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As the first carbon neutral winery in the United Sates, Mendocino-based Parducci is our undisputed king of sustainable wine. It's not a marketing ploy; co-owner Tom Thornhill eats, sleeps, and breathes sustainability — or, as he says, "efficiency."
Shoestring has seen it in action: nothing is wasted at the Parducci winery. Almost every drop of water is recycled, the skins and other bits from the grapes are reused, and pesticides are forbidden — instead, a well-drilled army of wild animals is employed to do the job. There are even pigs about, although they're just for fun and good company.
Parducci wines are among the best value you can buy anywhere. The pick of the bunch is the outstanding Parducci Sustainable White 2008, which retails for a scarcely believable $10. A blend of chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, and a few other grape varieties, this is inexpensive enough to be a party wine, but perhaps too good for it. It's clean, fresh, balanced, and full of interesting flavors like candied citrus fruit and melon. Pair it with festive fare like some kind of bird or enjoy it by itself as an aperitif.
The pick of the other Parducci offerings is the True Grit Petite Syrah, 2006, ($30). It is a deep and complex wine with Turkish delight on the nose and blueberry custard Danish pastry on the palate. (Yes, that is a legitimate tasting note.)
Parducci wines are widely available at Whole Foods grocery stores nationwide. Visit Mendocino Wine Company for more info.
Copyright 2009 Shoestring, LLC. Photo credit: Ryan Thompson