The term “natural” wine is a term often used in the media. So before we can get started in the right direction, let’s define what exactly natural wine is. There isn’t any strict, exact and quick definition, so we’ll try to make through the definition.
Let’s begin at the vineyard. Wines that are labeled organic are produced by agronomists who comply with the principles of organic agriculture. This means that they are free of the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides. In order to take things to the next level, it is possible to make biodynamic wines. The winemakers adhere to the guidelines that were formulated by Austrian philosophical thinker Rudolph Steiner, which, furthermore, calls for the use of herbicides instead of chemical sprays on the vineyard, but is also a natural method of composting as well as the ability to look at the entire vineyard as an ecosystem that is living.
So far? Natural wine is the entire spectrum of winemaking, however they all share the same goal of minimizing intervention as feasible. It’s not a big business, it’s about as different from the big wine conglomerates as it is possible to be. The majority of wines are produced by small-scale, handcrafted winemakers who make wine that reflects the changing circumstances of the year.
The wines are also naturally or spontaneously fermented, meaning that only the yeasts within the vineyard or within the vineyard are utilized. This means that there are some disadvantages for those who aren’t careful. The wine is generally not filtered, which means you may have skin fragments and particles floating all over. Also, there might be very little or no added sulphites, which are typically employed to prevent oxygenation and to prevent bacteria from forming. The flavor may be, let’s say, slightly more fresh than you normally think.
The benefit is that you’ll be tasting wine in its natural state, with no barriers between you and the wine you’ll find inside the barrel. If you’re willing to make the plunge, this could be the beginning of a new chapter.
In this article, we will examine the variety of natural wines available. Some originate from Austria, where we can find biodynamic winemaking. Others originate from France, where the new generation of winemakers are exploring organic methods. Others are out of South Africa and Chile. There are many who have livestock to produce the manure that is needed to make compost. Others might have ducks or goats devouring their natural prey on the vine. The whole thing is as in close proximity to nature as one could possibly obtain.
What we tried to test
A majority of the wines were sampled along alongside food items, from mild dishes to spices in curries. Other wines were sipped in isolation with food, or chilled slightly for white wines, roses, or a bit below room temperature for red wines.
The top natural wines to drink in 2023 include:
- Best overall – St Nicolas de Bourgueil La Ferme des Fontaines cabernet franc 2019: PS22, Vintageroots.co.uk
- Ideal for refreshing Aperitif Michi’s Farm White 2021 PS19 Newcomerwines.com
- Ideal for drinkers who want to have a simple drinking experienceDrinking Maison Plantevin Cotes Du Rhone Villages tablet cuvee plan-plan 2021 PS15.75, Vintageroots.co.uk
- Best with Charcuterie— Running Duck organic rose 2021: PS11.49, Drinkwelluk.com
St Nicolas de Bourgueil La Ferme des Fontaines cabernet franc 2019
- Size: 75cl
- ABV: 12.5%
in 2020, France recognized natural wines with the launch of a formal chart under the title vin methode natural. To be considered a natural wine, the wine has to be made of grapes that are hand-picked from organically certified vineyards and made with indigenous yeast. Winemaker and champion of cabernet franc Xavier Amirault from the Loire Valley fulfills all of those requirements with a silky smooth wine that is bursting with damson and plum notes that remain on the palate, along with subtle hints of floral and spice.
Bodega Recuro vinedos historicos sin-copa
- The best:For a light supper
- Size: 750ml
- ABV: 12.5 per cent
A winemaker Jesus Recuero uses tinta fina grapes – a variety than tempranillo in other regions – and minimal interventions to create this deep-red, ruby-colored wine in the vineyards that are located over the plains of Castilla-La Mancha, a central region of Spain. It is organic and vegetarian, but it is a reflection of two of the most important objectives: authenticity and simplicity. It is rich in red and dark-fruit flavors, as well as flavor notes of savoury, it’s got appealing tannins and a lingering end. It’s suggested to serve in a the cellar temperature which is just slightly chilled after about six to seven hours in the refrigerator. We like that sin-copa (“syncopation”) label, too as well as the stick-man label.
White Michi’s Farm 2021
- The best:For a refreshing aperitif
- Size: 750ml
- ABV: 12 per cent
Austria is leading the way in the new era of natural wine, with winemakers like Michael Gindl leading the charge. In 1983, the winemaker was able to take the farm of his family and grapevines within the Weinviertel region following his departure from the agricultural college and began practicing biodynamic agriculture. The intervention is minimal and the grapes are lightly pressed, seldom removed, and then fermented naturally without the aid of an osmo-friendly yeast. The way it is described by Gindl states: “I really try to do as little as possible – in fact, nothing.” This is why you can expect a bit of cloudiness, and a few tartaric acid crystals within this mix of gruner veltliner gelber muskateller, riesling and there are also some amazing vibrant fruit flavors and the natural citrusiness.
Emiliana Adobe reserva cabernet sauvignon reserve 2021
- Best: For a pasta dish
- Size: 750ml
- ABV: 13.5 per cent
We have cabernet sauvignon from Emiliana, the country’s top producer of organic and biodynamic wines. Its goal is “reconnect people with nature” by not using chemical fertilizers and utilizing methods like making use of pruning waste to rejuvenate soil. This cabernet, which is part of the adobe reserve range, is a result of grapes harvested from the Colchagua Valley. Blackberry as well as black cherry aromas are predominant with smoky flavors and an underlying spice. It is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and is 100 per 100 percent gluten-free and contains no added sulfuric acid.