Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Natural Wine

An often used cliché is that to become a great abstract artist you have to first learn to be a great figurative one. To mix clichés we are very much learning to walk before we can run both in the vineyard and the winery. Making wine from scratch is such a long process that you often rethink and change tack as you learn what you land is like, how the vines settle in and the effects of various winemaking techniques. The orthodox view is that you need to have massive control  over every step of  the process and that any deviation will cause disaster.An alternative  is a growing movement that is making minimal intervention wines. In the 1970's and 80's you would probably have a hit rate of 30-40% faulty wines and many of these new wines remind me of those days. I think that most of us just want to have something that we know is going to be tasty.

After harvest this year the sun continued to shine for a couple of weeks and some of the grapes that were too unripe at harvest matured and we decided to make some wine with no interference. No added yeast, no sulphur, no temperature control, fining nothing just crushed grapes in a demijohn. On Sunday we tried the Chardonnay. I was sort of expecting something not 100% clean and fresh, maybe a bit funky and smelly but hopefully interesting. The true taste of the Terroir.
Natural Chardonnay.
Well, it was completely clear, clean  fresh and pure with zinging acidity. Young but really good. Is this really the pure expression of our land? Later this week we will be getting samples from the winery of the controlled proper version and it will be interesting to compare them. Maybe we are all a bit too anal about winemaking and just letting it happen naturally might be an option. On the other hand, are the flavours different enough to justify the risks? This question is one that will run and run for us, probably for the rest of our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear the answer to this question -- at least the first pass at it!
    P.S. Can you and Laura come to the Famine Lunch at the Village Hall on 10 March. No wine but a selection of tasty soups on offer...

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