2016 Pas Ordinaire Red Blend

This week I'm reviewing a red blend that I got in my most recent Winc order. It's name, Pas Ordinaire, directly translates to not ordinary, but the spirit of the translation is that the wine is extraordinary! This wine is from Southern France, and it's a blend of Grenache and Syrah. It was aged in a concrete tank, instead of the typical oak or steel barrel. Most interestingly, this is a biodynamic wine.

Now, what is a biodynamic wine? Biodynamics is a style or process of growing and taking care of the grapes. There are various components to it, and some of them can seem a little bizarre, but I've never tried a biodynamic wine that I didn't like. Biodynamic wine growers use organic farming techniques, they don't use pesticides, and they use natural supplements to enhance the soil. These natural supplements are where it can get a little weird, in particular, I remember once that my fiance was completely freaked out and turned off by a wine once when the sommelier told us that the farmer fills a cow's skull with manure and buries it in the soil near the wine in order to improve the soil. He thought that sounded like some sort of black magic, but manure is a commonly used fertilizer, and the bone of the cow skull contains various minerals that can help and strengthen the soil that the grapes grow in. Biodynamic farmers also pay attention to the patterns of the planets and the moon, like astrologers, and allow the timing of planetary configurations to dictate when they plant the grapes. This is where I get a little skeptical about how much that can impact the resulting wine, but like I previously stated, I've never had a bad biodynamic wine, so I guess something those farmers are doing is working. When I'm ordering wine at a restaurant or deciding what to buy at my local wine shop, I don't really let whether or not a wine is biodynamic or not sway my purchasing decision, but I think it's interesting and kind of groovy (I tried to think of a better word to use here, but groovy seemed so appropriate) when the wine I've already decided on turns out to be biodynamic. However, if you care a lot about your produce being organic and you prefer your wine to be organic as well, choosing a biodynamic wine is a great way to ensure that.


Moving on to actually drinking this biodynamic wine. When I smelled this wine I got strong notes of blackberries, cinnamon, and a hint of oak. This wine is a lovely dark and rich color, it's not a particularly bright red when you hold it up to the light. When I took my first few sips, I tasted blackberry, dark cherry, fresh fig, cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of vanilla, a hint of oak, and a hint of toasted almond. My impression of this wine is that it's an easy-drinking red, fruit-forward, medium-bodied, light tannins, and relatively dry. This would be a great wine to drink with other people, because it's a good wine, but it wouldn't drag the attention away from your conversation.

I paired this wine with chicken parmesan and broccoli, which I thought was a great pairing. I consider chicken parmesan to be kind of a fancy comfort food, the tastes are simple and familiar, but it does take more effort to make than a big bowl of pasta, and I thought that a really good but very easy to drink red was a perfect match for that kind of food. This wine would also be great with a fun cheese and charcuterie board, or with a hearty stew. My fiance and I have plans to make a flemish beef stew, but sub in portobello mushrooms for the beef, and I think this wine would go great with that.