Welcome to the latest installment of Wine Wednesdays with Adam! Each week we'll be exploring my favorite wines and what makes them stand out from the crowd. This week we're looking at trendy natural wines.
My wife and I spent a few weeks in France recently, and we really fell in love with the natural wine movement. Natural wines are considered "low intervention". They're the unfiltered, untamed, "un-photoshopped" version of what we know to be wine.
Natural winemakers are looking to create a taste and feel of the place their grapes were grown with no science put back into the wine. Grapes for natural wines are typically grown by small-scale, independent producers and are hand-picked from sustainable, organic, or biodynamic vineyards. The wine is fermented with no added yeasts, just the native yeasts, and little to no sulfites are added.
People tend to have a love or hate relationship with natural wines. They're known for their funkier, yeastier characteristics and tend to be raw with a bit less fruitiness. If you're a fan of saisons and sour beers, this movement is for you!
Light White Wine
This wine from the Sardinia region of Italy is made with brief contact with the grape's skins and on the lees for approximately six months. Sensitive farming and a delicate touch results in an elegant, vibrant mineral wine that's very different from the rustic Sardinian norm. Straw-yellow in the glass, it's floral and herbaceous on the nose with hints of rosemary and thyme. It has a long lasting taste that is well suited for pairing with fish, soups, and pasta with light sauces and condiments.
Light White Wine
This terroir-focused wine was made to offer drinkability and enjoyment using sustainably-farmed vines grown on a variety of soil types. This wine is zesty, with notes of white stones, white stone fruits, and some herbal hints too. As with many natural wines, it has a bit funk but a whole lot of fun. Its unique flavor lends itself to pairing with sweet-and-sour foods like those found in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
Medium Red Wine
This wine is a blend of varieties originating from the Mediterranean Basin – 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 8% Carignano, 2% Alicante Bouschet -- sourced from vineyards at 200-350 meters above sea level. A small part of the harvest undergoes carbonic maceration, the rest is either done whole berry or crushed. Macerations last 5-7 days and then the wine is aged 6 months in cement tanks. The result is a pure and lively wine with flavors of wildflowers, forest fruit, red berries, and subtle spices. The candied fruit lingers slightly on the long finish, lifted by refreshing acidity. An excellent choice for fans of funky, light-ish bodied natural wines. Pairs well with chicken marsala and grilled mushrooms.
Rich Red Wine
The grapes for this wine are sourced from a single nine hectare vineyard. They are hand-harvested and crushed, spending 9 days on the skins. Fermentation commences naturally, and after 12 months in barrel the wine is racked to tank and bottled without fining or filtration. The nose is an intoxicating mix of violets and fresh berries, and the palate is velvety, plush, even, and long. Lovely earthy tannins clean up the finish.
*Prices reflected are correct as of 6/3/2019 and are subject to change after that date.