Last Saturday, I went to my local Total Wine store with the express purpose of finding six reasonably priced organic or sustainably farmed wines that I’ve never tried before. It wasn’t difficult. The store had set up a “Green Wine” section, and there were several bottles under $20 to chose from. My intention is to tell you about the ones that I like (and not mention the ones that I don’t. Everyone’s taste in wine is different).

The first bottle I opened was a 2007 Zinfandel from Bonterra Vineyards in Mendocino County, Calif. ($11.99). There was a definite smell of plum upon first sniff, and a slightly spicey taste that was good, but didn’t particularly wow me … at first.

It wasn’t until I began to prepare dinner that I became impressed with this wine. The day had been incredibly warm and beautiful for early March, and we decided it was the perfect day for the first burgers on the grill of the season. I like my burger topped with blue cheese, and of course I have to munch on the blue cheese crumbles while the burgers cook.

The strong taste of the blue cheese was exactly what this wine needed to bump it up to something noticeable. It ended being an excellent complement to my grilled blue cheese burger.

I went to Bonterra’s website to see what they had to if they had suggested pairings. They suggest:

Grilled meat with blackberry sage sauce, BBQ Ribs, Spaghetti and meat balls in spicy marinara, Grilled tuna with black pepper rub, Bittersweet chocolate raspberry torte

I suppose my instincts were pretty good here. Those are all strongly flavored foods.   Bonterra offers several varietals of red and white, and they also have one biodynamic selection called the McNabb, that I’d love to taste if I can find it.  

The Zinfandel that I drank was made from grapes that were grown organically but the wine itself is not certified organic. It does contain sulfites. Bonterra uses sustainable farming practices. 

Image: Bonterra website

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Bonterra Vineyards 2007 Zinfandel
Can the words good, reasonably priced and organic all refer to a wine?