Do You Like It Au Naturele???...
“Natural wines” are having quite the resurgence. Whether it’s on the back of funky label design, generation X’s increased desire for healthier products & lifestyle or a movement away from what consumers view as an increasingly processed world, it’s clear that the niche is expanding.
So what are “natural wines”?
Whilst there isn’t a legally set-in-stone definition of what a natural wine is or isn’t (perhaps that’s the whole point) the generally held key attributes are as follows:
• Vineyards must be farmed organically or biodynamically – certification is preferred but not required.
• Grapes must be harvested by hand, yields must be reduced
• Fermentation only with indigenous yeast.
• No enzymes.
• No additives can be added (such as acid, tannin or colouring) other than tiny dose of SO2
• Total SO2 levels must be extremely low
• Unfined and no (or light) filtration.
• No other heavy manipulation can be applied (such as spinning cone, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction, rapidfinishing, ultraviolet C irradiation…)
Another way to explain natural wines is by comparing them to those that are certified organic. Whilst you might think organic is as good as it gets, you might not realise that organic viticulture relates to grapes only up until the point they hit the winery. Once they’re in there, all bets are off and you can add whatever you please (within legal limits) to the grapes to make the wine. When you contrast this to natural wines, natural wines have restrictions not just to the grape growing and harvest, but also to the production of the final wine in the vinification process.
The main drawback of this minimal intervention with natural wines, due to the very small additions (if any) of sulphur dioxide (the preservative in wine), is that they can result in wide variation between each bottle and overall shelf life being compromised due to the limited ability to fight oxidative spoiling of wine.
Whatever your views, we have a few coming in for you to try and our initial line up is above….