My two posts on “natural” wine have sparked some responses, so I thought it might be worth posting my – deliberately provocative: it was a “debate” after all – presentation at last November’s EWBC, together with comments from my fellow panelists Virgile Joly, Jamie Goode and Maurizio Ugliano and from audience members like Alder Yarrow, Blake Gray and Arnold Waldstein.
And for those who feel up to it, here’s the full-length version, with all four presentations. 

  1. I enjoyed your comments but it is flawed. You refer to natural wines as skin fermented whites every time. What about the wines of Lapierre, Guy Breton, Jean Foillard, and Jean-Paul Thevenet. I would be glad to be the advocate for this style of winemaking in a debate if you come to the USA.

  2. Isn't it a logical weakness to denounce maceration as a useful technique for “white” grapes when it is perfectly acceptable for “red” grapes? “They taste of maceration”. Please explain how maceration for white grapes are detrimental to “terroir”. Regards, Terje Meling, Importer

  3. Mike, if that was the impression you got, I was at fault. Skin-fermented wines and “natural” wines are two separate – though sometimes overlapping – groups. And I'm a fan of the producers you've listed.

  4. If you are right, the “weakness” is shared by countless of generations of winemakers across Europe, all of whom decided to ditch the presumably original winemaking technique of treating red and white grapes in the same way.

    I first encountered skin-fermented white in Georgia in 1989, when it was almost unheard-of elsewhere. Now it has become fashionable, though not I notice among winemakers in the best-known white wine regions of Europe.

    To make myself clear, I find that wines that have been overexposed to new oak lose their terroir (in all tasting alike) and I have the same reaction to skin-fermented whites. I also do not gain much pleasure from tannic whites.

    However, these are personal tastes and others may differ.

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