The Borough Wines ‘bluffers guide’ to Natural Wines

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Every week we field and increasing number of inquiries from our customers who are interested in purchasing natural wine. To be clear – we only sell a small range of natural wines and are far from being specialists in this field, however we do take the opportunity to regularly meet with producers and distributors that focus on natural wine.

We thought it might be useful to share a few of our learnings in our following ‘buffers guide to Natural Wine’. The aim is to provide insight into this increasingly popular category of wines with a few pointers which we hope will help navigate this interesting, but often complex world.

 

1. The term ‘Natural’ is often loosely defined:

Natural wines have a long history, however the movement has gathered significant momentum over the last decade. As such there is no authority on Natural Wine and people have varying interpretations of what ‘Natural Wines’ are.

Common themes of Natural wines feature products made with minimal intervention during the winemaking process (vinification) to allow for a true or ‘natural’ expression of the grapes.

The fact that a many natural wines are also made following ‘biodynamic‘ practices using ‘organic‘ fruit can lead to customers thinking that these are one in the same.

2. Match for success:

The most important question to answer when drinking natural wines is – does it taste good to you? The reality is that the taste profile of many natural wines can be challenging to those used to drinking conventional wines. People sometimes complain that the flavours are ‘too savoury’ or that aromas are ‘too funky’. Some Italian wines (particularly reds) have high levels of acidity which make them much more pleasurable to consume with food. The same can be said of the above natural wines. London restaurants such as Elliots, Brawn and 40 Maltby Street have embraced this idea and have created menu’s which complement and enhance their selection of natural wines.

3. How do you know if a wine is natural?

Ask the following:

  • Is the wine made with artificial yests?
  • Have any other additives (acids, colourants, enzymes) been used during vinification?
  • Has the wine been fined or filtered using modern industrial techniques?
If the answer to the above questions is mostly ‘no’, then it’s likely that you’ve got a natural wine in your glass.
 
If you’re curious about this category and want to learn more, the RAW Wine Fair taking place this weekend on Brick Lane, London is the place to be. The fair will feature over 150 growers and hundreds of wines to sample – all of which are natural. Tickets are £20.
 
Further reading:
 
 

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