These days, more and more wineries are adopting sustainable practices in producing their wine from organic farming methods to alternative methods to packaging. CalNaturale is a wine company that prides itself on producing wines with high quality winemaking techniques from vineyards that use organic farming methods. They even take it one step further and package their wine in Tetra-Pak cartons that are eco-friendly and make the wine very portable. It is also the first and only California wine made from certified organic grapes and in this type of packaging.
They currently produce two wines: a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for both varieties come from Paso Robles. The grapes are certified organic which means they do not contain any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. The wines are packaged in 500 ml and 1 Liter cartons. I was sent one of each of the wines to taste in the 500 ml size, which is roughly two glasses per carton.
The CalNaturale 2009 Chardonnay comes from grapes grown in Mendocino, California. Upon opening the carton, I got a very strong smell of sulfur. I gave the carton about an hour of air time. The sulfur smell did dissipate significantly after an hour and the wine started opening up and revealing it’s nose. In the glass, the wine poured a golden straw color and I got green apple and citrus on the nose. This was a Chardonnay that did not undergo any malolactic fermentation from what I could tell, which was nice. On the palate, the crisp green apple and citrus dominated along with some very faint tropical fruit and a somewhat abrupt finish. Pair this wine with simple grilled chicken or grilled fish off the BBQ.
The CalNaturale 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from grapes from the French Camp Vineyard in Paso Robles. Unlike the Chardonnay, this wine did not have the strong sulfur odor upon opening the carton. I did the same thing I did with the Chardonnay, I let it get some air time for about an hour. The wine poured a deep garnet color in the glass. The nose was pleasant with raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries, currant, spices, and some oak. This Cabernet is full bodied and rich with a strong tannic structure. I got a lot of juicy blackberries, blueberries, and boysenberries on the palate along with cassis, and touches of oak and spice on a long finish with hints of coffee. I rather enjoyed this wine and wouldn’t mind recommending it to friends who want an easy drinking Cabernet that they can take with them to parties or summer BBQs. Pair this with burgers or steak off the grill and you have a summer party.
The 500 ml size cartons sell for $6.99 per carton, while the 1 liter carton sells for $12.99. The portability of the Tetra-Pak makes these wines ideal for camping, BBQs, and picnics where traditional glass bottles would not be as practical. Throw some in the picnic basket for an easy way to enjoy wine while dining outdoors. This wine is recommended for its portability and the fact that you can feel good about drinking an environmentally-friendly wine will appeal to many people. This wine can be found at your neighborhood Whole Foods market or you can go on the CalNaturale website and search for stores near you that sell it.
Special thanks to the nice people at CalNaturale for giving me an opportunity to learn more about what they are doing and sample their wines. Until the next time!
*These wines were sent as media samples for review purposes.