The natural wine movement is now reaching new heights, both in terms of production and consumption, and there are still a lot of people out there, especially those that we are preaching to that still don’t know a lot about natural wine. I think now it’s time to define these wines so consumers know that what they’re drinking.
According to Loire Valley-based winemaker Laurent Saillard; “Wine is the only food product where you don’t have to list any ingredients. It doesn’t make any sense to me. People would be shocked to see the ingredients in a bottle of wine.”
Saillard is not only referring to sulfur, a preservative that stabilizes wine and keeps it fresh. What he’s referencing is the myriad of other additives that mainstream brands incorporate into their juice flow; chemical pesticides in the vineyards; artificial yeasts for jump-starting fermentation; artificial tannins in white powdered form; colour compounds; even plain white sugar. Of course, a natural winemaker would never touch these ingredients.
I think this is why it’s so important for these kinds of wines to be classified. Consumers like to know what they’re eating, so how does that differentiate to what you are drinking? It doesn’t. This is where we come in, to simplify the confusion around natural winemaking.
So what is a natural wine, and how is it made?
Natural wine is produced in vineyards, who’s producers spend extra time and care to nurture and protect life from vine to cellar and to bottle. It is a wine that is farmed organically, at the very least, and that is produced without adding any nasties during fermentation. Natural wine is practically unfiltered grape juice that is left to ferment and then bottled with a fantastic story and a great balancing act between life and the cellar.
Unlike those wines you purchase from a supermarket shelf, the benefit of drinking a natural wine is that you are less likely to gain a headache because there are close to no histamines, and no added chemicals. The only added product you might find in a bottle of Natural wine is a tiny bit of Sulphur – this is merely for shelf life, and to keep the wine fresh. In most simple terms Natural wine contains far less artificial stuff, for this reason, it’s less surprising that it may be better for you in the long run.
Below is a Natural wine that I tasted at home recently, genuinely I was absolutely blown away, that such a simple technique could taste so good after being fermented and bottled. This wine is unfortunately nearly impossible to get your hands on, they only make 300 bottles a year, and this is not predicted to increase, but we do sell the sister wine – Forks and Knives Milan Nestarec White.
And like most Natural wines, the tasting note really does express the wine; Like it’s the Magic Hour on a perfect 81 degree Palm Springs afternoon. It has the fruitiness and acidity of an optimistic, tiki-inspired cocktail, something you would be drinking poolside in the early 1970’s. The kind of drink that is so delicious and juicy, that you drink a few too many of, and consider becoming a swinger for a second. Goes down so easy, but has a nice weight to it. Tastes like pineapple with honeydew, a twist of lime and a hint of juniper. It’s sophisticated but mischievous. Like all good hosts should be.
I guess all you need to do now, is find out for yourself, just how good these wines really are!