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OuNrauWtaln

rieGudie
In Articles by Marloes Fransen and Andrew Mecoli / 12/11/2018 / Leave a Comment

Everythnigyouwantedtoknowabout
naturawlnies

Whastinaturawlnie?
One of the simplest definitions of a natural wine is: nothing added, nothing taken away.

Although there is no legal definition of how a natural wine is made, there are a few principles that consistently abide to
the basic idea that wine should be made in the vineyard, not the cellar: no added chemicals, no added sulfites (or just
the bare minimal amount), no temperature control during fermentation, no added yeast, no fining or filtration, and no
pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard.

By reducing the winemaker’s intervention to a minimum, what is left in the glass should be the purest expression of the
grapes and the soil, not a manufactured product built scientifically to appeal to the mainstream palate. This often
results in wines that can be cloudy and rustic in appearance, and that may display very earthy and funky aromas on the
nose.

While these traits may be off-putting to some, it is precisely this raw and direct approach that is particularly appealing
to natural wine aficionados. The idea that each bottle may differ from the next, and that the bottles are not coming off
an assembly line, is attracting consumers that are tired of the fake nature of mass produced products.
Getting to know about the winemaker’s philosophy, is a fundamental value that is impossible to find in mass produced
products.

Fermentaotinwthinaturayleasts
Regarding wine, fermentation is the process of the microorganism yeast converting the natural sugars in the sweet
grape juice (called “must”) into alcohol (and the byproduct carbon dioxide).

This is usually a carefully controlled part of the vinification process where the winemaker adds a calculated amount of a
selected strain of yeast (either natural of synthetic). This way, the duration of the fermentation process and the impact
of the yeast on the flavor of the wine are in the hands of the winemaker rather than nature.

With natural wines, its philosophy desires quite the opposite and the objective is to let nature have the upper hand in
creating the wine. Therefore, no selected and measured out quantity of yeast is added to the must, but the winemaker
rather lets the natural yeast (that forms a thin matte-like layer on the outside of the skins of the grapes) take care of the
fermentation byitself.

That usually means it takes longer for fermentation to start, and it takes longer for the fermentation process to be
completed, sometimes up to several months instead of a few weeks! The yeast, which in natural wines is not filtered
out before the wine is being bottled, also adds another flavor dimension to the wine, which in some natural wines is
more present than in others.

BarnyardvsC.‘elana’romas
One of the main debates in the wine world when talking about natural wines is that they are too often flawed, and that
leaving the wine develop on its own devices may lead to the exposure of defects that the wine industry has been
solving throughout the years with the aid of technological advances and research.

While there may sometimes be a tendency in natural wine supporters to justify wines that are objectively flawed, it is
the imperfections that are admittedly fundamental to the idea that no wine can ever be exactly identical from one year
to the next, and in some cases, from one bottle to the next. The imperfections give the wine character. The infamous
barnyard smell, for example, is one of the main elements of discussion.

Because natural wines are fermented by its own wild yeasts, which are not filtered out of the wine after the
fermentation is finished, there is often something characteristically different about the aromas (and therefore taste) of
natural wines, often described as ‘Barnyard’.

The barnyard smell is particularly referencing to the animal ‘products’ that can be found on the floor of a barnyard, if
you know what we mean. This personality trait is created by a kind of wild yeast called Brettanomyces, or Brett, for
short. And although Brett affecting the aromas of a wine is not per definition a bad thing - in fact, it can give a wine a
certain rustic funk appreciated by natural wine lovers – too much barnyard in a wine will make it smell, err, somewhat
unappealing!

Istiruethatdrniknignaturawlnies
reducesthersikofgentigahangover?
Many natural wine consumers are drawn to the lower impact these wines have on our organism, compared to wines
that are treated with chemical additives and undergo industrial processes.

The low-intervention process of natural winemaking often leads to wines that contain lower alcohol levels, barely any
sulfites (although every wine will always contain a small quantity of natural sulfites) and that are light and easy to
drink.

