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Biodynamic vineyards at the Los Robles estate, Emiliana Organic Vineyards, Chile. Emiliana has become not only one of the largest organic and biodynamic producers in Chile, but also one of the biggest producers in the world.Sara Matthews

Organic winemaking was not a big part of the Chilean wine scene when the winery Emiliana started using the approach in 1998.

Despite the country’s dry climate and low incidence of vine pests and diseases, Chile’s producers mostly dismissed the approach because of costs associated with farming and certification.

Since then, Emiliana has become not only one of the largest organic and biodynamic producers in Chile, but also one of the biggest producers in the world. The operation produces a portfolio of red and white wines from company-owned vineyards in the main valleys of the country, including Bio-Bio, Colchagua and Maipo. There is an expanding interest in the affordably priced Adobe, which is available in 35 countries and ranks as one of the most widely available organic wine brands.

Other Chilean wineries, notably Cono Sur, Miguel Torres Chile, Koyle, Odfjell and Veramonte, have embraced organic grape growing and winemaking as consumer interest has blossomed.

A fresh and appetizing red blend from Emiliana’s Novas label is featured as one of this week’s recommendations. These 10 wines are nicely balanced and flavourful, styles that I find attractive these days when winter is really dragging, with the odd teasing rays of sunshine to foreshadow the change of season to come.

Alamos Seleccion Malbec 2018 (Argentina), $16.95

Rating:88 /100

This smooth and flavourful red wine delivers the house style for Alamos Seleccion, offering rich and concentrated fruit flavours with upfront oak-derived coffee and vanilla notes. In a dry yet fruity style, this balanced red wine is made for mass appeal. Drink now. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $17.99 in Manitoba, $16.75 in Quebec.

Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano 2018 (Italy), $22.95

Rating:92 /100

This organic red blend of sangiovese and cabernet comes from Carmignano, north of Florence in Tuscany, where Capezzana is the largest producer. A rich and complex wine, this has a lovely fragrance and juicy flavours of cherry and spices as part of its bright and enjoyable character. There’s charm here, which makes this refreshing wine enjoyable on its own or with a meal. Drink now-2028. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta.

Crios Chardonnay 2020 (Argentina), $15.95

Rating:89 /100

A fresh and inviting chardonnay from the Uco Valley showcases lovely citrus, peach and pear notes as part of its vibrant and elegant style. The refreshing character gains some depth and complexity from floral and leesy notes. The approachable style and friendly price make it a solid everyday option, particularly for the warmer days ahead. Drink now-2025. Available in Ontario.

Drappier Brut Nature Pinot Noir Champagne (France), $64.95

Rating:91 /100

An enjoyable Champagne with a rich and complex character, this sparkling wine is produced exclusively with Pinot Noir. Brut Nature on the label means that this didn’t receive any dosage, the last stage of traditional method sparkling wine production before the cork goes in, which often adds some sweetness to counterbalance the acidity. That wasn’t necessary here. There’s serious depth of flavour thanks to the toasty, nutty and honeyed notes that add interest to the lemony flavours that carry through the long, lingering finish. Drink now-2026. Available at the above price in Ontario, $53 in Quebec.

Kutjevo Grasevina 2020 (Croatia), $16.95

Rating:89 /100

Grasevina is one of the major white wine grapes grown in Croatia. In other parts of the world, it’s known as welchriesling and celebrated for its ability to craft appealingly fruity wines with a refreshing character like this one as well as lusciously sweet desert style wines. The mix of citrus and apple notes make this dry white an ideal candidate for spring and summer sipping. Drink now-2025. Available in Ontario at the above price, $19.49 in Manitoba.

Humberto Canale Patagonia Intimo Malbec 2019 (Argentina), $14.95

Rating:88 /100

This expressive malbec comes from estate vineyards in Patagonia, where the cooler climate produces a fresh and fruity style of Argentina’s signature red wine. The flavours focus on juicy red berries with some peppery and subtle vanilla accents. Made in a dry and refreshing style, with a bright and spicy finish, this is best enjoyed with a meal. Drink now-2026. Available in Ontario.

Novas Gran Reserva Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Chile), $16

Rating:88 /100

Made by Emiliana, one of the leading organic winemakers in Chile, this blend of carmenere and cabernet sauvignon comes from its estate in the Colchagua Valley. Made in a ripe and generous style that’s all about the flavours that come from the grapes, this offers cooked berry and red pepper aromas and flavours that carry through to a dry finish. Drink now-2025. Vegan-friendly. Available at the above price in Ontario, $16.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $18.99 in Saskatchewan, $15.99 in Manitoba.

Salentein Reserve Malbec 2019 (Argentina), $17.95

Rating:90 /100

Salentein is a consistent source of complex and serious red wines from its estate vineyards in the Uco Valley of Mendoza. Its reserve malbec is nicely structured with layers of complex flavours suggesting ripe dark fruit, savoury and earthy notes. Less exuberant and polished than many Mendoza malbecs at this price, this is an attractive style to enjoy now. Drink now-2025. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta.

Undurraga Terroir Hunter Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Chile), $24.95

Rating:91 /100

Undurraga’s Terroir Hunter label focuses on the best grape varieties grown in Chile’s diverse winemaking regions, such as sauvignon blanc from Leyda or this classic Cabernet from the Maipo Valley. A dry, red wine with appealing intensity and concentration, this is nicely layered with dark fruit, spice and herbal notes. Decant for best enjoyment. Drink now-2028. Available in Ontario at the above price, $36.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta.

Zingari 2018 (Italy), $19.95

Rating:90 /100

Made by the family-owned Petra winery, Zingari combines merlot, sangiovese, syrah and petit verdot grapes grown in Maremma, near the coast in Tuscany. The result is an impressive red wine with pleasingly ripe flavours and a smooth texture that’s balanced by the bright acidity. Drink now-2026. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $18.05 in Quebec.

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