Natural wine, it’s all the rage right now and it’s not just for the eco-conscious amongst us. Let’s dive into the world of natural wine, full of fresher, brighter flavours and fewer hangovers (potentially).
Sulphites – nearly all wines on the market contain naturally occurring sulphites, but those in the natural winemaking industry argue that adding in extra sulphites can actually dull the wine’s vibrancy. Producers of low-sulphite vintages add to them on an “as needed” basis, whilst sulphite free wines go completely unadorned. Some in the wine world will say that fewer sulphites equal fewer hangovers, but this is something you can determine for yourselves.
Biodynamic – biodynamic winemaking is a strict set of farming principles that considers the vineyard as a self-sustaining ecosystem. The level of commitment to biodynamic winemaking varies from bio-curious to super dedicated, and following the lunar calendar. The basic ethos is, treat your grapes nicely and they’ll produce lovely wine.
Pét-nat – this is a carefree technique that has become a genre in its own right. Pét-nat is made when a wine is bottled prior to the fermentation process being complete; so it takes on a spirited fizz as it finishes up. It can be done with just about any type of grape; it can be hazy and cloudy or clean and refined. Pét-nat is purely casual.
Fun(ky) – a word that is frequently used to describe natural wine. It mainly refers to the somewhat barnyard smell of the yeast which is actually pleasantly earthy in small doses. If a wine smells funky, let it decant for an hour and the gassiness will blow off.
There is already a natural version of every wine you love; whatever you find you like in traditional wine you can find an alternative everywhere in the world. If you’re unsure of branching into natural wine, the best advice is to start with what you know that you like.
Natural wine is easier for the body to digest, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a hangover-free drink of choice. Natural wine contains more of the pure alcohol that has been transformed from fermentation; your body is better equipped to process this. So it is easier to drink, but it doesn’t make you invincible.
It might smell a bit funky, but embrace it! The smell comes from the yeast; it doesn’t mean that the wine is bad. Although, you can find a range of alternative smelling natural wines that smell a whole lot nicer and will be gentler on your nose.
Loosen up, natural wine is unpredictable and that’s actually a really good thing. Natural wine isn’t a mass-produced item that is designed to taste the same always and forever. When you drink natural wine, you’re drinking wine naked. Embrace the element of surprise, your first glass of natural wine is most definitely going to taste different from the second; but it’s all part of the learning curve.
Still feeling a bit lost with natural wine? Talk to your local natural wine stockist and get a few recommendations.