Does extended maceration obscure terroir?

Does extended maceration, to the extent that occurs in many amphora or orange wines, obscure or trump site and grape variety? This was a really good question that I was asked by a good friend today. So I thought I’d draft some sort of answer.

First, let me state that I am a fan of many [...]

Gamay focus, 4 - Julien Sunier Fleurie 2013

Julien Sunier is one of the rising stars of Beaujolais. He makes wines naturally from organically managed vineyards, and this is a brilliant expression of Gamay.

It’s from a single 2.4 hectare vineyards named ‘Niagara’. It’s a steep slope that can only be managed manually (he quips on his excellent website that those who work here [...]

Natural wine: a fad or here to stay?

This is the text of a talk I am giving today in Lisbon. It’s titled: ‘natural wine: a fad or here to stay?’

Historical context

Some historical context. Consider wine in antiquity. What would it have tasted like? Most of it would have been bad: in the absence of effective preservatives and frequently exposed to oxygen, it [...]

David Williams and Doug Wregg on natural wine and wine writing

Today’s blog post will be about other people’s wine writing. I’m going to provide links to two rather good articles, written by people who I suspect are rather smarter and better than I am. They are also two of the people who I admire the most in the wine world.

The first is by David Williams, [...]

So you don't like natural wines - help is at hand!

Dear (insert name)

I have heard that you don’t like natural wines.

I can understand that this must be quite distressing for you. But do not worry: I am a doctor (a plant PhD, not a medic, but who cares? This is the internet) and I am here to help.

You have spent a lot of time and [...]

Two lovely whites: Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec 2013 and Ganevat Grusse en Billat 2012

I have just been in the Netherlands, presenting a talk and tasting to wine professionals here over two days, with the same 10 wines both days. I met some really great people and enjoyed talking about organic/biodynamic/sustainable/natural/authentic wine. It was also nice to look at the wines over two days. Interestingly, the wines seemed all [...]

Ageno la Stoppa, a distinctive orange wine from Italy

This is one of those distinctive skin contact white wines that I think I liked quite a lot. But I wasn’t totally sure. If you’ve never tried Brettanomyces in white wine, this might be a wine to check out, because I think it has quite high levels. Why wasn’t I sure about it? It’s just [...]

Cascina Degli Ulivi A Demua - a lovely natural white from Piedmont

This natural Piedmont white is really interesting. It’s a blend of several local varieties, fermented on skins for a month using native yeasts in barrel. Then the wine is pressed and returned to barrel for a year. No sulfur dioxide is added at any stage, and total SO2 is 13 mg (which means the bottle [...]

Two superb whites: Radikon 1993 and Shobrook Giallo 2013

So, on Wednesday evening I had one of the best pizzas I have ever experienced. I met up with buddy and fellow Beer Anorak Daniel Primack for a spot of dinner at Pizza Pilgrims. We each bought a bottle, both white it turns out, and they were both fantastic. It was such a nice evening.

Radikon [...]

Comments on Bruce Palling's anti-natural wine article

Bruce Palling’s article on natural wine has been the subject of a lot of debate over the last week or so.

I’ve read it twice. Three times if you count the abbreviated version that appeared in the New Statesman. He writes well, and he makes some valid points. But…

The ‘but’ is because I think he’s actually [...]