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Bordeaux classed growths go fully organic

Chateaux Guiraud and Pontet Canet have become Bordeaux’s first classed growths to be certified organic.

Pontet Canet: organic but keeping quiet about it…

Pontet Canet in Pauillac, and Chateau Guiraud in Sauternes, have achieved full Agence Bio (AB) organic certification – Pontet Canet for its 2010 vintage and Guiraud from 2011.

Chateau Guiraud also registered the term BioViticulture® in December 2010, to reflect, as owner Xavier Planty told Decanter.com, ‘that for us organic is just the starting point. We wanted to stress that we also encourage biodiversity, recycling of water, carbon reduction… a more global approach to sustainable viticulture.’

As the first 1855 classified wines to become registered organic, Guiraud will put the term on its back label, while Pontet Canet will make no outward sign on the label – either of being organic or biodynamic (a more far-reaching form of organic farming that the chateau received Biodyvin certification for in 2006).

‘Chateaux who claim to practice organic viticulture without applying for certification are often paying lip service to it simply for marketing reasons,’ Jean-Michel Comme, director of Chateau Pontet Canet said.

‘To do it properly – and this is even more true with biodynamics – requires an investment not just of money, but time, human effort and philosophical beliefs.’

Both Chateau Climens in Sauternes, and Chateau Sénéjac in Haut Médoc are also currently converting to full biodynamic viticulture.

Fifty-nine French estates are certified biodynamic with Biodyvin, including Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy, and Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace.

As of late 2010, there were 3,024 estates certified organic with the Agence Bio (AB).

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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