Philosophy Zinfandel 2011, Mendocino
Philosophy Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Mendocino
E nvironmental concerns have really come to the forefront in the wine community these days. There is a great deal of talk about sustainable practices, carbon footprint and organic wines.
Now there is a new wine label whose central storyline is organic wine. No winery, no estate vineyards. Just organic wine sourced from the best vineyards the company can find.
It’s called Philosophy by Danny Seo (SEE-o), who describes himself as an environmental lifestyle expert. He is involved with all kinds of things from wood puzzles to perfume to a magazine and a website where he says style meets sustainability.
Now he’s turning his attention to wine, and the first two wines on the market are pretty good. Both the Zinfandel and the Sauvignon Blanc are good representations of their varietals. They are delicious and reasonably priced.
The Zin comes from 80 percent Old Vine Zinfandel and 20 percent Petite Sirah grown in Mendocino. The aroma is full of raspberry and plums leading to a fruit-forward taste with raspberries, blackberries and plums dominating. The wine has good texture and a long, smooth finish. The taste is lush and inviting.
The Sauvignon Blanc is made with 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown at higher elevations around the Russian River headwaters. Citrus and lemongrass predominate on the nose, with tropical fruit flavors mixed with bright citrus and pears. A crisp acidity keeps the wine fresh and makes it perfect for food pairings.
The wine is just beginning national distribution.
Winery: There is not one single winery, so much as a philosophy. Seo is working with several wineries to produce organic wines that suit his tastes.
“I am not actually making the wine or the products,” said Seo. “I am the storyteller.”
He also helped develop the name for the brand.
“All these names were coming to us, but they were hard to pronounce,” said Seo, who lives in Pennsylvania. “I was in LA at a bar and people kept ordering this inferior brand of liquor because it was pronounceable. So I knew I had to find something people could say.”
“I was always talking about what my philosophy was, so it just seemed like the right name for the label. Why not call it Philosophy?”
Seo does retain final approval on the wine. If he doesn’t like the taste of the wine being made, they don’t bottle it under his label.
Now he is working with wineries in Europe to produce a Riesling, a Chianti and a Prosecco. Then he is heading to Australia where he hopes to source another good wine. For Seo, it’s all about the taste of the wine and sustainability of the vineyards.
Seo talked about his devotion to “green” practices. “I spent my whole life on this unusual mission,” he said. “At a young age I got interested in the environment. I came to it from a place of health.
“Twenty years ago it was almost a shameful thing to be green. You had sit-ins, Greenpeace, violence. I wanted to marry the world of Greenpeace and Martha Stewart. I want fun, beauty, style–nothing scary. It’s not about pushing my product, but pushing sustainability.”
Goes with: My wife Teri and I had the Sauvignon Blanc with crab cakes and thinly-sliced home fries. It was an incredible combination. The mellow citrus and pear flavors nicely balanced the crab, which we flavored with lemon juice and cocktail sauce.
We had the Zin before dinner with cheese and crackers and thought it was a pleasant combination. This is a round, mellow, balanced Zin that tastes really good with food.
The Zinfandel also would pair well with all kinds of meat and veggies on the grill, burgers and pizza. As Seo says, Burger, fries and wine. That’s the American way.”
The Sauvignon Blanc should go nicely with lemon chicken, fish in citrus, salads with vinaigrette and goat cheese.
Philosophy Wine Makes A Strong Environmental Stand
Philosophy Zinfandel 2011, Mendocino