Learning about wine for me, is an ongoing thing. Because I will never know it all when it comes to wine, probably ever, as there is so much to discover behind every winery, vine, winemaker, vineyard and grape.
So a few months ago I hopped on an Amtrak train early in the morning for the 4-hour trip from Vancouver south to Seattle, in order to attend the “Slow Wine 2017 Tasting” put on by the Slow Food Guide who also has a Slow Wine Guide (an important marketing organization celebrating sustainability, minimal intervention, cellar practices, environmental impact and respect of employees and the market). I expected a room full of unique and different natural wines and a great way to talk with the winemakers, learn and taste what their wines were all about. And… it was a fantastic afternoon of tasting everything from crazy rustic farmer wine to finessed and elegant wine that you would never realize was natural.
So, do you know what natural wines are? Here’s the easiest way I can explain it… think back to hundreds of years ago when wine was made in the 19th century. They didn’t have the enhanced knowledge that we do today or the demand, therefore they used the simplest techniques to produce wine. Simple farming, no chemicals, no sugar (for the dry wines), no addition of wood chips, no filtering and no fining agents (however between the 1800’s and 1900’s as winemakers became more knowledgeable, they began using animal proteins, egg whites, bentonite clay, gelatine and even charcoal to fine their wine). Wine was just wine back then, naturally fermented with wild yeast, bottled and enjoyed. So think of natural wine in this way, it’s a simple and old-school practice but with the creative skill of todays winemakers.
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