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Natural Wines: Would you try them?


#42

Natural wine? - yes of course, because I trust TWS buyer’s judgement regarding wine. My only concern might be that it would either ‘evolve in an interesting way’ or ‘go off’ (or both!) if stored for months/ years - and TWS members might prefer consistency. The ‘orange wines’ I have tasted have been very good indeed.

And why not, after all I drink ‘natural’ real ale every week, and ‘real’ cider has always been available on draft in the west country.


#43

This whole organic, bio dynamic, natural wine, is despite the adherents to the movement giving the impression, ‘they are following the light’ is as I have said elsewhere nothing more in most cases than good agricultural practice, for years vineyards along with the rest of the industry have been cutting back on pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that leave large residuals in the soil.

The fact that many of the top tier vineyards do that and have been doing it without adding the organic prefix to their wines says all you need to know about where the line is regarding what is and what isn’t in the above categories.

The reason wine is the stable high quality product you buy today is because oenologists along with vineyard management have benefitted from the enormous advances in the technical side of winemaking.

If anyone wants to read a comment on the grapevine section there is one on the Loire piece on this.
Personnaly I am only interested in what is in the bottle, I know the vast majority of vineyards are run on sustainable lines, much of the rest they can’t even define what the parameters are for the various sections and in many cases certified organic vineyards run alongside uncertified(because of a minor difference in the way they are run) that are actually more “organic” than the certified ones, it is a very vague area.

Bio Dynamics are fairy tale issues, I have said before that Bio is comparable with homeopathy, it wont do you any harm but any percieved advantage is a placebo effect, yes I know some famous vineyards now use Bio methods, but there is absolutely no proof that planting vines when there is a full moon will result in better wine, Decanter had a wine review for an organic Bio wine recently, it finished with the words, “the grapes were picked on a field and flower day” seriously.

When I was in Spain at the Bodega de la Marques winery in Rioja I had a long chat about the vineyard with the owner, this is a Rioja vineyard that is a single vineyard before the new movement, uses sustainable practices in the vineyard but makes no claims to be organic, when asked about Bio Dynamics he just laughed, he explained that when they have a very hot picking season they try to pick in the early or late part of the day when it is cooler, some claim that to be Bio Dynamic, no it is good farming practice and there were many other examples given.

Natural wines are fresher, really, since Parker retired the whole industry has been geared to fresher wines away from the heavily extracted and oaky wines favoured by him, there are many lovely fresh wines out ther without having to turn to the minefield of natural wines.

Natural wines are not new, the label is, but wines made thenatural way have been manufactured for a long time by believers in this way.

I came across this winery which has achieved cult staus in the Abruzzo whilst on holiday there.

" Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’AbruzzoWhy Be Curious? These are legendary and uncompromisingly natural wines from a region known more for everyday, rustic quaffers. They’re wines of exquisite personality and balance that always express the nuances of vintage. The wines unfold slowly but inexorably and almost magically; the family maintains a library of 350,000 bottles, going back to Emidio’s first vintage of 1964."

I managed to purchase a bottle in a restaurant in L’Aquila, the wine was still fermenting in the bottle, ridiculous and they charge silly money for it, such was it’s claim to fame I managed to find a couple of bottles that I brought back, one was quite good the other the same as the restaurant one, and outside of his admirers all who write about his wines say the same, yet people still buy it.

What is the end game for the natural movement, we dump all the knowledge and skills gathered in the last few decades and go back to treading grapes filthy barrels no temperature control, I hope not, it would be a disaster.

I wont go on, but please as Leah has said do not lump orange wines in with the natural movement though some claim to be, most are not.


#44

@Cerberus, great post !


#45

Thread resurrection warning! Please excuse this but I would have started a separate thread if I could work out how to stop getting notified every time someone posts in a thread I started…

Really interesting article here I thought:

https://www.drinks-today.com/wine/styles-regions/natural-wines-divide

I don’t necessarily agree with some of the points made but for me the complete negation of any relation to origin and typicity is for me a no-no. I would rather just drink an industrial facsimile and save my pennies. By typicity I do not mean slavish adherence to a one true faith style but I do want my wine to have some semblance of authenticity. YMMV


#46

Interesting article - thanks.

Evolution within the sector I guess. The “won’t taste anything else” segment is the direct equivalent of the “wouldn’t touch these natural wines” segment of traditionalists.


#47

I think the glou glou thing is a bit like the trend of very hoppy IPAs in the craft beer world. A fashionable trend which is easy drinking and so pretty easy to sell - you’ve got great makers making beautiful drinks in both categories, along with plenty of generic stuff that is simply following a fashion


#48

After you’ve created the thread go to the little button below the scroll bar on the right with a circle in it and click it; then select Tracking (or whatever) instead of Watching.


