I love natural wines. I’m also a scientist by training. Knowing what I know, I don’t understand how natural wines (here defined as wines with as little added as possible – and specifically with very low or zero additions of sulfur dioxide) are as good as they are. And how rarely they are faulty.
But the very term ‘natural wine’ seems to be polarizing. Those who don’t get it, or don’t understand it, or who simply have difficulty in distinguishing great wines from good commercial wines, seem to want to put the boot in.
I don’t think all natural wines are great, by any means. And I don’t think that wines are great because they are natural. But I frequently have a great deal of joy, pleasure and spiritual communion from bottles made by growers who work naturally.
Doug Wregg of Les Caves de Pyrene puts this beautifully in his latest newsletter:
‘Natural wine unerringly attracts all kinds of mean-spirited voodoo naysayers who attribute all sorts of crazy claims to the so-called followers of this movement. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting – gorgeous, fresh, low sulphur wines abound that are naturally drinkable. Where’s the problem?’
The proof is in the bottle. There’s so much we don’t understand about wine; there is so much we don’t understand about wine science. The proof in the bottle means we need to go and rethink our theories.