If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am suffering from hyperesthesia and this is why I decided to start to work in the food & wine field.
One of the most recent trends that constantly pisses me off is the passion some people get for natural wines. And if I dare to say that the wine I’m sipping smells like “shit”, they look at me with pity, thinking “poor her, she doesn’t understand anything”. But I’m sorry to say, wine for me is a multisensorial pleasure, if not why to drink it?
Feeling in front a big frustration:" how is it possible for some people" to find pleasure in such smells? Without mentioning the blur aspect (as often not filtered) and the flat taste in mouth or vinegar ending...I started to investigate and ask the opinions of many people from the field.
I talked to sommeliers, wine cellar owners, wine lovers and I got comforted into the idea that it’s not that easy to appreciate a natural wine…
For the ones not familiar with the natural wines, the natural wines are like organic wine (nothing is added while cultivating the grape, eg. no chemical pesticides)… but then during the vinification process, where for organic wines they follow a chart to add any potential correctors, for natural wines, almost nothing is added to fix any potential defaults. For example a common thing to use is sulfites, in natural wine, the % accepted is really low.
What does it mean? If the grapes are not perfect (one rot grain, too mature), some enzymes appear and the wine will smell literally like shit…
The “brettanomyces” are the ones responsible, they tend to disappear in standard wines because oenologue often work with indigenous “yeast” to start the fermentation process.
I don’t want to enter too much into the chemical details because I’m not an expert and you’re probably not interested.
But this means that most of the natural wines have defects!
The philosophy behind is admirable but you can’t say a wine is great if it smells bad. I’m sorry.
So many times I heard "that ‘s the real smell of the grapes", but I was happy to see it is not, while investigating on the phenomenon: the Bret deviation is the reason of making the territory disappear in those wines identity.
Yet, some defects of natural wines are linked to reduction and with a good decanter and oxygenation it can go away.
Others are sometimes tending to vinegar due to an hyper oxygenation.
I never been a fan of Parker, trying to standardize the wines all around the world and over the years, and I always complain about Italian average wines covering primary aromas (the ones from the grapes) with oak (chocolate, liquorice,coffee), but at the day of today, I can tell you, I never drunk a natural wine that brought me pleasure or joy. I tried lately Radikon, Terpin, Gravner, Nino Barraco, but nothing pop out to my palate.
I asked a friend completely obsessed with natural wines to make me change my mind and he hasn’t been successful yet. I don't understand how can you one day wake up and decide to drink only natural wines, Are they as well eating only 100% organic food? I mean, I m the one looking for chicken raised with space and no antibiotics, and buy veggies from the season, but we can't be that extreme, I visited so many little wine producers following an old tradition of respecting the nature and that never put the name natural or organic because the first one is becoming a trendy marketing product and the second one needs administration work for a certification that some people pay...
I believe that the intervention of the man’s hand if made properly can enhance nature while respecting it, and as of today, I will stick to wines that bring me pleasure when I drink them either by their aspect or aromas.
I will conclude with this quote from chapoutier: wine comes from the sky, the earth... the love we have for it.