#49

A friend of mine has started to collect natural wines sold in the UK in a pretty impressive spreadsheet. His hope is for it to become a community maintained project for people interested in natural wines. Do drop him a line if you are interested (he also does a pretty nice wine inspired supperclub for those in the Margate area!).


#50

Defining exactly what a natural wine is, is going to be the biggest challenge here, everyone has different ideas of what exactly this is .


#51

Yeah, it’s just a label, there’s no legal definition. There are several variables that winemakers can play around with and still might claim to be producing a natural wine.

Consumers might have an entirely different opinion as to what constitutes a natural wine, but seeing that descriptor, make incorrect assumptions.


#52

VinNatur is trying to get a definition - natural wine definition


#53

Makes sense. It’s like the early days of organic.

Consumers will be able to make informed decisions and will hopefully reveal very quickly what is worth drinking and what is novelty manure-cider.


#54

In terms of consumer confidence in natural wine, a big problem is that many writers seem to uncritically hate them or uncritically love them.

There seem to be very few well-known critics who are open-minded enough to appreciate natural wines, yet willing to properly apply their critical faculties. I don’t think there is even a decent vocabulary to describe the flavours without resorting to terms like “glou-glou” or “filth”.


#55

I just can’t escape the feeling that this is a bit of a fad. Or at least the term is a fad (nothing natural in the least about wine production, or vineyard management) and is trying to tap into a notion of ‘purity’ or ‘going back to basics’ (another way to define fundamentalism?). It also feels like it’s operating from a position of ‘negation’ - i.e. the definition is what it is not, rather than what it is.

My final issue is that if you reduce what you do or believe in to a soundbite - for example ‘minimal intervention’ or ‘no sulphur’ - it can’t help but sounding like a dogma. And dogmas make me run a mile, personally.

But maybe with time, something a bit less pretentious will emerge, and there will be less need to come across all righteous and ‘holier than thou’. Maybe then it’ll be easier to listen (and drink) the products and decide for oneself if the resulting product is worth drinking.


#56

A lot of wines that The Wine Society sells are ‘low intervention’ - the wines aren’t messed with and are good quality so don’t need to be corrected in the winery - eg how it should be.

I would rather have some sort of preservative in a wine considering its a foodstuff, don’t really want to pull a bottle out of the wine rack 6 months after buying it and its gone already.


#57

I don’t think it’s a fad at all. So many of my favourite producers - and I’m talking experienced and respected producers like Cos and Foradori and Niepoort - seem to be moving in a natural direction ( not to mention those (Foillard, Gramenon, Zinc Humbrecht…) Who have long been there.

It’s a marketing label, sure, and there is still some poor wine about (though now a small minority). I would say that rather than being a 'fad" it is in fact the “new normal”. Only a tiny minority, again, are guilty of being “holier than thou” - most are quietly getting on with making wines that taste ever less “made” :slight_smile:


#58

Some always have been there. Musar springs to mind. And doubtless many small artisanal producers in out-of-the-way places.

There will certainly be fewer books, articles and long forum threads written about natural wines, when we all eventually find something new in wine to write and talk about.; in that sense it is a fad. But the wines will continue to exist, as they always have. Remember wine has 8,000 years of history - if anything, the fad is believing that adding “chemicals” to wine is a Good Thing.

Quite a few people I know are quietly getting on also with drinking natural wines. And we certainly have no holier-than-thou attitude, as we freely admit to drinking other wines too - enjoying them even.

I also BTW eat vegan food (in addition to meat and dairy products)


#59

To answer the question at the top of the thread - I have tried them (from Buon Vino).

Some I liked more than others - nothing unusual in that - however, without exception, I thought them either poor or very poor value for money. So I doubt if I’ll be buying again.


#60

That may - or may not! - be because Buon Vino are kinda expensive. The “natural” stuff I like to drink isn’t any more expensive than “normal” stuff of comparable quality.


#61

My feeling on the matter hinges around the addition of sulfur. The rigorists insists there must be none. I don’t mind that, if the wines are clearly flagged up for drinking soon.

I have lost several bottles of natural whites this last year, all zero-added sulfur. And one red tasted a bit borderline. There are many wines I like to keep because I feel that ageing in bottle improves them, to my palate at least. What I wouldn’t want to see is what happened with the Parker era when wines seemed to be on a treadmill of ever-bigger, more alcoholic etc. I have no objection to zero-added sulfur wines, and in fact if it suits, then great. What I wouldn’t want to see is for the phenomenon to become normative.