10 Wrong Things You Probably Assumed About Natural Wine

Posted: May 18, 2020

If you think all natural wines are cloudy, funky, and faddish, think again.

What makes a wine "natural"? And why does it matter? In WINE, UNFILTERED: Buying, Drinking, and Sharing Natural Wine by Katherine Clary, author and creator of the Wine Zine, Clary tackles these questions and many more, offering an unpretentious look at what makes natural wine so special. 

Here’s Clary's list of 10 Wrong Things You Probably Assumed About Natural Wine (But Don’t Worry, So Did Everyone Else):

They’re all cloudy
Natural wines are typically unfiltered and unfined, meaning the wine maker doesn’t utilize physical materials or additives help remove the sediment from a bottle of wine (which includes bits of grape skin and tartrates). Because of this you might see some grit at the bottom of your bottle or pour a glass that resembles something closer to unfiltered apple juice than your standard Chardonnay. 

Still, that doesn’t mean all natural wine is like this. There are plenty of examples of natural crystalline white wines and clear ruby reds, an impressive feat considering the wine maker has achieved that without the use of the invasive filters and questionable fining agents used in most conventional wine.

They’re all “funky”
First, can we retire this word? (I just looked up some synonyms of funky to add to the mix, but unfortunately “groovy”, “musty”, and “unpleasant” are going to do nothing for the cause). Natural wine is not all funky. And if a natural wine isn’t funky, it doesn’t mean it’s less natural. The depth, aroma, clarity, and “wild” characteristics left in a wine are typically stylistic choices made by the wine maker. 

A wine’s character can be determined by the native yeast present at fermentation, the terroir (the environment in which the wine was produced), and many other factors. It could also be coming from what some would say are flaws or faults: the presence of Brettanomyces, for instance, which can make your wine taste a little barnyard-y. But it’s just as likely that a natural wine maker will strive to create a refined, “clean” bottle of wine that has none of the farm floor qualities you’ve come to love (or hate).

They’re a fad
Describing low-intervention or old-world winemaking as “natural” has surely become more common in the past 10 to 15 years, but the existence of these wines is not new. The methods involved in natural wine making date back thousands of years to the Republic of Georgia, whose people are credited not just with the birth of wine, but many of these low-intervention methods, including skin-contact wine.

They won’t give you a hangover
Your body will likely feel better after consuming products (not just wine) that are filled with fewer synthetic chemicals and additives. But drinking natural wine will not make you immune to a hangover. You know what will make you immune to a hangover? Drinking less wine, and drinking water.

Still, there are some reasons conventional wine might make you feel worse than its natural counterpart. The aforementioned additives, for one (there are over 150 that are approved for use in conventional wine). You also might find that some conventional wines are higher in alcohol (exceeding 14% ABV in some cases), which is, again, a stylistic choice on behalf of the wine maker (and the result of the grape’s ripeness). You’ll find quite a bit of natural wine that comes in at lower ABV, sometimes even as low as 9%, making them more quaffable. The French call these wines vin de soif: basically thirst quenchers. See also: glou-glou.

By Katherine Clary
May 17, 2020
Source and complete article: Maxim.com

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