The growth of interest in natural wine continues unabated and I am often asked where people can find out more about them. Hopefully the answer is partly within the pages of this blog but there are other sources which I would recommend.
My favourite book on matural wines is called, not unreasonably, “Natural Wine” written by Isabelle Legeron. Isabelle is a long term natural wine supporter and organises RAW which runs wine fairs in London (March 12/13 this year) and elsewhere including New York. Her book explains vineyard and cellar practices as well as tackling misconceptions about natural wines. It is a very well written and illustrated book and would be my advice to anyone wanting to learn about the subject.
Two other books worth buying:
Per and Brit Karlsson’s “Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking” and Jamie Goode’s “Authentic Wine”. Both look at the technical side of winemaking and how natural wines have to adapt to overcome the lack of a safety net. I am a big fan of Jamie Goode’s writing. His book “Wine Science” is possibly the most used book I own and his website (link below) is also well worth following as he writes well about all wines, including natural wines.
There is also the writing of Alice Feiring, perhaps natural wine’s most famous advocate in the USA.
There are dozens of websites on natural wine, I could recommend many but these are a handful I read regularly (apologies for overlooking some).
My top website recommendation would be vinsnaturels.fr which includes valuable detail on producers, salons and retailers with lots of detail about vineyard, cellar and bottle. And Cédric has now produced an English version (small declaration of interest in that I helped with the translation).
Jamie Goode’s Wine Anorak is updated most days with articles and wine reviews across many styles of wine. Jamie is open minded and fair and includes regular pieces about natural wine.
Wine terroirs includes visits to many French natural winemakers and has thorough details on the winemaking and different cuvées of each producer. It is often where I turn for detail first.
I include my friend David Crossley’s website without any apology. David has tasted wine around the world and has great insight into quality wine. From Austria to the Jura David was often there long before others and his website includes terrific tasting notes and guides to the regions.
In French the blogs of Vincent Pousson and David Farge are must follows.
The film “Natural Resistance” looks at the Italian natural wine scene and promotes the producers’ ethical and philosophical approaches to winemaking. Jonathan Nossiter portrays natural wine as a form of resistance. It’s worth watching though a little over stated at times.
This, my own, blog tries to explain natural wines, how they are made and the philosophy behind them. I hope that by searching the blog posts you will find plenty of information. Just this week Jancis Robinson’s site included an extraordinary attack on natural wine by Caroline Gilby MW, repeating many inaccurate clichés on the subject. I do hope that the recommendations above will help to counter the prejudice of so many involved in the wine business who seem threatened by the new wave of wine.
January 19, 2017 at 4:19 pm
Thank you for mentioning my blog, Alan. As you know, I’m not against drinking wines which I have long cellared which are not natural wines, but I am a passionate defender of natural wines against the narrow prejudice many wine writers show towards a set of wines which live outside of the rules laid down in the 80s/90s by certain wine schools, and outside the tasting Norma laid down by the Institute of Masters of Wine.
I certainly buy natural wines now, although I don’t have a zero sulphur rule for that label. I think that Isabelle’s book is wonderful in inspiring people to enjoy these wines. As you say, Jamie Goode is one of the very best writers on wine today. His mind is open and his views are always intelligent and nuanced…unlike some!
Oddly enough I am coming round on my list of future blog posts (it’s third in the pile) to writing about another wine book. It’s not about natural wine as such, but it’s title is rather prescient, and it does focus on many producers who are now lauded participants in the movement. Excuse me being coy. Hopefully all will be revealed in about a week (two more articles to come first, I seem to be spewing them out).
LikeLiked by 1 person
January 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm
And apologies for the typos in the above reply. Predictive text and very big thumbs on an iPhone I’m afraid.
LikeLiked by 1 person
January 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm
I think it is important to start to place natural wine in the wider context of wine and not just as some sort of oddity or sub-branch. That is why Jamie and yourself sprang to mind, people who do not exclusively drink natural wine but are open minded and who assess such wines on their merits not their ‘label’.
January 19, 2017 at 4:55 pm
Going to comb all these resources. I’ve an interest in biodynamic wines & am so inspired by the work being done by so many growers/vintner in all natural wine practice areas.
I am seeking more freshness, vibrancy & vitality in the wines I drink….these are characteristics I discover in bio wines time and time again.
Great post, Alan. Will reference for guidance. Working now on a post re: bio-d wines in Savoie…
LikeLiked by 1 person
January 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm
Hi, Alan. I would be very interested if you could detail the “inaccurate clichés” in Ms Gilby’s article.
January 19, 2017 at 5:29 pm
Jill I look forward to reading that. Thank you for the kind comments.
January 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm
Ian the link is here
There is no evidence of SO2 being used at all until sometime in Renaissance times probably in Germany.
Organic wines in USA do insist on no SO2 despite her comment.
It’s a cliché that natural producers are ‘a bunch of mavericks.
This extract is what I was mainly referring to: “The first duty of wine is to bring pleasure and far too often self-declared ‘natural’ wine just isn’t pleasant. Fizzy, cidery, funky, varnishy and oxidised characters are common experiences, justified because it’s ‘natural’ but simply not something I want to put in my mouth. And there’s frequently a lack of consistency from one bottle to the next. ” There’s so many clichés in there. Yes there are bad bottles but I have plenty of bad bottles of conventional wines.
To then cap it off to a guide to tasting – as if natural wine drinkers need some help? Don;t get me started.
It’s her view. She’s entitled to it but it’s lazy, outdated and dismissive of the many, many people who like natural wines. But then she is aprt of the wine establishment which seems determined to attack them.
Pingback: The Biodynamic Vineyards of Savoie – L'occasion