What is Natural Wine?

What is Natural Wine?

Organic Wine Tasting

Friday May 10th, 5.30 – 7.30pm.

£20 in advance

To reserve your place, you can pay in cash at the Greenhouse shop, Thursday to Saturday, or you can email info@substratawines.com  

The natural wine movement is gathering pace. From a handful of fringe enthusiasts a decade ago, there is now an emerging global scene of winemakers making low intervention wines, wines that are made with a minimum of manipulation in the winery.

Until 2012, you may remember wines being labelled ‘wines made from organic grapes’ – there was no legal definition of organic wine. The EU came up with one that year, but it was a contentious piece of legislation, with many natural winemakers feeling that the legislation still allowed too much tinkering in the winery to create the wine – for example, the addition of commercial yeasts to start the fermentation, the use of reverse osmosis filtration to concentrate the wine, and the addition of up to 150 ppm of sulphur dioxide to preserve white wines.

But critics of natural wine say that at least there is a definition of organic wine, a certification body and annual auditing of organic producers. Natural wine remains a nebulous term, with different producers defining it differently.

And yet, natural wines do taste different. And on May 10th we’ll explore the following classic natural wine styles:

1) ‘The Super Nat’, Supernatural Wine Company, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, 2018. (£20 per bottle)

Petillant Naturel wines are as young, funky and fresh as sparkling wine can be. Sealed with a crown cap before fermentation completes, the carbon dioxide trapped in the bottle brings light carbonation. These wines are undisgorged (unlike champagne), and can be cloudy or hazy – but are arrestingly vibrant.


2) Verdejo Nosso, Menade, Rueda, Spain 2016. (£18 per bottle)

This is as natural as wine gets. From grapes that haven’t even seen copper or sulphur sprays, a slow fermentation produces a rich and textured wine, one made entirely without sulphites.


3) Amrit Pinot Gris, Avani, Mornington Peninsula, Australia, 2017. (£25)

Another classic natural wine style – orange or amber wine. This is a white wine made like a red wine – ie the juice is left to sit on the skins, and distinctive amber / orange colour ensues.


4) Diamond Fields Pinot Noir 2015, Davenport Vineyards, Kent / Sussex, England. (£20)

There are (very few) natural wines in the UK. They are as rare as good English red wines. This has been made with natural yeasts, a small addition of sulphites and is unfiltered.


5) Vino Rosso Nebbiolo / Barbera, Erbaluna 2014, Piemonte, Italy. (£17)

Who says natural, sulphite free wines can’t age? This bottle makes the perfect riposte. It’s a natural red of rare ambition, weight and complexity.

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