing. ~Vintage Roots~

Feelings After Drinking: Face normal, no issues whatsoever, feeling clear-headed and sparkly!

Stellar Heaven on Earth Sweet Muscat / Organic White Wine

Stellar Heaven Earth Sweet Muscat Organic Wine

Keywords : Fairtrade / suitable for vegans / gold colour / low acidity / sweet / honey heaven/ South African wine.

Glass of Sweet Muscat Organic White Wine
This is a gorgeous dessert wine. Beautiful honey colour when poured into the wine glass, perfect level of sweetness without the clingy feeling in the mouth that some dessert wines can have. An excellent balance of sweetness and fruit. Not too alcoholic (11% abv). This wine tastes of apricots and honey. A perfect aperitif to serve alongside rich cheeses, poured over apple pie, vanilla ice-cream or just on the rocks.

To not sound too clichéd this wine actually does taste like heaven on earth to me. Totally scrummy!

Perfect For:

The end of a lovely dinner when it is time to wind down for the evening. A wine to be thoroughly enjoyed on its own, no reason needed, a warm lovely drink for relaxing with friends or winding down after a hard day at work. I am also very keen to go all Italian with this wine and dip almond biscuits in; I imagine this is amazing.

The effect of drying the Muscat grapes on a bed of straw and rooibos tea is added flavour as well as intensity. What's not lost is Muscat's natural acidity and this keeps the wine deliciously fresh. A great way to kick-start an evening with friends or take with a mild blue cheese at the end of dinner.                                                                                                              ~ Stellar Organics - NV

Feelings After Drinking: Face normal, feeling really cosy, enjoying rolling the wine around my tongue as it tastes delish!

No Added Sulphites - Wine

Sulphur is an additive in most wine production, Vintage Roots say:

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the most widely used and controversial additive in winemaking. It's used as an antiseptic (to kill off unwanted moulds, bacteria and yeasts) and as an antioxidant (to inhibit oxygen spoiling the wine).

While it is common in most wine, organic wine often has the lowest amount of sulphites so to me this is a big bonus. Unfortunately some people can have allergic reactions to the sulphites in wine which can range in symptoms from asthma attacks, headaches, and that groggy morning after feeling. For me I wanted to see if my reaction was from this and to see if my body responded differently to organic wine.

For more information on sulphites in wine click HERE.

Insieme Nero D'Avola No Added Sulphur / Organic Red Wine

Insieme Nero D'Avola Organic Red Wine

Keywords : No Added Sulphur / suitable for vegans /dark cherry flavour / low acidity / 13% ABV/ creamy / Sicilian wine/ perfect for winter.

Glass Organic Red Wine
The first no added sulphur wine I tried was the Insieme Nero D'Avola Organic red.

This is a new line for Vintage Roots and what a keeper it is. Please do not stop selling this red wine!

I like red wine, especially in the winter months, but I had to stop drinking it some time ago because I had such a serious reaction to it. I was wondering for the longest time if it was something in the wine and now I know it was the sulphur.

In the past non-organic red wine would bring me out in a horrendous acne rosacea rash on my cheeks and I had this overwhelming feeling of not feeling right in my body. This feeling of internal heat that made me feel tired and woozy.

Now I know I can still drink red, so long as it is organic wine.

This bottle of  Insieme Nero D'Avola No Added Sulphur organic red is not only medium bodied but really smooth and easy to drink. My first sense was a lovely scent of cherries and this can be tasted in the wine. As I continued drinking there was a feeling of creaminess as I drank. I have to admit I have not sampled many reds that tasted creamy. Generally they were warming, but made my tongue do the cheek-slap thing I have mentioned in this post. This was more a Mmmmm.... to be savoured.

A perfect winter wine and on my list of must buys now.

Perfect For:

Winter warming, a lovely after work drink simply to relax with. Also will go perfectly with red meat, pasta, and perfect with 'brie' and crackers at New Year.

'Insieme' means 'together' in Italian and signifies the partnership between this winery and the Stellar winery in South Africa, which is a leading organic and fair trade estate, also specialising in 'No Sulphur Added' (NSA) wines. ~ Vintage Roots

Feelings After Drinking: Face normal, no strange feelings, still clear headed, no red rosacea - WOW! Oh and my teeth that normally stain did not.

Waverley Hills No Added Sulphites Cabernet Sauvignon / Organic Red Wine

Waverley Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Organic Red Wine

Keywords : No Added Sulphites / suitable for vegans /dark plum/blackcurrant flavour / 13.5% ABV/ creamy / Soft tannins / South African wine/ perfect for winter.

Glass Organic Red Wine
This is a rich Cabernet. Dark plums and cherries. Not too heavy; just the perfect amount of body. Fresh fruits coming through, leaving a lingering, peppery, spicy suggestion on the tongue. To me this is perfect to drink on its own. While not my favourite of the reds I've tried, it's a much more gentle Cabernet than I have had in non-organic varieties.

