If you have your ear to the ground in the wine world, you’ve probably heard of something called ‘natural wines.’ But wait, aren’t all wines natural? Or do they mean naturally occurring wines, like grapes that crush themselves, ferment, and then miraculously flow together into the perfect blend? While that would be cool, unfortunately there are no documented cases of a smooth red blend occurring in nature. So what are natural wines?
Natural Wines: A Brief Explanation
The emergence of natural wine happened in the 1960s, when some winemakers decided to dial back on some of the modern complexities of the craft and get back down to basics. The result is natural wine, created without any of the additives or processing that modern wine uses to refine the look and flavor of their products. As a result of using traditional wine making techniques, the natural stuff is a lot more variable in quality than regular wines- which can be a good thing or a bad thing!
What Do They Look Like?
The first big difference you’ll notice is their cloudiness. The wines we know and love today are clear because of the purification and filtration processes that we use, but natural wines forgo these extra steps, leaving a lot of sediment behind to give the wine new and interesting flavors and textures.
What Do They Taste Like?
If you’ve had a wild ale or a ‘sour’ style beer, you might have an idea as to the unique flavor profiles of natural wine. The extra ‘funk’ that the natural wine might develop might not be for everyone, but it certainly adds a new dimension to wine tasting. And while there’s no science right now to back this up, some people report that they don’t feel hungover after a night drinking natural wine. It could be nature’s loophole!