Natural wine, for better or worse has become affiliated with a group of flavours. It is often billed exclusively as that ‘funky, cloudy stuff’. And sometimes it is that, which is great! But that’s not all it is. Each natural wine tastes different depending on the decisions made by the winemaker. If they want to create a wine that’s as clear as a highland stream they can do so by allowing the wine to settle for a long period or racking the wine. They might decide to create a red that flies out the glass on wings of crunchy fruits and joy, by using natural techniques such as carbonic maceration or something wild and earthy by leaving a wine untouched to find its own path to the bottle. Whatever you taste in your glass of delicious natural wine, it hasn’t got there by accident, it is a result of a decision taken by the winemaker.
The word ‘natural’ in fact refers to the philosophy of farming and vinification that underpins natural wine. The grapes are allowed to flourish organically without being sprayed by a series of fungicides, herbicides and pesticides, in a vineyard where anything from ducks to wildflowers roams freely. In the cellar it’s about as little intervention as possible, allowing natural fermentation to happen from natural yeasts found on the skins of the grape. This is a natural wine.
The result of this is weird and wonderful world flavour-wise, so much so it feels like there is no limit to what you might get in a glass of good stuff – anything from a perfectly pure note of strawberries so fresh it’ll feel they’ve just been picked, to the unique and intoxicating flavour of Haribo that will cast you back in time to when you were a child, stuffing as many of the sweets into your mouth as would fit.
For us, the most exciting thing about drinking natural wine is discovering what’s next on this endless smorgasbord and occasionally enjoying an incomparable moment when we try something we feel to be genuinely unique. So keep tasting, you never know what you might find next!