Soft, juicy Cabernet from the beautiful Cape winelands.

Superb addition to our growing number of 'NS' wines. Carefully hand picked and destemmed, the absence of sulphur raises the fruity, red berry and flower aromas, keeps the colour intensity and enriches and balances the palate. Best drunk young and fresh. ~ Vintage Roots

Perfect For:

Drinking on its own, drinking with friends, serving with a great sirloin or rib-eye steak and sautéed potatoes would be lovely. I also feel it would be perfect for eating with spicy foods.

Feelings After Drinking:

My skin was fine after this wine, no uncomfortable feelings and still clear-headed.

Touchstone Cabernet Sauvignon Organic Red Wine

Touchstone Cabernet Sauvignon Organic Red Wine

Keywords : Suitable for vegans / blackcurrant infusion / medium bodied /smooth/ Chilean wine. 

Glass Organic Red Wine
Okay, on my little journey through wine tasting I never thought I would actually taste what wine enthusiasts taste. I thought those people on TV raving on about gooseberries and peaches were all talking a load of nonsense. I thought they were making it up for ratings and that it was all a bit poserish. Well, I am being honest, this is a review after all (smiles).

Alas.. I hold my hands up and laugh a hearty laugh. With organic wines you actually do taste all those things. Am I surprised? Hell yes! And why have I not tasted wine this good before?

My first sip of this glorious red was a deep strong current of none other than blackcurrants. Yes I seriously can taste this in this wine. Slowly savouring every mouthful, like the other reds I have tried from Vintage Roots, I am having a new taste experience. And while this is not sulphite free (all wines have a measure of natural sulphites anyway - organic much lower!), I have none of my usual Father Christmas cheeks or weird sensations inside.

A smooth, delightful wine to wind down after a hard day or simply to enjoy with dinner. A wonderful Winter wine also.

Perfect For:

Winter, romantic dinners, after work wind down, serving with red meat, pasta and hearty cheeses. Or simply on its own for your own alone-time pleasure.

Made for us by star winemaker Alvaro Espinoza, this is benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes have been blessed with sunny Chilean skies and have ripened fully, giving medium-bodied blackcurrant fruits on the nose and palate. With a bit more tannic structure than say, Merlot, Cabernet will carry off heartier, more robust foods.
                                                              ~ Vintage Roots~

Feelings After Drinking: Face normal, no strange feelings, still feeling clear-headed, no red rosacea. Again, teeth that normally stain did not.


So does organic wine make a different to the taste and quality of wine? I did not know how much a difference it made until now. No skin reactions. The wine I have tasted has been smooth, easy to drink, tantalising my tastebuds in ways many wines do not. Many wines that have not been organic often have that cheek-slapping feel in the mouth, but the biggest bonus for me is I can actually taste the flavours in organic wine.No horrendous physical reactions and a very enjoyable experience overall. If you are thinking of switching, try some of their festive offers on now for this winter season and you may be surprised and never go back to cheap plonk full of too many sulphites.

Apart from Vintage Roots ethical side, I also love their support for the Born Free Foundation which is a dynamic international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and wild animal welfare. Vintage Roots has developed the 'Wild Thing' wine range and donate from the sales of this wine to the Born Free Foundation. Check these out below.

Organic Wine from Vintage Roots - The Organic Wine People - Born Free


Okay now it is your turn, how would you like to win 6 bottles of wine from Vintage Roots? 
I am sure you are all nodding 'YES PLEASE' 

So without further ado here is what you can win from Vintage Roots.

Organic Wine from Vintage Roots - The Organic Wine People

1 Bottle of  Mont'albano Prosecco Vino Frizzante (see review for further info)

1 Bottle of Vintage Roots Organic Blanc see HERE

1 Bottle of  Clos des Miran Cotes du Rhone Rose see HERE

1 Bottle of Touchstone Cabernet Sauvignon Organic Red Wine 
(see review for further info)

1 Bottle of  DOC Douro Moinho do Gato Organic Red see HERE

1 Bottle of  Casal Jordoes Finest Reserve Port (half bottle) see HERE

If you like what you see in this review, you can purchase organic wine  from VINTAGE ROOTS HERE . You can also keep up to date with VINTAGE ROOTS on Twitter HEREFacebook HERE and You Tube HERE.

Start entering on the competition app below. You get extra entries for social sharing and much more (UK ONLY).
I would like to say a great big thank you to VINTAGE ROOTS
for sponsoring this give-away and providing me with products to review.

                       MERRY CHRISTMAS & may 2014 be full of blessings for you!

                                                                   GOOD LUCK!


*ENTERING* - Enter through the app below, click on the first option (comment on blog) and follow instructions. This will unlock further additional entries into the competition.

Day 1 - WIN Organic Wine from VINTAGE ROOTS via Kelly Martin Speaks
Questions being answered in the comments below relate to:

Take a look at VINTAGE ROOTS and tell me, 
what would be your desert island wine and why?

Win competitions at


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