Natural wines – just a thought

Natural wine is a vague term, and that seems to work.  The art tends to be practiced by small producers for whom time has no cost and whose philosophy is guided by a deep sense of responsibility for the land.  The best often scorn regulation, fearing a loss of independence and of being associated with less forthright producers.
The emerging definition includes a rejection of synthetic vineyard treatments, wild yeast fermentation is popular, some say crucial and biodynamic farming, skin contact for white as well as red wine, amphora and egg shaped vessels are widespread.
There is not one physiological definition that can sums up ‘natural wine’ for all: many have penned there opinions and I question the relevance of these attempts at categorisation.  Perhaps it is best to stick to a philosophical definition, there can be no denying that wine is not natural, since it does not make itself without human intervention.
My feeling is that the winemaker’s philosophy should be to intervene as little as possible; the vines should be adapted to their surroundings and have no need of irrigation; be in a place where it is possible to enjoy or create a healthy microclimate so there is little need for any treatments.  I have little interest in how grapes are picked, it is up to the winemaker as is the choice of yeasts, this is such an important influence and winemakers must not be straightjacketed.  The use of flavouring should to limited to the cask in which the wine is fermented and/or matured and that really is about it. The idea that white wine is better cloudy or that frizzante should taste like cider is absurd.  Winemaking has evolved into a wonderful marriage of art and science where the best exponents understand cause and effect and are able to bend nature to their ultimate ambition; the worst mislead with their miscomprehension that Mother Nature will provide for them, an arrogance rarely seen outside talent shows. The wine must be enjoyable to the drinker, that overrides all and, like beauty, this is indefinable.
I suspect that I only buy ‘natural’ wine, some winemakers are more interventionist than others, with good reasons. Certifications and categories are useful, but confusing, it can all become very technical which in turn becomes very dull. Wine is a man-made product, know the man you are buying from and you will know what you are getting, buy without care and drink without care – it is a choice.

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One comment

  1. mattgregory · · Reply

    If, just supposing, you had a spare half hour then a root through here is quite interesting:
    http://www.postmodernwinemaking.com/

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