There is quite a buzz going around the wine world, with a decided trend of winemakers returning to more simple ways of making wine. Is everybody making the switch? No. Have winemakers been doing this all along? Yes. But it's somewhat new to me.
I did some research and found that, for the most part, the Association des Vins Naturels is considered the world leader in the movement, at least in terms of organization.
This association is made up of people who believe in making wines according to strict principles in organic or biodynamic farming, with a non-interventionist philosophy in winemaking practices. The group is inspired by the work of Jules Chauvet.
The group goes beyond other organic farming groups in that it “follow(s) and validate(s) everything a winemaker does in the vines, cellar, and in management of waste and energy.” There is no strict rule for what constitutes a natural wine, whether a winemaker uses sulfur or not, and each person has the freedom to use different ways to make natural wines.
I’m not sure where I stand on natural wines, as I don’t think I’ve tasted any, but I definitely agree with the notion that we need less chemicals, both in the ground and in the bottle. I also like the idea of non-interventionist winemaking, as it’s more apt to produce a more unique product.
Ever tried natural wines? Recommendations?