Natural Wines

The clothes of the emperor

Katalin Kiszel-Kohari - September 17, 2019

I attended a wine tasting lately where I had the chance to taste some natural wines. Natural wines are supposed to be even better for you than plain, old normal wines as they use less, very minimal amount of chemicals to make them longer lasting. They do not filter it or treat it as much, so most of them came with lees to be able to give you a much more natural product.

Well, this all sounds nice, but to be fair, most of the presented wines were pretty much unpalatable for me. That made me think quite a lot as I would like to think that I do have a better than average nose and appreciation towards wine. I am rather open towards new grapes, new technics and trends, moreover I do train myself even at home with some pretty geeky wine stuff. Not to mention WSET wine courses that I have passed. On this occasion it was almost impossible for me to overlook the bouquet. Well, in most cases, they stunk, if I am perfectly honest. The clarity again, was very much unappealing. How can you serve a sparkling wine without agitating a rather copious amount of sediment? No matter what you do you end up with a pongy, murky plonk. The most unpleasant of all was a Spanish orange wine, some £20 a bottle. It was virtually undrinkable for me. It made me gag. The very traditional method, fermenting whole bunches in a clay pot, resulted a rather tannic white wine with an orange hue. The nose was overwhelmingly strong and hostile. Covered everything. I could not facilitate it whatsoever.

There were some wines that tasted actually nice and managed to air them enough to open them up and loose some of the quite farmyard-ish aroma. It was difficult to decide at that point that I was enjoying these latter wines because they were quite good or just because the ones before were so disagreeable.

So, here I am and thinking. Do my senses not work properly? Do I not have a skill to recognise true, maybe outstanding quality? I mean the presenter was pretty much content that we were having some excellent, very good value wine. I just could not see and sense it. Well, I do not know the answer. To be able to have some clarity I should taste those wines again, but I am not sure I want to. First and foremost, they were very pricy. Most of them easily over £15-£20.

I can see in many wines I have tasted that, although they are not my cup of tea, they are well-made and have decent quality. Some of the selection of natural wines I have already encountered, I must admit, were just not there. They were simply bad, not very well-made, impossible to enjoy. I understand that being natural makes these wines a healthier alternative that is closer to nature, but what you gain by that you lose it on flavour and aroma. And as far as I am concerned, I drink wine to appreciate it, not necessarily for its health benefits. What is the point of all this? I do not eat walnuts with their shells either. I know it is part of it, this is the way the naturally occur, but it does not really add to the experience.

Photographs by The Tannin Addict.