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Natural Wines: Would you try them?

I think zero added sulphites wines are more common than you might think, even if they a minority of all natural wines.

If you take a look at the list of natural wines filtered by a lower SO2 content on the Raw Wine website, and then click around on several wines, you will find a fair proportion have no added sulphites. Unfortunately there is no filter for “no added sulphites” so it is difficult to get statistics from that source. Here are wines with under 20ppm SO2

Also note that the Organic Wine category in the USA is not allowed to have added sulphites.

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It appears that Alice Feiring is as appalled by the state of natural wines as most of us here are. This was published on Tuesday: http://www.worldoffinewine.com/news/the-end-of-the-age-of-innocence-7454470


Really interesting article, thanks for sharing.

Some great passages in there:

An importer I know here in New York City brought some bottles for me to taste. I had asked for Aligoté, and he brought one from a producer whose wines I know to be uneven. I tasted and grimaced. Let’s just say there was a whole family of mice in that glass. “ Souris ,” I said. He laughed and shrugged. “The kids like it,” he replied.

People happy to accept flawed wine because they are common in the style of wine they enjoy (or at least think they should be enjoying), bonkers!

I’ve got no problem with natural wine, I think it’s just another category of winemaking where done with care and thought could make fantastic wine.

However, if the behaviour described in the article encourages production of wines that are poorly made and bottled with all manner of flaws (from reading the article, not even related to the fact that they are made naturally), it’s just a ridiculous fad that can only be damaging to natural wine and the wine industry as a whole.


Great read! thanks for sharing, @MalcolmV!

This was an interesting observation: “All too often, people buy and are served flawed wines because neither the salesperson nor the sommelier can recognize the flaw. To them, it’s just generic ‘natural-wine taste.’”

I wonder if there’s also something of the Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome at play here…? If you invested in this wine - emotionally, ideologically or even financially - you might not want to rush to admit that it is faulty.


Yes, I imagine there’s an element of that - I think that also fits with the “identity” aspect mentioned some months back.

There’s another matter I’ve been mulling over, which is that of learned behaviour. Humans with untutored palates (aka children) will naturally reject anything that tastes bitter. We have to teach ourselves to accept a degree of bitterness, which of course we do with G&Ts. I wonder if there is also something of that going on here - maybe that mousiness was repellent to start with, but is acceptable now -?


There you go @Leah , you will acclimatise to the whole ‘mousiness’ you’re having problems with in this thread:

Ditch the traps and poison, just persevere!


Hahaha I’ll just get myself some “natural” mousy wine ! Should do the trick :joy:.


Don’t see too many people “appalled” myself. Standards of "natural’ winemaking are clearly increasing as the practices become more widespread and mainstream. In many parts of the world - such as Friuli/Slovenia, and Etna, both of which I’ve just visited - many of the tenets of “natural” winemaking are already standard practice.

Obviously there is some rubbish from the bandwagon jumpers, but that is the case with every fashion. Far more shit wine is sold than good wine - just look at the supermarkets, where almost everyone in this country buys wine. Plus ca change…

This is quite simply a non issue these days IMO.


Personally I find that there seems to be a big difference in quality between wines that are marketed as being “natural” vs wines that just happen to be made with low intervention techniques. I tend to avoid wines sold purely on the merits of being “natural” or low sulphur.


Fair enough. But the marketing of the wines is surely far more to do with the merchants that sell them than the winemakers themselves?

No wine just happens to be made with low intervention techniques, it’s a decision made very consciously by the winemaker. The distinction you’re making is surely only a marketing distinction?

I’m inclined to see that as a perfectly acceptable distinction. Inevitably any such discussion is filled with generalisations. I wonder how many of those who make a big thing of their wine being natural are trying to highlight a potential selling point in a wine that otherwise is lacking in them. Whereas marketers of a ‘natural’ wine that is good anyway maybe don’t consider it an aspect worth pushing.


What side of the distinction would you put wine makers such as Occhipinti, Cos, Lapierre, Ganevat etc? They all make outstanding, world class wines which are sold by natural wine distributors and natural wine bars, and have labels which don’t hark back to the 19th century… When I read people attacking natural wine it almost always comes with the caveat that they don’t consider all the outstanding natural wine to be natural wine, which makes it a pretty circular argument


I am still unclear what makes a wine a ‘natural wine’. It seems to be a term often bandied about, but with no actual definition.

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This is a pretty good sulphur free Chiroubles. Worth it if you like young fruity Beaujolais like me.

Just finished this podcast. I don’t think it’s been mentioned above so thought I’d share.

Really interesting, listening to Elena speak about her reasoning behind her decision to go ‘natural’ makes so much sense. When it’s done like that, you can’t help but get behind it (and want to try the wine). Episode notes below

Edited to actually include the notes

Oooooo love the idtt podcast! The oz clarke one was fabulous!!

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Haven’t had a La Stoppa wine for years now, but the Ageno white (2005?) was an early flag bearer for “natural” and an excellent wine in itself.

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Just listening to the one with Katharina Prum now!

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I also had the Ageno, 2010 I think, and was very impressed.

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