After having explored organic and biodynamic wines, let's focus on natural wine. What is it and how can you recognize a natural wine? Well, here's where it gets tricky..
First, what is natural wine? To us, natural wine comes from hand-harvested grapes from organic / biodynamic vineyards, that has been fermented on the native yeasts, has been made without sugar, acid, tannin or stabilisation additions and has been bottled unfiltered, unfined and without or with a minimal (small!) sulfur addition. These are pure, uncut and energizing wines. Sometimes that energy can make a wine a bit (too) funky, but that's where we come in, navigating you towards those unforgettable wines that share their purest sense of place. These wines are hard to recognize because old school wines laws often forbid these wines, they are therefor often found in the bottom of a country's appellation system: Vin de France, Landwein, Vini da Tavola, Vino de España etc. But since there is also a lot of conventional crap wine sold under the same designation, you are best served by reading about each individual wine online, or coming to your local natural wine shop 😉
Picking out a bottle of natural wine, picture by Lucas Marcus Schilder
Is there a certification for natural wine?
But what is that logo in the picture? Well, to make things easier, the French have adopted a certification for natural wine, in two versions. One for wine without sulfites at bottling and one with <30mg. This will help consumers, but many (including us) are still in doubt of its use. Can you certify something for being natural? Also, in a country with a CRAZY amount of rules around wine, many natural winemakers feel liberated using the easy 'Vin de France' designation and don't want to go back into a sytem of rules and regulations. So, for now, and probably into the future, check in with your local natural wine shop to find your natural wines or ask them about specific producers or cuvées, we know where to look. (The latest paragraph applies to France, natural wines are however made in all wine producing countries 🌏)
Markus Praat, founder at ASOP Wines