Natural wines are a type of wine that have grown in popularity in recent years as a sort of protest to the modern winemaking processes that have unfortunately become all too common place. The DIY movement has prompted some winemakers to rethink their precise modern processes, in favour of going back to the roots of winemaking – favouring the old-world approach. This style of winemaking process allows for the uncertainty and the beauty of the wines natural imperfections.
How is Natural Wine Produced?
Like so many of the other products lining the supermarket shelves with the ‘natural’ label attached, there’s not really any regulation of what natural wine is. Within the wine industry itself, categorising something as “natural” can mean a lot of different things, and it mostly relates to how the alcohol is made. Natural wines are wines that have supposedly been produced without any artificial influence or interference; they have followed an old-world style where the winemaker has let the land do its thing and letting the grapes become wine.
In most cases, natural wines are made by only letting the natural yeast on the grapes do the fermenting – instead of adding in commercial or standard yeast. It also means that additional minerals aren’t added to the soil and water – chemical products such as sulphites aren’t added during the winemaking process either. Natural wines aren’t filtered, which can result in their somewhat cloudy appearance.
Like in so many other sectors, “natural” is used as a catch-all umbrella term which can also include wines that are organic and/or also biodynamic.
How Does it Taste?
Due to the nature of the natural winemaking process, the end results can be quite inconsistent. However, it can be said that natural wines have a tendency to taste a lot funkier than their commercially produced competition. Some have even compared a bottle of natural wine to tasting like a farmyard…
Who Should Drink Natural Wine?
The funkier flavour that comes with a bottle of natural wine means that they should be drunk by those who are comfortable and very familiar with wines. When wine novices start out, they can sometimes be put off by flavours that aren’t fruity. As you develop your wine tasting palate, you move into more complex wines, those that are less fruity, much less grapey and a lot more developed and funky. Natural wine is just one more step down the wine tasting road.
Where Should You Buy Natural Wine?
This is where those annoying “natural” labels can become a bit problematic. They can all get a bit mushed together to the point where you can’t tell why it’s even got the natural label on it in the first place. This is why it’s important to develop a good relationship with a wine vendor – it is generally recommended that you find a wine vendor who is passionate and interested in natural wines as they will likely have a very good selection for you to choose from.
The Natural Wine Trend
What are the Common Types?
If you spy an orange wine on the wine, that is a typically produced natural wine, and those are much more typical in Italy and parts of eastern Europe. There are also a wide selection of reds, whites and naturally-fermented sparkling wines, where the final fermentation happens in the bottles so it is a little bit fizzy.