You don’t really understand what a Natural Wine is until you pour that first glass. It certainly does not look like a glass of crystal clear Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay that we are accustomed. You may also hear the term “orange wine” as the wine will have a yellow to orange colour to it, for white wines. There are of course red wine versions too.
How is Natural Wine Made?
According to the Natural Wine Fair website,
“…They are wines that are made without the use of synthetic chemicals in the vineyard and few, if any, additives in the cellar.
Natural wine vineyards are farmed without using pesticides, fungicides, weed-killers or other synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, and they come from vineyards that are literally FULL of life. Their grapes are hand-harvested to make sure that the grapes don’t get damaged and to ensure that the soil of the vineyards is not compacted by heavy machinery.
Once the grapes hit the winery, their juice is fermented without the use of added yeasts and the arsenal of additives this entails. Nothing is added to the grape juice or its subsequent wine, apart from – at most – a dash of SO2. Ideally nothing is removed from the wine either to keep it whole and complete, so most natural wine producers do not fine or filter but rather let time settle the wine naturally…”
My Natural Wine Taste Experience
My first experience with Natural Wine was a glass of La Stoppa Ageno 2007 with Rasoul Salehi from Le Vieux Pin. It is a blend of 60% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, 40% Ortrugo and Trebbiano. The wine had already been open for 1 month and Rasoul commented how it still had no change in aroma, while the tannins had reduced over the month. It looked like freshly pressed apple juice. It had a very interesting nose, with roses, light leather and some Brettanomyces. Very dry, bone dry, medium body, high acidity and medium tannins. The main flavour that I could get from this wine was of apples. It is not a summer sipper wine. You must / should drink the wine along with a meal. I am told it is traditional to enjoy a wine like this with a stew. Here is the La Stoppa website if you would like to find out more about this wine.
Other producers of Natural wines are:
- Domaine Gerard Neumeyer
- Catherine and Dominique Derain
- Domaine de la Tournelle
- Clos du Gravillas
- Fattoria San Lorenzo
And many more. There were more than 100 wineries presenting their Natural Wines to taste at the Natural Wine Fair in London.
I can’t say I am on one side of the Natural Wine movement or the other. I would like to try more Natural wines, from both red and from white grapes, so I can taste the gamut of flavours and textures. Do these wines express their terroir the best? Too many questions at the moment, and not enough answers. If you have more experience with Natural Wines I would love to get your comments.