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Mad Methods... Great Tasting Wines

Mad Methods... Great Tasting Wines

The Masters of Wine (MW) May Think Theres Madness in the Production Method.... Nevertheless Natural Wines can Taste Great. writes Donach O Rainn

Tasting around,a hundred and seventy of the four hundred on offer at The London Natural Wine Fair, I found the wines to be generally lower in alcohol than supermarket wine and on the whole lighter and fresher on the palate. The more expensive were often very firm, complex and well balanced. Some possessed a subtle fruitiness, with pleasantly integrated tannins and bracing fresh acidity.

 Others offered a gob full of minerality. Raisins Gaulois and it’s stablemate Chateau Gambon from the Morgan region was pleasantly fruity and left a lingering tantalizing aftertaste that haunted me for days. Some wine writers have been cautious in the welcome they extended to these new wines and advise their readers to be wary. They fret at the lack of an official association.

raisins gaulllois  natural wine  m lapierre   morgan  france

Natural winemakers are a loose federation of likeminded winemakers, who although they have general guidelines, work without hard and fast rules as to what constitutes a natural wine . This for me is a plus as it allows the expert winemaker the freedom to exercise his creativity and to freely utilise his hard won knowledge and experience without confidence sapping interference from official busybodies.

Some comentators have complained that the wines are a mixed bag. But that is the raison d’etre of Natural Wine making. It is not a style, it is a method of production that allows winemakers the freedom to produce a range of wine styles. These vary from nearly "normal" to the notorious orange coloured monsters that alarm so many main stream wine critics. The drinker as usual, still has to taste the result and reach a personal conclusion.

Natural wine making has grown from a belief that unfettered use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, coupled with modern farming techniques has robbed the vineyard of its natural vibrancy. It is also a reaction to the development of the manipulative equipment and manufactured additives, that have transformed the modern winery into something resembling a laboratory.

The Natural wine maker works to restore the land to a natural healthy state and while not completely forsaking modernity, utilises mainly traditional “hand craft” methods in the winery. The best way to drink these wines is with food, advises Jean Montanet of Domaine de la Cadette, a small vineyard in the Burgundy wine region. Fortunately there are a growing number of cafes and bars selling good food and serving natural wines by the glass so this is becoming increasingly easy and though their may be some who will not be impressed, many wine drinkers will, I believe, find it well worth the effort. Á votre santé