Finding the right bottle of organic wine isn't as easy as plucking a fertilizer-free grape off the vine. Few wines have earned the USDA green seal of approval, indicating that vino contains not only organically grown grapes but also no added sulfites—a preservative. Remember: Wines without sulfites lose color and body faster than those with sulfites; drink whites within two years and reds within eight years. The wines here were certified for the USDA by California Certified Organic Farmers. For more about organic labeling, click here.

Wine

Character

Pair with

Aficionado fact

Coates 2003 Syrah

Full-bodied and tannic with a touch of dark cherries

Rich stews and foods with high protein loads, such as steak and lamb

At 30 years old, Coates was one of the first organic farms on California's North Coast.

Frey Vineyards 2003 Late Harvest Zinfandel

Ripe, sweet fruit accents

Blueberry pie; reduce and drizzle over vanilla frozen yogurt

Grapes are juiced when bursting with sugar at the height of ripeness.

LaRocca Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay

A dry, European-style Chardonnay with clean, crisp hints of grapefruit and apple

Mixed greens with walnuts and apples; fettuccini Alfredo; salmon

Chardonnay grapes are grown in the volcanic soil at the foot of central California's Sutter Buttes mountains.

Photo: Jeff Padrick