Although it is not scientifically proven, most natural wine advocates are firm believers that due to this lighter profile,
the risks of getting a hangover and other negative side effects, are greatly reduced.

While there might be some truth to this theory, it is still advisable to always drink in moderation if you want to make
sure you won’t have a bad headache in the morning.
NaturaWl niesniItayl
The natural wine movement in Italy is in constant expansion, and it is becoming more common throughout the country
for restaurants to include a natural wine selection to their wine lists.

Major cities like Rome and Milan have a considerable amount of wine bars and shops with extensive natural wine
options, or in some cases exclusively dedicated to this world.

During the week of the most important wine fair in Italy, Vinitaly, that is held annually in Verona, two alternative
events focused on natural wines take place: ViniVeri in Cerea and the Vinnatur event at Villa Favorita. These events
are proving to be so popular that many wine lovers bypass the main fairgrounds completely and choose only to attend
these.

The Vinnatur organization is led by a trailblazer of the Italian natural wine world, Angiolino Maule. He is a winegrower
from the Soave area in Veneto, and has been at the forefront of the Italian natural wine movement for many years.

In an effort to establish common ground and regulations within the winemakers of his organization, in 2018 he
established a charter outlining the main principles and regulations that all winemakers must follow in order to be part
of Vinnatur.

The staples of natural winemaking such as low sulfite levels, hand picking of the grapes, and no added chemicals, were
all included.

Naturawlnieswordlwdie
This sort of charter was also created in other countries due to the lack of any official, government-recognized set of
regulations. Among the associations worldwide that serve this purpose a few of the main ones are:

Les Vins S.A.I.N.S. (Sans Aucun Intrant Ni Sulfite – Without Any Additives Or Sulfites), France.

L’Association des Vins Naturels, France.

Asociación de Productores de Vinos Naturales, Spain.

RAW Wine, USA, UK and Germany

A great way to get familiar with the wines from these different organizations is to attend the numerous natural wine
events that are organized throughout the year in most major cities. For a very reasonable fee, it is possible to taste
directly from the producer’s hands, and in the meantime personally learn about their background and ideals.

Whastihedfeirencebetweennatur
alwniesandorganci,boiolgciaolr
boidynamciwnies?
Biological and organic wines are certified labels and the winemaker has to comply with the rules and regulations set by
the organization that certifies the wines. It is a kind of membership that the winemaker subscribes to and pays a fee for.

The standards for producing a biological wine are slightly milder than for organic wines, with the latter strictly
forbidding the use of any synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in the vineyard or the addition of sulfites to the
wines (with the exception of Europe and Canada, where the level of sulfites cannot exceed 100 parts per million (ppm)
for red wines and 150 ppm for white wines).

Biodynamic wines are also certified, but they take it even further than organic wines, not just setting rules that are
science related, but also adopting regulations related to a certain wine making philosophy established by the Austrian
academic and philosopher Rudolph Steiner in the late 20s which connects the yearly agricultural cycle of a vineyard to
the lunar cycle and the position of the sun and the planets in a spiritual way.

The superior quality of a biodynamic wine compared to an organic wine cannot be proven scientifically, but rather
spiritually the way the philosophy of religion can have a positive effect on people.

Natural wines mostly live outside all of the established borders of organic, biological and biodynamic winemaking.
Natural winemakers often also choose to purposely not abide by the rules of their official regional and government-
certified denominations, in order to produce wines that do not follow the common traits that are officially recognized
as typical of these areas.

While official area recognition is still an important factor that can add value and prestige to a wine, these producers
choose to prioritize what they consider more true and honest to the grape and soil. Growing interest in the natural
wine movement is proving that there is a large amount of wine consumers that seem to agree with this idea.
Ourecommendaotins
Italian winemakers traditionally work as close to nature as possible and believe that the representation of the local
terroir and character of the grape itself should be the most important aspects of a wine, not human interference.

The craft and art of winemaking has usually been passed on from generation to generation, dating back to a time where
modern technology was not yet available. And although some modern equipment has been introduced in the wineries
nowadays, these traditional producers never took such a scientific approach to winemaking as many new world
wineries do. That being said, natural winemaking is a completely different philosophy, and one that has recently gained
much popularity in the world, including Italy.

