Your Guide to Natural Wine
If you are a lover of wine, then natural wines will not be a new term to you. You might even have a few favorites which are quite expected. But how much do you know about these kinds of wine? It is one thing to like the way they taste, and have your preferences, but you should also know what goes into its making and processing.
It might seem irrelevant, but trust me it is not – I mean, a lover of wine should know his wine, yes? If you do not know these natural wines, or you know just enough to help you choose a good bottle there is always more to learn.
Lucky for you, all that information will be in this article, so keep an open mind, and follow it through to the end. Let go!!
What Makes a Wine “Natural”?
There are certain attributes to natural wines that give them their identity. And believe me, you can’t mistake them for regular wines even if you tried; unless you are a novice when it comes to wine, then this mistake might occur.
There is no specific definition of what natural wine is, rather it raises arguments amongst winemakers and lovers. But it is safe to say that it is all in the process. From the harvesting to the juicing of the grapes, and the fermentation, the process is what makes the wine “natural”.
Natural wines are made from unadulterated fermented grape juice – nothing more, nothing less. Now, winemaking is a pretty complex business, it is not just about picking grapes; there is so much more to it than that.
But for the sake of this article, we are going to look at this process in two simple and summarized stages. The first is growing and then picking these grapes when it is time to harvest. The handpicked, never before sprayed with pesticides or herbicides are then gathered up are taken to prepare for the fermentation stage.
This is where the real work begins. During the fermentation process, natural winemakers are known to rely on only native yeast (no added yeast) for the process.
Although there is a bone of contention about what makes natural wine natural, one thing is for sure, natural wines are wines made from organically grown grapes (no fertilizers added). In order words, you can call natural wines low-intervention wines, and that is one fact that everyone seems to accept.
The process these grapes pass through creates wines that retain the full flavor of the grape. And what’s more, is that they have a lower alcohol by volume ratio than regular wines. Natural wines don’t just taste good, they make for fewer hangovers which is a big plus.
To know your natural wines even better, you must be familiar with its three categories.
The first: Organic wine
Organic wines are no doubt made from organically grown grapes as natural wine is. The only difference is organic wines contain additives. But that doesn’t change its properties as a natural wine.
The second: Biodynamic wine
Any vineyard that uses the biodynamic farming style is not seen as a mere vineyard. This category of wines is the most rigorous to produce. There is strictly no use of pesticides, herbicides, or any genetically modified or synthetic products to deal with any issues on the vineyard; all the solutions have to be naturally occurring.
Biodynamic farming is also incredibly costly to maintain. So, it is no surprise that there are not a lot of vineyards using this method, but just enough people are into it for the wine to be readily available.
And unlike in the making of organic wines, biodynamic wines have a strict policy against the use of additives in the wine. Fermentation must be done only by the native yeast.
To identify biodynamic wines, just look for the certification mark. If you find it on the front of the bottle, then it is biodynamic certified wine. However, if you find the certification on the back of the bottle, the wine is from a biodynamic certified farm. This does not necessarily mean the wine was made using the biodynamic process.
The third: Orange wine
Otherwise known as skin contact wine, can be produced organically, or using the biodynamic method. They are made by leaving white grapes in their skin, sometimes stalks and seeds as well for an extended time.
Knowing what you know now about natural wines, here are a few recommendations to try.
1. Marigny, 2018 Pinot Gris Carbonic Maceration
Owned by Andrew Young whose vineyard is located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
The Marigny label was launched since the year 2015 and in 2018, the pinot Gris carbonic Maceration was added to the label.
The Pinot Gris is one refreshing bottle that hovers between rose tones and has a tangerine tint depending on the lighting. Its taste is exquisite and savory, if you love your wine sweet, you are sure to love the Marigny.
2. La Casa Vieja, Mission 2017
From the original rootstock vineyards in the Baja peninsula of Mexico, Humberto Toscano makes his wine from mission grapes. This juicy bottle of wholesome red goodness is a smooth and savory delight for all lovers of red wine. So, next time you want to get a friend a bottle of wine, make sure you go for La Casa Vieja.
3. The Inconnu, Lalalu Cabernet Franc 2018
Prepare your taste buds for a journey of incredible lightness and ripe berries. While the wine has a deceptive heavy appearance on the first pour, the lightness you will discover on your first sip makes all the difference.
4. The sparking Jus Jus 2019
This collaboration between Julia Sherman of Salad for President and Martha Stoumen to brings an experience of pressed juice of unripened grapes to wine lovers. With a low alcohol by volume (ABV) ratio that is fermented slightly till bubbly, the Jus Jus is the ideal amount of sweet and kombucha vibe.
5. Morantin 2018 Touraine Gamay
Imagine a ripe berry blast in your mouth, awesome, right? This is the Morantin 2018 Touraine Gamay. To get the most out of this bottle, be sure to serve chilled.
With the wide variety of wines available, it’s normal if you do not know where to begin. Don’t give up; trust you will drink bad wines, not-so-good wines, and unbelievably good ones too. It is just a matter of building your palette, you definitely will find the right one for you.