I am, by definition, against any trend, especially when it is about wine, I do believe that a great wine is a great wine, independently on how it is made and all great producers are responsible grape growers, so whether the grapes are certified organic or not, they follow a biodynamic or natural approach, it does not really matter, their main purpose is to make the best wine they can.
Natural wines have always been around, we always had producers producing natural wines, but until the trend started, were few and they knew how to make natural wines. Natural wines not only require perfectly healthy grapes but a lot of care in the winery, natural wines are very delicate and can very easily go off and because of all the work they require, they cost more than your everyday wine but the fact that they are natural, unfortunately, it does not guarantee that they will be good.
Natural wines were the wines made long time ago, when we did not know all we now know about wine and wine making process and today technology wasn’t available, wineries were still pretty much building with barrels and everything was done manually, from pressing the grapes to bottling. I started my wine journey drinking natural wines, wine made by my grandparents. There are plenty of natural wines still being made that are not sold in any shop but only drunk in the houses of the winemakers, made in large quantity all over Italy or France or Spain, from very small wine makers, great wines if drunk in the first few weeks, undrinkable if drunk a few months later, a short life is often a characteristic of all natural wines, these wines are not made for being kept in the cellar.
Recently though, like all wineries have started making sparkling wines despite having no expertise and experience just to jump on the Prosecco wagon, in the same way plenty of producers with no experience and expertise are jumping on the natural wine wagon. But whilst making a sparkling wine is possible and accessible to everyone, the technology and expertise can be “leased”, making natural wines require a lot more attention and expertise, it requires new rules for the whole winery, a completely new approach, an approach that almost make impossible to make any other wine, and plenty of experimenting costing money and entire vintages that not every winery can afford and justify.
I have tasted plenty of poorly made natural wines, way more than great natural wines, costing crazy prices only because made with people pressing the grapes with their naked feet, like in an old Italian black and white movie, with the whole family feasting and jumping on the grapes, but if that makes us smiling and bring back nice memories, this is not the way a proper, drinkable, natural wine is made, a natural wine is not about the way the grapes are pressed. Pressing the grape is only the first step.
Are natural wines better than the other categories? No, like always, there are good and bad wines, so my recommendation is, as usual, never buy a wine for what it says on the label, always buy your wines from your favourite and knowledgeable wine merchant or check our range of Italian natural wines