Just how many domaines are biodynamic in Chateauneuf du Pape? For a quick temperature check you need not look any further than to consultant extraordinaire, Philippe Cambie. With close to three quarters of Cambie's clients practicing biodynamic farming, this statistic takes on heavy relevance when considering his reach. While Chateauneuf is hardly the only region where biodynamics have taken a fashionable stronghold, its rampant proliferation brings to mind the question:
Gimmick or greatness?
Most fads tend to die out as quickly as they emerge, but when considering the fact that biodynamic farming demands excruciating diligence as well as obedience, it is difficult to paint it with an ephemeral brush. While there are certain to be some pockets of false brands that hope to use a biodynamic calling card as a sales pitch, the sheer difficulty of becoming certified (much less the laborious practice itself) is likely to discourage this as a widespread practice.
In terms of my personal understanding of it all, I'd like to appreciate how taste, or viticultural growth & vitality, are affected from a gravitational perspective, but I'm still wrapping my brain around the moon's more linear effects on tide & weight. Walk before I run.
What I find compelling is that at the root of this philosophy there is an immutable dedication and almost fanatical passion which often does find its way into the bottle. I am certain there are biodynamic wines that I won't enjoy, but I'd imagine the sheer attention to detail will almost always lead to something at least moderately interesting, if not convincing. If I looked at bottle selection purely from an inorganic, organic and biodynamic point of view, I'd imagine my batting average would increase as I moved along that pendulum (not to say there wouldn't be plenty of caveats). Even if I can't grasp how one can be so unearthly to say that 'they became a vine' or comprehend their extolled virtues of the 4th dimension, I have noticed that the crazier the vigneron, the more likely I am to find their product to be provocative in the least. While I've yet to find a true quality guarantee, a biodynamic stamp is as close as it gets to immediate intrigue.