Natural wines are wines without make-up
Is naturalness bad?
In modern winemaking, as, indeed, in different areas of our life, many processes are inextricably linked with the use of new technologies, the existence of certain fashion trends and the commercialization of the market.
Natural wines give us a unique opportunity to return to the past and try wines such as they were many years ago, before the advent of modern technology. Undoubtedly, the methods of making wine have been significantly improved over the centuries, but in their desire to control all processes from A to Z, modern winemakers sometimes practically lose touch with nature.
The term “natural wine” as such does not exist, but, tasting the wine and exploring the blogs of various wine experts, we came to certain conclusions.
Natural wines are made from organically or biodynamically grown grapes. Many processes are done manually, with the most careful attitude to the vine and the end product. Ideally, no additional chemicals other than SO2 should be added before bottling. Some manufacturers are fine even without it. In other words, natural wine is grape juice, which becomes wine in the process of fermentation.
The cellar and the winery are the place where, in fact, this process takes place. And absolutely no labs are required with all these flasks, sacks full of sugar, and manipulations with various acids.
The production of natural wine can be compared to walking without insurance on a narrow rope stretched at a height of 100 meters from the ground. One wrong move – and you’ve already fallen, ridiculed by an ignorant crowd. Opponents of natural wines very often characterize them as “unviable” or as a wine with a lot of “side effects”. To tell the truth, among natural wines really very much not much successful samples with unpleasant acetone notes, aromas of a crib and attributes of still proceeding fermentation. But who is not without sin?! After all, in conventional, traditional wines, we can also meet the same mistakes! The best producers of natural wines treat the earth very carefully, observe it,learn from it, gradually accumulating invaluable experience. Stories told by “natural” winemakers can be listened to with open mouth for hours on end.
Long-term use of soil
Long-term use of soil is a very popular phrase in our time, which many people often use, and some, in a sense, “ridicule”, creating various marketing slogans that attract the attention of the press and potential customers. Natural wines can be produced only from absolutely healthy, strong grapes, which can grow on an ideally healthy, life-filled soil. If there is no natural balance of the various substances necessary for the successful passage of certain processes in the earth, the winemaker has nothing else to do but help the vine to achieve better results with the help of various tricks. You can try to deceive nature in one way or another by adding yeast, enzymes, nitrogen, minerals or vitamins to the grapes of not very good quality to get the same result, which usually without problems gives only a completely healthy land. After all, in nature everything is always thought through to the smallest detail, and in the soil, as a rule, everything necessary for the successful development and prosperity of the vine. And no artificial irrigation, tractors, pesticides and herbicides are needed.
Natural and organic wines are not the same thing
Organic wines are made from organic grapes, but this does not mean that the winemaker can not add anything to the juice or wine. Official legislation has not yet developed clear rules for the use of this definition. Winemakers can harvest with tractors, add yeast and even wood shavings. The law determines only the minimum allowable amount of SO2, and what happens at the winery itself is already, as they say, on the conscience of the winemaker. Undoubtedly, organic winemaking is a huge step forward, but the control over all the processes of vinification from the relevant authorities should become more stringent.
The quality of natural wine depends directly on the vineyard, on how strong and healthy berries the vine gives. Since only in this case it is possible to hope for an excellent final result. Chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, as well as various heavy metals heavily pollute the earth. With the passage of time, the flow of all processes in such soil is greatly hampered. Because of contamination, earthworms that ventilate the earth leave or die, the life of soil bacteria involved in the processing of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen, which the vine can not receive in its pure form, is disrupted. In such an environment, microscopic yeast cells located on the skin of berries also do not survive. Therefore, winemakers have to complicate their lives and add artificial yeast. You can ruin the earth very quickly,
To ensure that all processes in the vineyard proceed in accordance with biological laws, it is necessary to use an organic or biodynamic model of farming. What is their difference?
We want to think with you that all the wines we buy are natural. Unfortunately, it is not. We sell an illusion, embellished with professional marketing (beautiful labels, sun-filled pictures with vineyards, bright photos of mouth-watering dishes). And at the same time, a lot of excess is mixed at the winery or wine has lost some of its taste qualities as a result of such processes as filtration, clarification, reverse osmosis and micro-oxidation. Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are used in vineyards. As we see, modern wine has already gone very far from the concept of “fermented grape juice.” Why? Probably because we lowered the bar a bit.
There is such an expression: “There is more life in the land of the Sahara than in the land in the vineyards of Bordeaux . “
The natural wine is as close as possible to the definition of fermented grape juice.
Wine in our time is the agrochemical food industry. According to the rules of the European Union, about 50 different components can be added to the wine, some of them can be in organic wines.
Yeast is a very important part of winemaking. They turn sugar into alcohol, extracting aromas during this process and forming various taste nuances. Therefore, the aroma and taste of the wine will depend very much on the type of yeast used. Ideally, the winemaker can use natural (wild) yeast. They are on the skin of the grapes themselves, as well as in the cellar, where they get together with the grapes. They are almost everywhere where there are grapes! But usually in modern winemaking are used artificially deduced in the laboratory yeast, which allow you to hide or fix various kinds of errors and give the wine the so-called global taste and aroma. Strong spraying with fungicides, pesticides and herbicides greatly damages the formation of natural yeast cultures. They are weakening, and the fermentation process does not begin. In this case, the winemaker has nothing to do but add artificial yeast. They are convenient and predictable. But if the wild yeast is a part of the vineyard and all that forms the concept of terroir, then artificial yeast is, by and large, simply the result of laboratory experiments.
But on the sulfites (SO2 / E220) need to talk a little more. SO2 is a relatively natural component of the fermentation process and is added in very small quantities. Sulphite is an antiseptic, an antioxidant and a stabilizer that exists both in natural and synthetic form.
Traditionally SO2 is added at the time of harvesting, as well as before bottling ready wine by bottles. Some winemakers add it very little, and some – very much. The inscription on the label “Contains sulphites” means that the amount of sulfites exceeds 10 g per liter. This is required by law. But the law does not prescribe the exact amount of sulfites, so we will never know how many are contained in each particular bottle. It can be as 20 mg / l, and 350 mg / l – the exact amount can not be known. The EU law prescribes the amount of sulphites for red wines – 160 mg / l, 210 mg / l – for white wines and 400 mg / l for dessert wines. Producers of the same natural wines add SO2 every five times less.
Natural wines are characterized by a rich, but not very intense taste. They are elegant, reserved, but not watery. They are atypical, unusual. Tannins in them are non-aggressive and perfectly balanced with a fresh fruit note. Such wines are ideally combined with many dishes. And they are also great for our Latvian cuisine.
Natural wines should be simply enjoyed and do not think about how many items they were assigned.