Buon Vino is a great shop.
We’ve been to a Les Caves de Pyrène tasting, locally. Their guy was Doug, a real geek on natural wine and an interesting evening. Didn’t find anything I really liked and the next day had the worse hangover I’ve ever had v the small amount drunk. I even had to miss a stag do the next evening!
if you want to try they run some restaurants/wine bars in the west end. Terroir on William IV St. was the first, think there are others now.
Natural wine is not for me either, and I will not go out of my way to look for it and certainly not pay more for it. It may just be my old cynical self, but anything that smells of a ‘fad’ I run a mile from. Organic? yes! I’ll even swallow biodynamic practices (despite a visceral dislike of the airy fairy ‘science’ involved- I could go on, but won’t). That’s because it seems an honest attempt to be more attuned to the land and think more holistically, and therefore more sustainably about a crop which is, less face it, a luxury (wonderful, but luxury nonetheless)… but natural…? Not for me! I suspect that like any fad, it’ll be replaced by something else at some point. Perhaps some of this is just natural (no pun intended!)- in terms of the ebb and flow of fashion. It seems, for example, that so many producers now go the amphora (or the Georgian Qvevri) way- again, experimenting is good and should be encouraged, for sure, but if everyone is all of a sudden concerned with it, it starts feeling like ‘experimenting’ for its own sake, not to mention just jumping on the bandwagon in the fear of missing out on some trick (and some income).
This is going to run and run as “natural” is seen as the next step on the organic bio diverse treadmill, and if there is money to be made out of promoting it , it will be made regardless of having any attributes over any standard wine.
I put a comment up on the Grapevine section on a piece on this and have little to add to that, though this from Hugh Johnson is not an isolated take on natural wines.
Thanks for the Buon Vino tip. Have placed an order.
If you’ve bought from Buon Vino, I hope you haven’t bought this , it’s horrendous ! I will not be trying it again
No, didn’t get that one. Went for a mixed case of low/no sulphur and picked well-reviewed wines.
I don’t know how ‘natural’ this is but I think it must be pretty much as close as tws gets. Claims no sulphites in the ‘recipe’ on the back, but also says ‘contains sulphites’ so I assume that means none during vinification but some added at bottling.
Just drinking a glass now and enjoying it very much. Initial smell reminded me of one of my 9 month old’s dirty nappies, not very promising! That’s resolved and now it’s pure black fruit, nice balance and very drinkable. I don’t know where it’s hiding the 14.5% alcohol but I’m sure I’ll find out either later tonight or tomorrow morning…
Has anyone else had it? If so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
As I said earlier, natural wine is a bandwagon that many are climbing aboard.
In my old borough Hackney, the gentrified areas are full of “hipster” bars and tapas type restaurants all claiming to have the latest “natural” wines, none of which anyone has heard of and least of all tried.
You’re entitled to your opinion, but I think you do a disservice to lots of winemakers who believe in their low-intervention wines, and to lots of customers who do enjoy drinking them. I don’t know where you stand on experts in wine, but there are also lots of commentators who enjoy ‘natural’ wines (eg Jamie Goode).
I’m not denying it’s very trendy, and some people probably do pretend to enjoy some of the cidery wines which I’d find horrible. But it’s a spectrum and I’ve enjoyed wines at the more accessible end (eg force majeure Chenin blanc, and the corbieres above).
A chacun son gout, and all that.
Certainly, everyone to their own, but natural wine organic wine bio diversity are all hangers to put your coat on if you feel it makes a difference .
The problem is with the later that bio is a cult, there is no proof it does anything, homeopathy for wine someone called it, and organic depending on your stance is virtually standard in most modern vineyards anyway, what do they use that does not come from the earth in the first place, and the days of bulk fertilizing have long gone, the line between good vineyard practice and organic as many claim is infinitesimal in most cases these days.
Natural is a different animal and at this moment in time is trendy rather than founded in anything, please read the link to Hugh Johnsons comment above who as I say is one of many who say the same thing.
As a riposte to Hugh Johnson, can I invite you to read these articles?
Thank you I have read them, but at this moment in time for every expert article pushing natural wines whatever that actually means , there are others who put the opposite case, no doubt when the movement decides what actually is a natural wine we will become better informed as to what is in the bottle and decide if we want to spend our money that way.
Here is for example part of what Jancis said, for me it is a minefield I would not indulge in at this time that is all.
"Having tried many of their finds both at their trade tastings and at Terroirs, I find myself bemused. I love the theory behind natural wines, but in practice I find them frustratingly unpredictable. I have never had a natural wine that I would put in the top hundred wines I have ever tasted. They tend to best represent youthful frankness and simplicity rather than the grandiose complexity of a wine long-aged in bottle. Successful natural wines have a vitality and personality that really does set them apart from the commercial mainstream, but some can be all too reminiscent of cider that’s gone off. "
Sorry, I should have added that “orange” wines are not in any way necessarily part of the natural organic movement, they are after all just white grapes treated as red grapes giving the colour by longer skin cantact and imparting deeper flavours and more tannins.
This is the best middle class rap battle I’ve ever seen
Probably means no added sulphites - none added at any time.
But grapes naturally contain sulphur - it is taken up from the soil, and the fermentation process creates sulphites in the wine. That can in itself easily push the sulphite level above that which triggers the need for a warning label.
So all wines contain sulphites, and I think most winemakers would just display the warning to be on the safe side. Those that don’t really should be measuring the sulphite level to make sure they are complying with regulations.
This is where some misunderstanding can occur. The automatic assumption by a lot of people that “orange” wines are natural wines just isn’t the case . I drank a lot of Georgian orange wines when I lived in Baku (Azerbaijan). The Azeri wine just wasn’t up to the mark . These “Orange” wines did not taste like some of the natural wines I’ve tasted over the past couple of years and like you say, true natural wines are more than just skin contact . They are purposely made in a manner which discourages human intervention, and if S02 is being aggressively avoided, then the antiseptic and antibacterial properties bestowed on the wine in normal practice is also being ignored . Add to that the lack of finning and filtering and you are left with an extremely volatile product. This makes it very easy to understand why some natural wines taste so horrendous , but what are the winery’s who are making half decent natural wines doing ?? Are they using “some” modern practices ? Or have they just been lucky?
There’s a lot of sneering in this thread (and elsewhere) about natural wine. A lot of old world wines in the mid to very high end could easily be classified as ‘low intervention’ or ‘natural’ in terms of their winemaking and viticulture, because that’s how they’ve always been made.
For every cloudy, bright pink, juicy pet-nat with bits in it, there’s also just as many very serious wines painstakingly being made without the help of industrial processes and additives to smooth over the bumps and cracks.
The weird stuff is loads of fun, though. If you can be less concerned about whether wines are going to meet traditional type/style expectations, and want to support smaller/independent producers, and more sustainable agriculture, there’s a lot of great wine to be found.
Interesting point of view in
But I prefer to choose wine by how it fits my tastes, what I am eating, or mood of the moment, how well made, etc., not by how it was made. So yes to some natural wines, no to others, but in both cases not because they are “natural”.