Nat­u­ral wine is the next big thing – but what is it?

The Wharf - - News - Lau­ren Tay­lor

Nat­u­ral wines are be­gin­ning to grace restau­rant menus and pop­ping up in wine shops, as many peo­ple lean to­wards a more sus­tain­able way of liv­ing.

WHAT IS NAT­U­RAL WINE?

Nat­u­ral wines are “low in­ter­ven­tion” wines that haven’t had any­thing added or taken away, and only the yeasts nat­u­rally present in the grapes are used to fer­ment them.

Nat­u­ral wine isn’t fil­tered, so you may find some sed­i­ment float­ing in your glass. One of the most im­por­tant dif­fer­ences though, is that nat­u­ral wine doesn’t have any added sul­phites (SO2), com­monly used as preser­va­tives to pre­vent ox­i­da­tion and stop bac­te­ria de­vel­op­ing.

Or­gan­i­cally-farmed wine and bio­dy­namic wine have been big trends re­cently, and nat­u­ral wine can be both of these things plus min­i­mum in­ter­ven­tion at a win­ery. But there isn’t a le­gal def­i­ni­tion of what makes a wine nat­u­ral.

HOW DID IT START?

In the 1980s, small-scale wine­mak­ers in France and Italy worked to cre­ate com­pletely chem­i­cal-free wine in re­tal­i­a­tion to the in­dus­try they be­lieved was re­ly­ing too heav­ily on ad­di­tives. Word spread, and soon artisan wine­mak­ers across the rest of the world were fol­low­ing suit.

WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?

Anny Vexler, from New­comer Wines in east Lon­don, says there’s a ris­ing in­ter­est in nat­u­ral wines and that cus­tomers of­ten re­quest wines with lit­tle or no sul­phur, or which are a bit more “funky”.

“Con­ven­tion­ally-made wines wear a lot of make-up, as it were, whereas nat­u­ral wines are au­then­tic, hon­est and can speak to the place they come from,” she says.

“As an at­ti­tude, it’s cer­tainly be­com­ing more main­stream. The best wine lists in Lon­don would def­i­nitely in­clude some wines that most peo­ple con­sider to be nat­u­ral.”

Ev­ery nat­u­ral wine will vary but some peo­ple say there’s a cer­tain earth­i­ness to the taste.

WHERE CAN I FIND IT?

Try independent wine shops or on­line wine mer­chants. Shop and wine bar New­comer Wines in Dal­ston stocks a lot of nat­u­ral wines and works di­rectly with grow­ers from Aus­tria and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

On­line shop Slurp stock nat­u­ral wines such as the Pheas­ant’s Tears Rkat­siteli 2011, £17.95, from Ge­or­gia, an un­usual or­ange nat­u­ral wine, and the pop­u­lar Run­ning Duck Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2016, £8.45.

Pheas­ant’s Tears Rkat­siteli 2011 from Ge­or­gia, £17.95, from Slurp

Run­ning Duck Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2016, £8.45, South African, from Slurp

Kiesel­stein Zweigelt 2015, £16, from New­comer Wines

Pet Nat Kalk­spitz NV, £23, from New­comer Wines

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