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'Real Wine!'

The Real Wine Fair in London has now become a fixture on the annual wine tasting calender for restauranteurs and merchants from around the country.  It is and i quote 'An independent festival of growers, comprising those who work organically  and/or biodynamically and with few or zero interventions in the winery.'  But there is more to it than that.  'Natural Wine' as i have explained previously is a new thing and as such needs some explanation.

Firstly it is important that the consumer understands that the wine they have been drinking for years in many cases is far from natural.  It is 'manufactured' to have a certain appearance, smell, taste that pretty much stays the same from year to year.  It is a lot more than just the fermentation of grape juice.  In fact, one would be surprised to see the list of treatments and products used in even a very good quality bottle, below is the typical production of a bottle of NZ Sauvignon Blanc priced at £13.95 in our shop.....

Machine harvested with SO2 (sulphur dioxide) addition
De-stemmed and immediately pressed with pectic enzyme addition
Solids separated by flotation
Inoculated with (manufactured) yeast and fermented at around 15°c.
Various dried yeasts used.
Some years deacidified with Potassium bicarbonate
Fermentation stopped at sugar level appropriate for the wine with cooling and SO2 (sulphur dioxide) addition.
Finings with fish collagen and bentonite (Clay)
Cold stabalised by chilling wines to 0°c
Cross flow filtered

Natural Wine is many things but as yet has no real definition.  It refers to a type of  production that means to keep much of the above out of the process and allow nature to make the wine as it was intended.  Some producers go further than others.  The use of SO2 causes much debate.  Zero sulphur wines are becoming more and more common and are very often delicious but that doesn't mean making wine with sulphur is bad or unnatural necessarily (it is possible to use naturally derived sulphur from volcanos).  Natural yeast is normally a prerequisite for authentic and natural wine but many good wine producers would use cultured yeast and the wine is still good!

So what does this mean for the consumer?

Well i think the proof is in the pudding, or the tasting!  Natural Wine is not something to be afraid of, taste it and make your own decision.  Some examples are more extreme in their 'naturalness' than others.  Some you would never know they were made any more naturally than the conventional wine that you may pick up at the garage on your way home.  One thing that is certain, they are better for your health!

Lastly, naturally made wines are not necessarily more expensive.  They tend to be made by smaller, artisan producers whose focus is quality first and therefore you pay a bit extra, but there are some great natural wines out there for as little as £7.95 retail.  Organic, natural yeast, no intervention, low sulphur, lovely vibrant flavours and everyday prices, what's not to love?

In conjunction with the Real Wine Fair in London, we are running a promo month at our shop just outside Settle with 70 natural wines on promotion for April.  To give them a try, just come along on the weekend of the 12th-13th April when we will have 2 dozen wines open to taste totally free of charge!

Happy 'Natural' slurping!

For more on Natural Wine, see this link.......