Presenting natural wines to a curious audience

Just finished a tasting for the Oxford Wine Club. I presented nine natural wines, all sourced from Les Caves de Pyrene. I knew it would be a challenge, because some of these wines were taking people well out of their comfort zone.

In some cases, these are the strong, smelly cheeses of the wine world. In [...]

A brilliant, but rather different, Argentine Malbec

I’ve been following this wine over the course of a couple of days. It’s an Argentine Malbec, but not as you know it.

It is made by Vincent Wallard, a former wine bar owner, and Emile Heredia, a natural winegrower from the Vendomois in France. According to the blog of Les Caves de Pyrene, the UK importers, [...]

Natural wine is an unnecessarily divisive subject

Natural wine is a divisive subject.

It needn’t be.

I enjoy many natural wines. I like to drink them. So do many others. They bring me great pleasure.

I don’t really mind that there is no strict definition for ‘natural wine’. If someone wants to call their wine natural then that’s fine. It is a useful banner under [...]

Pineau d'Aunis rocks!

Drinking a lovely, bright, elegant, fresh red from the Loire. It’s a varietal Pineau d’Aunis, and it’s one of those wines that is both non-serious and drinkable, and yet also serious at the same time.

Pineau d’Aunis is a brilliant grape variety. It’s a bit like Pinot Noir, in that it produces lighter red wines with [...]

Naturae wines from Gerard Bertrand, made with no added sulfur dioxide

Very interested to try this pair of wines made by Gerard Bertrand, and stocked by UK retailer Marks & Spencer. They’re not what you would associate with the natural wine movement (Bertrand is a conventional producer making some very smart commercial Languedoc wines), but they are both made without any added sulfur dioxide, or indeed [...]

Video: the Real Wine Fair 2012, London

A short film from this year’s Real Wine Fair in London. I hope this captures some of the essence of the fair. Includes footage from the grower’s party. I don’t remember shooting that bit.

The real wine fair dinner in pictures

Cracking night last night. Dinner with the growers at the Real Wine Fair. 200 people, a gazillion bottles of natural wine, and simple but delicious food. I didn’t take any notes, but I did take my camera, with a trusty old 28 mm manual focus lens at f2.8. Considering how much wine was consumed, it’s [...]

A brief report from day 1 of the Real Wine Fair

Today was day 1 of the Real Wine Fair, held at the rather wonderful subterranean venue of Victoria House in Holborn. I was there to give a seminar, and also spent a couple of hours tasting. I’ll be back tomorrow for more, but here are some highlights of my rather random sampling of the 183 [...]

A natural Burgundy from Alexandre Jouveaux

Some of the most enduring tastes are difficult to acquire.

The first time you taste a really strong goat’s cheese, your instinct is to recoil in horror. But persevere, taste on repeated occasions with an open mind, and you may find yourself loving it.

We each possess an innate sense of deliciousness, but it’s rarely the flavours [...]

Tour Trencavel's Plecandou - a Minervois with no sulfur dioxide added

I really liked this wine. It’s unusual in that it is a natural wine, with no sulfur dioxide added, but which is made by a producer who focuses on conventionally made wines in Minervois. Normally, natural wines are made by people who’ve turned away from conventional winemaking entirely. It’s a living wine that has a [...]