Nature takes the upper hand

Monty WaldinBiodynamics takes centre-stage at English-wine specialist Artisan & Vine next Wednesday when wine producer and author Monty Waldin takes to the chair. In the second of its groundbreaking Natural Heroes series, Monty acts as curator, selecting a few of the UK’s leading organic and biodynamic wines to share alongside his own red from Tuscany.

Familiar to many from his 2008 Channel 4 series Chateau Monty about the birth of his own biodynamic winery in Tuscany, Monty recently published the Biodynamic Wine Guide 2011, a comprehensive global guide featuring over 1500 biodynamic wineries around the world. He believes that biodynamics has a strong future in the UK, citing Sedlescombe in East Sussex in particular for its pioneering approach.

Sedlescombe First Release“What is so interesting is that Britain's organic and biodynamic winemakers are working successfully both with traditional French grape varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are said to be tricky to grow without using chemicals, as well as with varieties like Solaris and Bacchus,” says Monty. “Global warming is supposed to make the UK a paradise for wine-growing,” he continues. “But in fact warmer temperatures may actually make things tougher as far as mildew and berry rots are concerned. This is why disease-resistant varieties like Solaris and Bacchus which feature in Sedlescombe First Release (reviewed here), make such sense.”

Illustrating the buzz around biodynamics, Monty has a busy week ahead, sandwiching his Artisan & Vine evening with a talk on Tuesday at Europe’s first Natural Wine Fair in London's Borough and a seminar on Thursday at Laverstoke Park for the UK’s organic and biodynamic wine producers.

As well as showing his own wine, Tuscan Red, Monty will be introducing a trio of Sedlescombe wines, including First Release, plus a pair from one of England’s brightest new winemakers, Will Davenport, including his sublime Blanc de Blancs sparkler.

The first Natural Heroes evening with the legendary Frank Cornelissen on May 11, was a sell-out, the individual character of his Etna wines being matched with aplomb by chef James Robson’s cooking. For a review see Guardian columnist Fiona Beckett’s insightful Wine Made Naturally blog.

Monty at Artisan & VineNatural Heroes

18 May, £39, 7.30pm for 8pm, tickets available from Artisan & Vine

Monty's Favourite Visit

To find out why Sedlescombe is Monty's favourite UK visit, see here.