Organic oenophilia

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

We know about the environmentally aware, upstanding organic cousins of fruits, grains and floorboards. And we know that with less of a price on the environment, they come with a higher price tag.

But when it comes to wine, not all of the organic selections come with a steep increase at Europia Wine & Spirits in the Short North, which owner Pia Hiotis notes is "the only liquor store lit by chandeliers."

She expects the shop's limited organic section will continue to grow as wineries switch to chemical-free growing.

"I've had organic wines since day one," Hiotis said. Here are some of her top picks.

Organic Vintners Chardonnay (2007)

Cost: $14

Region: Mendocino, California

Flavors: Bright lemon-lime, pear, green apple and vanilla notes with a creamy, medium-bodied taste

Pairs well with: Creamy pasta dishes, grilled scallops or salmon in a creamy dill sauce

Who'll enjoy it: Chardonnay lovers who don't like overly oaky flavors

Pia Hiotis' advice: "Not only can you drink with an eco-friendly, guiltless conscience, your friends will be impressed."

Our Daily Red (2007)

Cost: $8

Region: Nevada County, California

Flavors: A light-bodied blend of syrah, carignan and Mendocino cabernet with plum and berry aromas

Pairs well with: Pasta and pizza

Who'll enjoy it: Someone looking for an uncomplicated, inexpensive nightcap

Pia Hiotis' advice: "Most wineries add sulfites; this winery doesn't. [They give] a lot of people ... headaches and stuff like that."

Organic Vintners Pinot Noir (2007)

Cost: $19

Region: Mendocino, California

Flavors: Blackberries and smoky spice in a lighter-bodied pinot noir

Pairs well with: Greek cuisine, portobello burgers or grilled ahi tuna

Who'll enjoy it: Looking for a red that won't overpower fish? This is it.

Pia Hiotis' advice: "Treat yourself to a smooth, elegant wine after a hard day's work."