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A Hedonistic, Biodynamic Wine

The Hedonist Shiraz 2005 McLaren Vale ($20)

With a name like The Hedonist, you’d expect this Aussie Shiraz to blow your socks off with tannic power, but instead the wine comes off as sophisticated and well balanced. This is not say there’s nothing hedonistic about it --- its aromas are intoxicating and every sip (or gulp) is pure pleasure.

The Hedonist is also a biodynamic wine. Biodynamic agriculture is a form of organic farming that incorporates a spiritual aspect of the interrelationship of plants, soil and animals. This system dates back to Silesia, Germany in 1924, when farmers began noticing degradation of the soil and crops as a result of chemical fertilizers. The concept arrived in Australia only a few years later.

According to Fork & Bottle, there are currently at least 475 biodynamic wine producers in the world. Proponents say the method of winemaking, which often involves using natural manure, stuffing it into cow horns and burying it in the ground, generates better-tasting wines with clearer flavors and aromas, as well as healthier vineyards. Skeptics deride the mysticism that’s wrapped up in this type of farming, arguing that regular organic practices would have the same effect on the vines and wines.

Whether it’s the result of biodynamic spiritualism or just plain old attention to detail, The Hedonist is certainly worth its $20 price tag – no skepticism is required to enjoy this bottle.

Quaffability Rating: 91

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“A Hedonistic, Biodynamic Wine”