Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Natural wines, a name that provokes multitude of emotions among global wine lovers in the recent years. Some love it and even claims that there is no way back for them. No more commercialized, mass-produced wines. Yet some dismiss it and considers this a trendy lifestyle, no more no less. So what is natural wines eventually? Find out with us in this article now!
Natural wine is more of a concept than a well-defined category with agreed-upon characteristics. Therefore to understand natural wine, it is best to learn the philosophy behind this concept. We will cite the excerpt from the book 'Natural wine: An introduction to Organic and Biodynamic wines made Naturally by Master of Wine Isabelle Legeron. She is a dedicated advocator for natural wines and from our reading, no one explains this concept better than her.
A loose definition
“The most excellent wine is one which has given pleasure by its own natural qualities, nothing must be mixed with it which might obscure its natural taste” (Columella)
Given that the microbiological life of the vineyard is what enables both successful fermentations in the cellar and the creation of wine that is able to survive without a technological crutch, sustaining a healthy habitat in the vineyard for these microbes is fundamental for the natural wine grower. This microbiological life follows the grapes into the cellar, transforms the juice and even makes its way into the final wine in the bottle. Natural wine is therefore, literally, living wine from living soil.
All in all true natural wine accounts for a very small proportion of the wine world. And it is this tiny group that this book celebrates. Not the one-off, lucky cuvée by the likes of me, but the growers who year in, year out produce exceptional natural wine.
For these growers, what they do goes well beyond the wine itself, it is also a philosophy, a way of life, which undoubtedly contributes to its profound appeal to people across the globe. In our disconnected world that salutes the money King, these are people who chose otherwise and who did so well before it became popular. They chose out of conviction, a love of the land and a desire to nurture the most fundamental force of all – life. Be it human, animal, plant, or other, natural growers are primarily, as Jean-François Chêne, a natural producer in the Loire, puts it, about “respecting the living above all else”.