What is natural wine and 8 reasons to become an unconditional fan
Find out more about this new (but ancient) way to produce wine, which in addition to resulting in delicious and healthy wines, has already won the top critics and tables in Paris.
Natural wine is not just a type of wine. But it is the result of a philosophical choice to find the natural expression of the place where it was produced with the least interference of substances other than the grape itself.
The grapes are produced following the requirements of organic agriculture, without herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or other synthetic products.
The harvests are manual and during winemaking, the winemaker strives to keep the wine alive. Technical interventions that alter the bacterial life of wine, as well as any addition of chemicals, may be prohibited, except, if necessary, sulfites in extremely small amounts. The tolerated doses are 30 mg/liter for red and 40 mg/liter for whites versus 160 mg/liter for traditional red wines. For traditional whites, the average is 210 mg/liter but it is allowed to reach an incredible 400 mg/liter (watch out for a painful headache!).
Natural wines are healthier and more digestible. They are a worldwide trend and should be better known. If you are not already familiar, you will certainly be curious to try them out after reading these 8 good reasons to join the natural wine world. Let’s go:
8 good reasons to embrace natural wine
1. Because it’s natural
Natural wine, unlike the conventional consorts, is made with organic grapes and almost nothing else. Let’s not forget that the legislation authorizes almost 70 additives in classic wine and 35 for organic wines. This means it is perfectly legal to put in the bottles things like egg albumin, fish glue, pieces of oak wood, sugar, gelatin… Not to mention pesticide residues, fertilizers…
“A natural wine is produced from biodynamic or organically grown grapes harvested by hand, using artisan techniques, without inputs, with the possible exception, but not encouraged, of minimum doses of sulfites” according to the Association of Natural Wines.
2. Because natural wine is transparent
“I do not have a definition of natural wine because all wine should always be natural,” says Richard Leroy (the winemaker of comics Les Ignorants ).
He continues: “Today people do not know what they are drinking. Unlike yogurts or any other consumer product, wine has a special derogation: it does not need to specify the list of its ingredients on the label, only to indicate the presence of sulfites when it is higher than 10 mg/l (which is almost always the case) without having to quantify it.”
3. Because natural wine represents a new vision of society
Behind the natural wine is an ecosystem that promotes biodynamic, sustainable agriculture, local commerce, with limited incomes and a conscious consumption of the nature that is around it. It is the manifestation of an artisan, autonomous and healthy agriculture. It is an alternative economic model, viable and sustainable. The grape grows without chemical fertilizers in soils preserved from a human hyper-intervention, then is transformed under the action of naturally present yeasts. There is no chemistry, just patience, know-how and lots of manpower. Soils remain healthy, so do farmers.
4. Because the natural wines sublimate the accompanying dishes
Due to its delicacy and complexity, natural wine is an excellent company for good cooking. In Paris, more and more they circulate in the tables of the best chefs of the city.
5. Because you can drink without worrying about a headache
Forget those painful mornings when we wake up with a jackhammer in the head, wishing a waterfall to flood our mouths. With natural wine, if it ever happens to you to drink a bit more than you are supposed to, the absence of sulfur dioxide will guarantee a much better hangover.
6. To immerse yourself in an “unusual” universe
Adhering to natural wines is to completely change very old habits. They are most often wines that go out of the ordinary and offer totally new taste experiences. They have this characteristic: touch our soul like no other wine. Do the exercise: Bring two bottles on your next dinner at a friend’s house. A classic wine, let’s say a Bordeaux, and a bottle of natural wine. You’ll see how natural wine provokes comments and discussions. It surprises, divides, transports, sharpens tongues and throats.
7. Because labels and names are amazing and fun
It is not clear why, perhaps because they are challenging a whole old and traditional system, but the natural wine producers have a fondness for labels that go out of the ordinary and usually name their creations with extremely creative and original names. You fuck my wine , Grololo or Va te faire boire (something like “go drink yourself”) are some examples.
8. Because we can not leave this privilege only to the French!
Discover more about natural wine in our itineraries and tours:
– Itinerant Wine Course / Tasting: The Natural Wine
– The Natural Wine of the Loire Valley