This month we wanted to share with you our own experience with natural wines and give you some pointers along the way (also not without a great deal on natural wine!).
First of all, let’s get to grips about what we are actually talking about. Natural wines are those which are made without major intervention in the winery. It means that you are drinking fermented juice.. Well, not quite. Winemakers still need to use yeasts, sometimes oak barrels and in some cases clarify and filter the wine. Natural wines are normally made without artificial additions, preservatives and some prefer not to filter the wines. That is why you sometimes look at it and find it hazy and cloudy, it is not a sign of fault, do not worry!
Winemakers work hard to produce those wines as extreme care needs to be taken when handling the grapes (in most cases hand harvesting is needed) and what do they get at the end, in most cases misunderstood and really unappreciated wines. Why is that?
We think that these natural wines are very playful, expressive and pure to the core. Yet, as in any industry, the market is not without people who don’t follow the rules, produce the product only based on their own palate or simply bonkers about how their wine tastes like (sometimes it is really bad!).
Isn’t this what they call artisan produce? It is different, produced in limited quantity and sometimes so dividing – some people love it, some people do not want to touch it.
At the end of the day it is your choice – if you want to play safe, you already know what you like, but if you want to constantly explore and either delight yourself or burn, then natural wines could be a thrill you were waiting for!
Another important thing about artisan wine is its story. We love to hear about people who are passionate and dedicated to what they do, don’t we? Yet we are sometimes overwhelmed with aggressive marketing of the likes of Gallo and Blossom Hill? I hope people who work for these types of brands forgive me, but it is not the type of produce I want to buy or support, it is homogenised and made with loads and loads of chemicals, it is soulless to me.
Back to natural wines. Where can you try them?
They took Paris by storm, if you are in French capital just search for ‘vins naturels’ and you will find a bar nearby with no problem at all. Prices are great too. We loved the variety and how unpretentious the scene is. Again, it is really affordable!
If you are based in Central London or visiting, you can visit Terroirs wine bar (closest tube is Charring Cross or Leicester Square), Antidote (Soho), Soif (Clapham) or Brawn (Shoreditch). If you are in South West London you can visit Organic Wine Club (Worcester Park).
The latter offers a great deal on natural wine now. Visit their Natural October promotion page and get £10 off any case of natural wine without added sulphites and also get your hands on organic gifts worth over £40 with it. Cases start at £75, so you get £50 value with their promo and get 6 bottles of amazing natural wine. Choose white, red or mixed so it is up to your ow taste. If you are not raving about it, well we do not why you aren’t.
So what is all this preservative-free wine about? Preservatives 220 are sulphites and they are a by-product of fermentation. Grapes turn into wine and all that jazz, so they occur naturally in all wines. You should expect very low levels (10 mg/l). Conventional wines have them in enormous quantities – this is where it can become nasty. Asthmatics who are very sensitive to sulphites may start experiencing respiratory problems when drinking wine with sulphite concentration above 45 mg/l. Law exists that if the wine has more than 10mg/l of sulphite concentration it should state on the label ‘contains sulphites’.
This is where it is wrong!
A natural wine can be above 10mg/l (so it has ‘contains sulphites’ on the label), but there is no adde sulphites as it is all naturally occurring. It is such a confusion for me and you.
Talk to your local independent wine merchant about sulphite free wines, visit Organic Wine Club to learn more or simply get your hands on a case of natural wines to form your own opinion. Get good wines and then see what you think of them.
People say that they don’t get tension or that a bit tired feeling next morning after.. is it about drinking natural wines? We do not know. Nobody knows. Yet a thought about not drinking nasty preservatives should also help. Another way to choose less sulphites is to go organic. Our friends from Planet Organic and Organic Wine Club help us to shop for fantastic organic produce. Hope you support them too!