18-08-2020 12:38 - Review
by Wine Symphony
What is natural wine? For many just fashion, but in reality it's born from the need of a few artisan producers to free themselves from industrial viticulture that since the sixties has impoverished the soils, poisoned the fields and transformed wine into a drink adjusted to adapt to the demands of the market.
The stories about its "origin" are many, from France to Italy, but they all share the rejection of the abuse of chemistry, of the increased productivity at spasm, of the manipulation of wine according to a request imposed from outside.
This is how natural or artisanal wine was born for those who are offended by this unpronounceable word (especially for lovers of conventional wine), from a viticulture that excludes all synthetic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers), treats only with copper and sulfur and is geared towards low yields.
More biodiversity there is in the vineyard, more the plants will be in balance and able to protect themselves, less treatments will be needed, more fertile and healthy the soil will be, more healthy and quality the grapes will be!!!
But it's not just a question of what they use, but how they work and live the entire wine production cycle. The harvest is done by hand because doing without mechanization allows a better selection of the grapes and reduces the risk of damaging them. In the vinification and aging phase (in the cellar therefore) the grapes are processed following their spontaneous evolution without intervening with oenological additives or treatments to correct the appearance, aroma or taste of the wine. Yes, because in the wines we usually buy and especially in large-scale distribution, in addition to grapes there are a lot of other things...selected yeasts, acidity regulators, gum arabic, cream of tartar, isinglass, vegetable proteins, enzymes various, and other adjuvants that affect taste, color and texture...and the list does not end here!
The only additive allowed in natural wine, in low quantities, is sulfur: a preservative that stabilizes the wine. Clearly the quantity makes the difference, because in natural wines we can find a maximum of 30-40 mg / liter, in the “conventional” ones up to 200 mg / liter.
In reality there are many winemakers who do not add it, also because the alcoholic fermentation process naturally produces small quantities of sulphites, therefore without the need to add them.
A nice thing about wines without added sulphites (or with low amounts of sulphites) is the high digestibility and assimilation that allows us to drink a whole bottle and wake up the next day without any ailment. Also in this case, the "conventional" consider this statement a lie and a marketing gimmick, but we can guarantee you based on our personal experiences that this is the case!
On more, be careful, because a certified organic wine is not consequently natural! Precisely, at the agricultural level, yes, but then in the cellar there is an abyss of difference because the organic disciplinary, incredible but true, admits almost all the additives and processes allowed for conventional wine. In fact, as proof of this, there are many natural wine producers who, despite having organic certification, do not display it on the bottle, because it even risks being misleading.
We cannot even compare it to biodynamic that follows a precise agricultural discipline inspired by the principles of Rudolf Steiner and based on homeopathic preparations and lunar calendars. Naturally, however, many natural producers are certified biodynamic and others follow only some principles of biodynamics, which however in the cellar has a more permissive protocol than natural.
Perhaps the most indigestible thing will be having to spend a little more than usual, but know that a bottle of wine for 4 euros is very harmful, because in addition to being of poor quality, it hides the environmental costs that it carries. Drinking less and drinking better is undoubtedly a wise option!!!
Know that natural winemakers in many cases recover and protect local varieties, with great gains for the general biodiversity and for our palates.
So what should you expect inside a bottle of natural wine? Well...it tastes of wine, but in such an intense and varied way that it probably won't resemble what you've been used to drink. You will find orange wines, that is white that have macerated on the skins for a few days acquiring colors and sensations never seen and experienced in the conventional, or wines a little cloudy or with a little deposit, because most of the natural wines are not filtered (everything in wine is good stuff and filtration has only an aesthetic function!); or it will happen to feel more marked acidity or slight oxidations, but also more "wild" smells and why not, to encounter real defects, because there are good natural wines and others less good, just like conventional wines.
You will discover many local grape varieties, some of which have certainly never been heard of...a great fortune because Italy, our home, has the largest variety of grapes in the world.
Be curious and get ready for a great diversity in aromas and flavors, because each natural wine will be an expression of the territory and the vintage without corrections! It will be in all respects a living wine, in constant evolution and fortunately in some cases unpredictable.
Of course you will like some, others less and it is normal because the taste is subjective, but you will always have the good fortune to drink wine and not a beverage created just to satisfy the tastes of palates now fossilized on prehistoric hints and tastes!
Wine Symphony wine-shop of natural wines from small winemakers with a big heart!!!