What is Natural Wine?

There have been countless blog posts and even books on the subject and none of them seem to arrive at much of a consensus. And frankly, it doen”t matter. Defining ”natural” wine is pretty much irrelevant to the issue of what constitues a ”good” wine – that is, at its root, wine that clearly expresses time and place. Good wine tells you in no uncertain terms when it was grown and where. Period. Otherwise, it”s just alcoholic beverage (which will always have its place).

We”ve tasted hundreds upon hundreds of ”natural” wine in the last week (and many, many more over the last decade) and like most ”conventional” wine most of it is crap. Just because you farmed biodynamically, crushed your grapes by foot and left it to ferment in naturally occurring stone basins dating back to the 1st century doesn”t mean your oxidized, VA riddled bacterial experiment is ”good”! It says nothing of time and place any more than an oak dusted, reverse osmossised, mega purpled wine does. Neither are ”good” wines, neither say anything about where they were grown and when. They are alcoholic beverage and they will both succeed in getting you drunk. You just have to choose your poison.

However, when a winemaker has the balls and brains to leave their fruit alone and let it tell it”s real story (if there is one, that”s where the serious farming comes in) ”good” wine can enter the realm of profundity. If a winemaker/farmer knows so much that they can know to do very little they can make some pretty amazing stuff. It”s just a shame there are so many dogmatic poseurs who insist on pissing in the pool. Or maybe it makes finding the ”good” stuff that much more rewarding. Off to Slovenia tomorrow. High hopes for some more ”good” wine.