What to drink this week

Nat­u­ral wine

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

The nat­u­ral-wine move­ment, which emerged from ob­scu­rity in about 2010, di­vides the nor­mally rather placid wine world like no other is­sue and arouses very strong feel­ings. For some, it’s es­sen­tially a wild-eyed reli­gious cult, a hair-shirted ab­hor­rence of all the mod­ern con­ve­niences and tech­niques that make wine pleas­ant to drink. For oth­ers, it’s the cut­ting edge of the move to­wards pure ex­pres­sion of ter­roir, with noth­ing left out or put in.

Harry Eyres tastes some fresh and lively wines made with­out chem­i­cals or ad­di­tives

Why you should be drink­ing it

Nat­u­ral wine goes be­yond or­ganic and bio­dy­namic wine in its at­tempt to eschew not just chem­i­cal sprays, but also all ad­di­tives, es­pe­cially sulphur, which has been used since Ro­man times to limit ox­i­da­tion and bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal spoilage. I don’t re­gard sulphur—de­spite its devil­ish con­no­ta­tions—as the root of all evil, but many nat­u­ral wines, made with min­i­mal SO2, taste re­mark­ably fresh and lively and seem to be less hang­over-in­duc­ing. Oth­ers taste like un­clean cider or even, as one critic mem­o­rably put it, ‘like the arse-end of a farm­yard’. These I avoid.

What to drink

At a re­cent tast­ing, Ma­jes­tic showed its first nat­u­ral wine. Le Na­turel Bodega Aroa Navarra 2017 (be­low, avail­able from July, £11.99/£9.99 mix six; www.ma­jes­tic.co.uk) has an at­trac­tive inky nose with ap­peal­ing pure fruit and live­li­ness on the palate. Also from Spain, the classy Re­caredo Brut de Brut 2007 (£44.60; www. lescaves.co.uk) is still re­mark­ably pale and youthful-look­ing as well as be­ing beau­ti­fully full and fresh. It shows that vin­tage Cava can be a match for vin­tage Cham­pagne. Frank Cor­nelis­sen on the north slope of Etna makes some of the most re­ward­ing nat­u­ral wines of all: try Mun­jebel Rosso 2014 (£28.99; www. rae­burn­finewines.com), with its beau­ti­ful straw­berry del­i­cacy and fine acid­ity.

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