Natural Wine is a topic that’s been taking up quite a few column inches of late.
To be clear, natural wine and organic wine are not the same thing.
Natural wine is organic but organic is not necessarily natural.
So what is natural wine, well in simple terms, it’s a product which has had the minimal amount of human intervention. No pesticides in the vineyard, probably handpicked, no added yeast or sugar and the wines usually are not filtered.
This all sounds promising. However, as there is no certification body, unlike organic wines, the whole idea could be a bit woolly. We need to put our trust in the wine makers integrity.
My first foray into this world was by purchasing LE VIN DES AMIS 2010, MAS COUTELOU from Robersons in London. Decanter magazine had praised it highly and given it 5 stars and told its readers to fill their boots. This they must have done as it is currently out of stock.
It’s made from a mixture of grenache, syrah, cinsault and mouvedre grapes. It really is an unusual beast, it’s extremely fruity, no harshness or tannins, it’s almost like an adult super-ribena. It is certainly unfiltered but surprisingly clear. I did note, however, that it does contain sulphates but the rule of thumb with the natural wine is that you use as little as possible to stabilise the wine and this seems reasonable.
The other thing that makes it slightly unusual is that the cork is sealed by yellow wax. Whilst this adds to the authenticity of the product, it is a nightmare to get off and I have had to resort to scraping it away with a sharp knife. Some of the wax will inevitably end up in the wine itself and other bits get stuck in your teeth, and whilst this isn’t a huge issue, I have visions of looking in a mirror and staring at Shane McGowen.
So in summary, these wines are certainly worth seeking out, in fact my sister-in-law who isn’t normally a huge red wine fan thought it was the best vin rouge she had ever drunk.