Food & Wine
2016 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, Loire Valley, France
In the realm of agricultural products, vintners throughout the world have been at the forefront of environmental awareness.
This organic, quasispiritual farming approach, which also produces some very good wines, arrived in the wine world in the late 1960s. But it took the magnetic Loire vintner Nicolas Joly’s founding of the Return to Terroir group in 2001 to bring broad awareness to it. His gorgeous, minerally 2016 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant ($122) is arguably still the defining biodynamic wine.
Wine’s most controversial topic in the past decade, natural wine’s credo is best described as “nothing added, nothing removed,” meaning as little human intervention as possible. It’s a walking-on-thecliff’s-edge approach; when things go wrong, weirdness results. But when things go right, as with the 2019 Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso ($36), full of intense wild-berry energy, the results can be brilliant.
In 2006, Oregon’s Stoller Winery earned the first LEED Gold certification in the world, a groundbreaking step in the movement toward sustainable, eco-friendly winery structures—a direction soon followed by many others. Plus, the winery’s 2018 Stoller Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($35), with its lovely raspberry fruit and silky texture, shows that doing ecological good is no impediment to making excellent wine.