Pinot vs. Merlot? That’s so last vintage. The biggest thing to hit the wine world since Sideways might be the burgeoning category of so-called “natural” wines—those made from organically or biodynamically grown grapes, typically produced by small domains with very little technical intervention. It might sound like hooey, but the movement is gathering steam: Last week, Scott Pactor opened Appellation, the first shop in New York to market itself as a natural-wine source. More than two thirds of Pactor’s inventory is either organic or biodynamic, organized by country and by body (lightest to fullest). “In order to be bio,” says Pactor, “chances are you’re plowing fields using animals, and using their dung as compost. You’re intimate with your grapes.” Whether consumers are as intimate with some of these wines is another matter—one Pactor plans to address by assiduous hand-selling and plenty of tastings.
Define Your Yerms
Organic: Made without chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Biodynamic: A method of farming that integrates organic agriculture and the role of farm animals with the rhythm of the cosmos and the cycles of the earth, moon, and stars. Seriously.
Going Natural: Restaurants Big on Organic and Biodynamic Wines
Counter 105 First Ave., nr. 7th St.; 212-982-5870
Quartino Bottega Organica 11 Bleecker St., nr. Elizabeth St.; 212-529-5133
360 360 Van Brunt St., nr. Wolcott St., Red Hook, Brooklyn; 718-246-0360
Ici 246 DeKalb Ave., nr. Vanderbilt Ave., Ft. Greene, Brooklyn; 718-789-2778
Pure Food and Wine 54 Irving Pl., nr. 17th St.; 212-477-1010