Here are a few picks from our personal list of favorite Italian natural wine producers. Please note that we are only
highlighting a few of the innumerable great wineries that are currently available on the market.

FrankCornesislen
The rose’ wine Susucaru, from producer Frank Cornelissen, has been gaining popularity in the wine world due to the
support and enthusiasm of US rapper/TV gourmet personality, Action Bronson.

Admittedly, this is a rather refreshing twist on the usual big-money, big-champagne imagery usually associated with
the hip hop world. In this case, the rapper is definitely onto something special.

Cornelissen, a Belgian living on Mount Etna in Sicily, was inspired to start making wine by a trip to Georgia, where he
tasted the amphora-aged, traditional orange wines of the area. W ith no experience in winemaking, he bought land in
Sicily, on the Etna volcano, started making wine, and rapidly became one of the most respected (and controversial)
producers in the wine world.

A firm advocate of no-intervention winemaking procedures and letting nature run its course, his wines initially tended
to be very unstable and inconsistent from bottle to bottle, but after years of experience and fine-tuning, his wines now
have reached a beautiful balance between the more wild and rustic elements, and a sharp, focused elegance.

The refreshing and easy to drink Susucaru and Contadino wines, together with his numerous single vineyard bottlings,
such as his Munjebel line and the rich and powerful Magma, are currently some of the most sought after bottles by
wine lovers worldwide.

EmdioiPepe
Abruzzo had always been known as a region where wine was produced based on quantity, not quality. For this reason,
when estate owner Emidio Pepe decided in 1964 to stop selling grapes destined for mass produced, low-quality wine,
and started making low-yield wines following groundbreaking strict biodynamic procedures, most of his fellow wine
producers and vineyard owners thought that he had lost his mind.

Pepe’s gamble paid off well, and he is now one of the most legendary and respected producers of the natural wine
world. The longevity of his Montepulciano red wines, and his Trebbiano whites, have been impressing even the most
jaded wine lovers throughout the years.
His wines are funky and complex, and sometimes they tend to give in to their more earthy and wild side. This makes
them in some cases somewhat difficult to fully appreciate, especially to wine drinkers with little experience with
natural wines.

But if you are lucky enough to open an aged Pepe Montepulciano from a good vintage, or one of his lean, crisp and
acidic Pecorino or Trebbiano white wines, the rewards will be great!

PaolBea
The Paolo Bea winery is located right on the outskirts of the small town of Montefalco, Umbria, famous for its highly
structured and tannic Sagrantino wine. The estate has been in the Bea family since the 1500s, and is nowadays at the
forefront of the natural wine movement.

Montefalco wines are known for their dark fruit and powerful profile, usually highlighting strength over elegance. Bea
has somehow managed to tame the wild and rustic Sagrantino grape, known to be of the most tannic grape varieties in
the world, into a more refined and subtle version.

One of his top bottlings, the Pagliaro, is a truly remarkable interpretation of a Sagrantino wine. If left to age for at least
five years, it begins to lose some of its impenetrable, though characteristics so commonly found in a Montefalco wine,
and displays a more herbal and floral profile.

Sagrantino was traditionally vinified as a sweet red wine, and that tradition continues today in the form of the
Sagrantino Passito. If you get the chance, don’t pass up the opportunity of tasting Paolo Bea’s deeply concentrated but
not overly sweet version.

Ohtenroatbelnautrawlnieafvoetrisrof,m
nohrtotsouht:
Cascina degli Ulivi, Piemonte

Bressan, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

La Biancara, Veneto

Podere Pradarolo,Emilia-Romagna

I Botri di Ghiaccioforte, Toscana

Ca’ Sciampagne,Marche

Le Coste, Lazio

Cantina Giardino, Campania

‘A Vita,Calabria

Natalino Del Prete, Puglia


Vino di Anna, Sicilia

Our natural wine guide is lovingly written by Andrew Mecoli & Marloes Fransen

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