I first encountered the natural wine in Paris around 20 years back. My first experience with tastings did not convince me that this winemaking method would endure. Many wines had flaws that were a reflection of the oxidation process or yeast- or bacterial-derived smells that smelt “off”.
The approach to making wine using natural ingredients has advanced dramatically since then, and these wines are currently becoming important advancements within Australia. It is in Paris as well as in France all over the world, natural wines have grown from upwards to upwards.
The movement for natural wines in Australia is driven by people from a variety of backgrounds, who, according to one winemaker, require “transparency and truth around the winemaking process”. The authenticity of the finished product is crucial.
How are natural wines produced, and what exactly is it that makes their wines “natural”?
The ultimate goal of natural winemaking is to use as little human involvement as is possible during the process of getting between the grapes and the bottle.
Grapes are harvested manually from a vine that is managed with organic practices or according to the biodynamic principle (such as those described in this article).
After the grapes have been crushed, the fermentation process occurs through indigenous – sometimes referred to “wild” – yeasts on the skin of the grapes. In certain varieties, grape stalks can be added to the fermentation.
These methods, by themselves they’re not exclusive to the process of making wine They are sometimes employed in the making conventional wines as well.
In the traditional winemaking process the wide array of additives and processing aids are used.
The key the difference: in natural winemaking, there are no additives are added.
After the grapes have been crushed, the process of fermentation occurs by indigenous – often referred to as ‘wild yeasts’ that reside in the skin that the grapes have. Shutterstock
Processing aids and ingredients
The picture here shows this in a clear way. The list of processing methods and ingredients shrinks significantly as you move from conventional to organic biodynamic, natural and organic winemaking.
For natural wines, when fermentation is complete the wine is kept inside to allow the waste grape material as well as dead yeast cells rest before being poured into clean containers to be bottled.
Certain winemakers employ a simple filtration using cloths to eliminate larger particles. Filtration techniques that are high-tech like membrane or cross-flow filtering are not permitted.
The resultant wine that is not filtered in the bottle will turn cloudy.
If a wine is made in a traditional manner it is undoubtedly a negative marketing aspect. For natural wines, it’s the normal.
The tricky issue of the sulfites
Most wines have a chemical known as sulfites. It can trigger the allergy in certain people. When making wine, they are used to stop oxidation and restrict the growth of bacterial.
The use of sulfites sometimes referred to as sulfur dioxide in natural wines is a source of controversy. There are a lot of people who do not want to make use of it because they consider it to be an additive. Some argue that a tiny addition to the existing ingredients as a byproduct of the fermentation process can be beneficial.
Expert in wine Isabelle Legion – the first woman from France to confer on her the honorific title Master of Wine. She is an outstanding advocate for wines that are natural.
She also created her Raw WINE community to help producers who are low-intervention. For her month-long wine guidelines Legeron identifies wines that have no added sulfites as well as those that contain sulfur levels as high as 70 mg/litre slightly higher than the standard maximum of just 30 mg/liter.
In the traditional winemaking process there are a variety of processing aids and ingredients can be utilized. When making natural wine, there are no additional ingredients are added. Shutterstock
In France Natural wines are now a commonplace. Natural wines have, following several years of debate, received official recognition under the title ” Vin Method Nature” A strictly defined term accepted by the most important authorities, government institutions and regulators.
There is an 12-point commitment chart that winemakers must follow to receive an endorsement from Vin Methode Nature. Vin Methode The Nature certification.
There’s even a sticker that could be placed on the wine bottle. One of which indicates that sulfur dioxide is included in wine.
The profile of taste
Natural wines differ in appearance and flavor. Even though my first experience with the wines I was tasting wasn’t always positive but the methods of production have improved. While some remain cloudy since they’re not filtered and unfiltered, the structure of the wine’s palate may reveal that they are long as well as deep I look for when choosing wines.
In 2017, the wine magazine Decanter examined Natural wines from 122. The reviewers’ opinions were all positive, supporting and reaffirming the importance that natural wines have in a growing market.
Natural sparkling wines – often known as Petillant-Naturel also known as Pet Nat – are one of my top choices. They are made using the traditional method the fermentation process begins with an open-air tank, and after a certain point it is transferred to a bottles to be finished.
The wine is extremely refreshing, even though it is slightly sparkling and cloudy (about half the champagne’s pressure). There there is no secondary fermentation and no added ingredients – the yeast is native of the grape.
It is basically turning making wine from grapes, with very little human intervention.