Amidst the discussion among wine writers on just how much “natural wines” should be included in wine lists, I am flipping through a 50-page wine list in one of Siena, Italy’s more renowned osterias. Little natural wine is in sight here.
Arguably the world's pre-eminent wine region, Bordeaux is not readily associated with emerging trends like natural or low-intervention winemaking. In this region, the celebrity Crus classés [Classified Growths] have transitioned from mere wine producers into luxury brands, and protecting those brands—read not taking risks—is their major priority.
There’s no better way to stir up a heated argument with serious wine lovers than introduce natural wine, organic wine, or sulfites into the discussion.
Yesterday, the European Union published a press release saying it had reached agreement on rules governing organic wine, meaning that instead of just saying «"made with organic grapes," wines made under these rules will now be able to bear the official appellation of "organic wine" on their labels.
Wine From Here: Natural Wine in California is a documentary film self-financed and produced by brothers Martin Carel and Matthieu Tanguay-Carel. The film focuses on interviews with California winemakers and natural wine advocates, including the wise and eloquent Paul Draper of Ridge, the zealous Tony Coturri, and the queen bee of the natural wine movement, Alice Feiring, documenting the growing natural wine movement in California.
The debate in wine geek circles surrounding the concept of “natural wine” seems to be unending. From the uselessness of the term “natural” to hyperbolic accusations on both sides (chemical agriculture and slaves of Monsanto vs. hippies and producers of flawed wines), the arguments for and against “natural wine” have almost become trite.
Alice Feiring has become a bit of a controversial figure in the wine world, through her advocation of natural wine in its strictest (yet perfectly sensible) definition: nothing added, nothing taken away.
So here I was, last spring, talking away with the recently-departed Marcel Lapierre, the Beaujolais vigneron who was one of the dominant figures of the natural wine movement in its strictest definition—organic in the vineyard, wine made with grape juice only, nothing added (not even sulfur), nothing taken out. And as we got into discussing the risks of wild fermentations without sulfur, I asked him what he recommended doing if a fermentation went off in the wrong direction, with undesirable microorganisms like Brettanomyces taking over the wine’s development.